Back in mid 2007 I was an absolute novice to Social Media & broke out in a cold sweat at the mere thought of publicly posting my opinion in an online forum. Then I dove head first and moderated an on-line Dream Coaching® community on Xing. 1,196 posts later & followed by over 7.000 members within my first year, we were regularly ranked amongst the top 3 active premium groups on the entire platform. Lesson #1; pick a topic your passionate about & have knowledge in!
That was dipping-my-toe-in-the-water.. baptism-by-fire style! Since then I’ve taking bolder steps such as setting up my own blog. During this process I struggled to find my own unique brand, eventually identifying it as “The Strategy Guy“. After all, that’s why people hire or follow me! Whether they need to get something done, fix a problem, figure themselves or their business issues out. They call on me to help them identify challenges, create a strategy to overcome them & successfully execute. Lesson #2; you’ve got to have “a calling card”.
Now armed with The Strategy Guy brand I decided to take my own social media strategy to the next level! I wanted to increase my output, recognition & professionalize my branding so… Lesson #3; you’ve gotta have a desired outcome & a sound strategy to succeed!
I migrated from my free WordPress Blog platform which I started in June of 2009 to this self-hosted solution you’re viewing now, allowing me to cope with the added traffic & increased features that I wanted to offer after a steady climb of monthly page views
- Along the way I monitored the most viewed posts/articles to understand my followers preferred material, increasing the quantity and regularity of my posts as I started to determine my audiences habits
- I included polls to better understand the value that my readers where getting from my posts & identify gaps in my content
- I increased my active links to relevant articles like HBR or TED and started to include visual media such as YouTube clips, graphs & pictures in order to enrich my content
- I reduced the size of my posts from 1,000 words to 400-600
- I made it easy for my followers to engage with me through widgets / links to other platforms & used a mailing list
- More recently I enrolled a friend of mine to give some much needed SEO (Search Engine Optimization) work to my blog, thus making it easier to find by climbing the Google rankings
Next I created my own LinkedIn Group (The Strategic Rethink) followed by joining several other relevant groups where I regularly contribute to existing discussions as well as initiate my own, drawing the attention of like-minded executives whom I look to learn, develop & grow from as well as connect to
- It is fundamental to be a “giver” vs. a “taker” in social media related success
- It is also key to NOT advertise-to.. but engage-in conversation with your audience.
- For example, without blatantly advertising my blog, but subtly referring to articles from it as part of the discussion, I could track the increased traffic
- This process has also allowed me to extend my professional network by connecting with like-minded individuals who are more receptive to accept an invitation from someone they dialog with vs. a completely stranger presenting a CV
In parallel I created Facebook (FB) Fan Page in order to extend my professional brand reach into other social networks
- This has also provided me a good landing page to send people who want to connect with my personal page on Facebook, which I reserve for close friends or acquaintances
I already had my Twitter account, but I became much more strategic about who I followed and as well what content I posted
- Only 1 in every 6 Twitter posts is of a personal nature
I expanded to other relevant media channels such as creating my own YouTube Channel, used an RSS feed to follow bloggers & other content that will increase my own awareness of what is relevant in the marketplace
- This practice increases your own visibility through trackbacks as well as likelihood of requests for connection, or exchange of information/ideas with noted authors & thought leadership
These are just a few of the steps I took and it’s given me immediate results! Just within the last 10 days since increasing the scope of platforms that I’m on I’ve more than
- Doubled my following
- Tripled my blog page views
- Quadrupled my connections to relevant people
But most importantly I’ve significantly increased the quality of my content, as well as my own personal & professional development through the added “focused” content I’ve had access to. And that’s brought me pro-active connection requests & job offers / work opportunities!
Lesson #4; It takes a lot of self restraint & discipline to not get carried away & spend the entire day on a blog, YouTube or other social media sites so I actually block out 1h chunks of time for relevant activities over the course of a week so that I can get other work done.
Lesson #5; The internet & social media can at first be daunting and unrewarding when you first start out as it takes time to muster up a following until you find your rhythm, audience & their preferred pace. It’s important to set-up some quick wins for yourself like monitoring statistics to see a steady rise in page views & unique visitors. The internet sometimes feels like silence in the night, especially until you have a loyal following and in order to overcome the challenges of “talking/typing to yourself” you just have to have a lot of patience & persistence. Attention can be sporadic but if you stick to it, you’ll start to see an upward trend that will encourage you to continue to contribute, and in the process you will successfully have increased your brand awareness.
Lesson #6; make it easy for your audience to follow your activity! Click on my social media links on the upper right hand corner of this blog & see how I’ve integrated it all.