So you understand that social media marketing is about building human relationships and you've begun to implement a consistent strategy that includes regular online conversations; sharing useful information and promoting others. You've identified the places where your clients are engaging and you've become a trusted member of those communities. Now what?
It's time to take a leap, my friend. You've built a valuable safety net in your online community, so the time is ripe. Here are five beneficial actions you can take to increase your community and build your brand.
1. Moderate a Twitter Chat
I've been moderating a regular chat for nearly two years and have found it to be one of the best ways to meet new people and gain new followers.You can be a guest moderator for a regular chat such as the weekly #eventprofs or #eventtable chats or you can choose to start your own Twitter chat. A chat can also give you great content to share through summaries. I regularly use Storify to assemble chat summaries that drive traffic to my website. Remember, to get good participation in your Twitter chats, promote them well within your online community.
2. Start a Group on Facebook
A Facebook group allows users to socialize around any topic or community. For Twitter users, it's like a community organized around a hashtag. You can create a group and then invite members to it. Make sure to ask interesting questions to get discussions going. And respond when people make comments. You also might consider holding a real-time chat on a particular topic.
3. Ask or Answer a Question on LinkedIn
I admit, this is an area where I need to take more leaps, but I'm not worried. In fact, I know I will learn something as well as become more connected in the online communities I want to reach. LinkedIn Answers also allow you to provide useful advice, building your rep as a thought leader; see rankings of answers, thereby cutting the time it takes to sift through to find the best answers; and crowd source answers from all over the world.
4. Moderate a Discussion Group on LinkedIn
Is there a group on LinkedIn where your desired audience is very active? Volunteering to be a group moderator will put you in regular contact with them. Moderators help keep the group free of spam and guide members to get the most out of their interaction within the group. The time it takes to moderate a LinkedIn group usually amounts to just a few minutes a day.
5. Guest Blog
A great way to get more exposure within the communities to which you are trying to appeal, is to guest blog for a member of one of those communities. Seek out your favorite bloggers and ask if they might be interested in a guest blog from you. For best results, suggest a few topics for them to choose from. Make sure to include a link to your own blog.
6. Start Your Own Blog
For many (including me) starting your own blog is the ultimate online leap. But believe me, it is the one most worth taking. A consistently updated blog will help your website rank higher in online searches; help build your reputation as a thought leader; help you rank higher in key word searches; provide a regular place for you to interact with your community; provide a place for you to answer questions of potential clients and much more.
However, care should certainly be taken in making the decision to start a blog because once you start it, you'll want to post articles on a regular basis - at least once a week. If you already have a website, make sure that your blog is part of it to ensure it helps your search engine ranking.
And now the time has come, little birdie, for you to leave the nest. You know that pushing yourself beyond your comfort zone is the only way you will grow. So take an online leap and fly!
For more ideas, download the Cvent eBook on Social Media for Event Marketing.
(Photo by bex.walton)