This post is part of a series answering the Top Social Media Marketing Questions for 2011.
Social Media Examiner’s 2011 Social Media Marketing Report states that one of the top questions marketers have for social media in 2011 is “How do I master the use of specific social media platforms?”
The main advice I can give for mastering a platform is to live on it. For most companies, this means picking and choosing which platforms to master, and leaving the others alone. If you don’t have the time-resources to closely manage Facebook, Twitter, a blog, a LinkedIn page and a YouTube account, then don’t try to do all of them. Pick one that you can be great at, rather than being so-so at all of them. Or worse, ending up neglecting them.
Of course, there are other rules of thumb for using social media platforms effectively for business.
Always ask questions. You don’t have to have an expert to ask – you can just ask your audience. Your audience on social media doesn’t care how knowledgeable you are about social media; they care about how knowledgeable you are about the service or product you provide, and how much you care about your customers and their feedback. So if you are wondering what they want to hear about or what time of day is best to post or what Twitter client they think is best for managing the account, just ask.
Don’t be a perfectionist about social media. If you’re waiting to master social media before you begin posting, then you’ll be waiting forever. We’re all learning every day because the environment is changing so quickly. There are new tools, new capabilities, new regulations, etc. every day, which means that no one is truly and expert. The closest thing to an expert is just someone who makes it his or her job to “live” on these platforms, study the results and keep up with the trends.
Worry less about how to use the tools and more about what is interesting and useful to your customers. If one of them was standing in front of you, what would you say?
Be mindful of the differences between personal pages and business pages. Facebook and LinkedIn both have distinct accounts available for businesses, unlike Twitter and YouTube, which businesses use in the same way that individuals do.
There are also some great resources that you can turn to for more information and great advice on mastering various sites. Some of them include:
- Facebook Blog
- LinkedIn Blog
- Social Media Today
- Social Media Examiner
For the specific purpose of mastering social media, I do tend to recommend online resources like blogs rather than books, because blogs are easily updated when new trends arise, whereas books on this topic can become obsolete much more quickly.
I know this was very general information. Any specific questions about specific platforms? Any other advice that readers want to put out there for people with this question?
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