Believe it or not, social media extends beyond Facebook and Twitter. It’s any website where people can discuss content. YouTube is social media. Your blog is social media. Pinterest is social media. And yes, Facebook and Twitter are too. So if you want to leverage social media in a big way in 2013, consider these strategies:
1. Talk less about you and more about others. Share more about others, and you become a curator. You become a source of the best from everyone else, and a person who attracts attention.
2. Create roundup content. Instead of doing your own blog posts only, create posts that are an accumulation of ideas and thoughts from many experts in your industry.
3. More than mobile devices. Lots of us live on our smartphones, but make sure your content is also ready for laptops, notebooks, tablets, desktops and game systems.
4. Be real, be you. You’d think this would go without saying. When you’re being you, you’re the most comfortable, right? Yet we all still reach for a mask when we’re around others. That’s fake and inauthentic, as well as being a real energy suck. The only people you’re making happy are the people who aren’t interested in the real you. What fun is that? Being anything but yourself is a losing proposition.
5. Pictures! Pictures! Pictures! Not only is a picture worth a 1,000 words, it draws at least 1,000 eyeballs, wait—2,000 eyeballs. Photographs constantly outperform text, cartoons, links and videos. Images rule. Use more of them.
6. Customer services monitoring. Set up your social media to watch for your name. If people are talking about you, you need to be ready to respond.
7. Dump surveys monitor media. Asking people what they think is WAY different from listening to people talk openly about you. Surveys are notorious for giving false positive feedback. Instead monitor social media to see how people are talking about you. You can collect some insightfully critical feedback. And you should be monitoring social media anyway, so you can give immediate, timely customer support.
8. Pinpoint locations. When problems (or opportunities) arise, you can use social media tools to pinpoint where the discussions are coming from. Maybe that ad you ran that was so well received well by people in the western U.S. is offensive to people in the eastern U.S. (because it bastardized their state motto or made fun of them somehow). Once you know the location of the problem, you can fix it fast.
9. Retweet. Get in the practice of retweeting your followers’ content, quotes and comments. It lets them know you’re actually reading, promoting and supporting those who support you.
10. Inspire. There are only about, oh a million websites that curate or collect really quotable quotes. Find those sites and share the quotes you find inspiring, insightful or moving. Don’t be afraid to link to a site with a video that has nothing to do with business, but everything to do with what moves people to do great things.
11. Solve problems. You don’t have to be Mother Teresa, but jump in and answer questions, solve problems and provide links, information or other resources to questions people pose. You may not answer all of them, but answer as many as you can. Be known as someone who is willing and able to help others. You don’t have to give yourself away, but you should be giving back.
12. Engage. It’s not enough to sit back and watch. Get off the bench. Engage with your followers, your fans and your critics. Answer questions, make comments, have conversations. Show people you’re a real person and not just sitting back somewhere counting your money while the social media show rolls on. It doesn’t have to be rock star content every time, but it does have to be real, be positive and be relevant.
The power of social media is in its ability to influence others. You can’t influence people if they don’t know you and you don’t know them. Think about ways you make an impact on people that lasts. When it comes to making an impact on social media, the rules are pretty much the same—listen, be humble, be real, be honest, be helpful, be there. Now go. Make an impact!
Mike Michalowicz is the co-founder of Provendus Group, a business growth consulting group that helps companies whose growth has plateaued to grow again (and fast). Michalowicz is the author of The Pumpkin Plan and the business cult classic, The Toilet Paper Entrepreneur.