One of the questions I ask people every time I begin a conversation with them about social media is Why did you sign up for these networks? 9 out of 10 times the response I receive is: To make money of course! But, unfortunately with the ever changing amount of networks and new networks being birthed almost weekly it seems, many become overwhelmed almost instantly. Then comes along the friend requests from your fellow colleagues who asked you to join and you find your resting place.
Once this happens, many begin to lose their focus and reason that they originally joined this network in the beginning and it turns into a cocktail party and fun for you. Now that you have found that comfortable place, you begin socializing with your friends & associates and completely lose focus of the original reason you joined.
If your remember, I wrote two weeks ago about The Importance of Listening with Purpose To Your Consumers and how listening to what consumers are saying on social networks like Twitter and Facebook can lead to increases in business. I mentioned how each network has certain applications available to assist you in tracking what consumers are saying about their needs of your services or goods. The two that I talked about in that post were TweetGrid and Facebook Search.
I decided that today I would share a few other must have tools that I have found to be beneficial in Cashing In On Your Social Media Investment. Of course, a solid blog is before any of these items, as that is your foundation to any social media marketing strategy.
1. Google Alerts– I have Google alerts at the top of my list for a reason. In case you aren’t familiar with what it is, let me first explain. Google alerts is a notifying program produced by Google. You can set up an alert to be notified of any keyword/search term you wish. For me, one of the terms I use is my name. Why? I want to know every time Google is picking up my name. It first lets me know if someone has either re-blogged a post of mine, mentioned something good or bad about me, and allows me to know what is being said about me. I have this alert set to notify me immediately. The other day when Jason Crouch wrote about our first webinar, How to Chug Google Juice & Get 15 Years of Fame, I received an alert in less than 8 minutes. In fact, it came so quick, that I received that before Jason’s email stating that he had included my name in the post!
Some other ways you could use this is to set up some alerts for the keywords you are trying to dominate in the search engines. That way, you will know when your posts are being indexed for those keywords, and also know what your competition is saying on the same type of terms. Google Alerts are a must have for any business you do.
2. A Solid Twitter Application There are plenty of different platforms available here. I am not going to say one is better than another, but I will say that you need to be running some sort of program other than just the web version. The reason for this, is that applications like Tweetdeck, Seesmic, & Hootsuite are some of the most popular ones and they allow you to filter your lists into different categories. For example, I have an entire column just for closest friends, another for local people, and several others. With these, you can set up different columns for your target audiences and for those who can supply you with great valuable content to enhancing your business or with content to relay onto your clients.
3. A Mobile Photo Blog Normally when I start talking about this one, I begin to lose people. I actually have two mobile photo blogs. Both bring me a ton of traffic as well as some really great connections & Google juice. One photoblog, currently has 490 email subscribers to it. My other photo blog which is hosted on posterous, is currently averaging around 800-1000 views per photo. This is HUGE! One of the beautiful parts of a photo blog like this is that it takes virtually zero effort to post to. Once you have things set up properly, you simply shoot the picture with your mobile phone and email it to a specific email address with the subject line being your photo title. The rest is automatically handled as your photos will automatically be re-sized & formatted to fit well on your post.
Speaking of mobile phones, that leads me to my next point.
4. A Powerhouse Mobile Phone If you are seriously considering taking your social media strategy to the next level, a good smart-phone is essential. I am not going to get into what is the best to use, in the past I have used an Android platform phone, an iPhone, and several Blackberries. Currently, I am back on a Blackberry. All of them though are going to be more than sufficient and offer the same basic features, phone, camera, web, email, and the main social networks applications. The key is to pick what you like. For me, touch screens are hard to use, especially while trying to concentrate on other things. I am a button type of guy, so I like the blackberry more for that simple reason.
Once you have a good phone, it will allow you to begin to participate on the social networks when you have the time waiting at a vacant home for a client, or when standing in line at the Walmart to check out. Also, the ability to connect with consumers quickly & efficiently is priceless. I had someone once tell me that most consumers want to be responded to in less than 2 hours or they will move on to someone else. Having that ability to respond quickly and painlessly, even if it is just a response of: “I am out with clients, let me call you later this afternoon” can do wonders for your business.
5. A Video Camera While this does not seem like a big deal, this one can be so crucial to a social media strategy. Did you know that YouTube is the second most searched site in the world? One of my favorite choices is a simple handy Flipcam. It doesn’t have to be a hi-tech machine or anything. These are fairly affordable at under $200.00 and by far are the easiest video cameras to use. Simply shoot the video, flip out the build in USB and connect to your computer. To give you an idea of how popular video is, I have 25 videos uploaded to YouTube that have received a combined 71,000 views!
These are just 5 of the tools I use on a regular basis to cash in on my social media investment. Implementing these tools into your social media plan will definitely help you to achieve your ultimate goal and turn these networks into income producers for your business. If you want to learn more about how to use these tools & many others, feel free to register for our next webinar which will be on Monday February 15 at 1PM Eastern 10 AM Pacific time. To register, click here.