Three years ago, I had never heard of social media. I was focused on finishing my MBA at the University of St. Thomas and not flunking my final course in strategic management. That my final project was on Google was only one of many happinesses.
Fast forward five months and the Recession-Depression hit. Suddenly I was part of the 25% of my online retail company that was laid off. I had a lot of time on my hands to answer the burning question: what the heck is this social media stuff?
Within 48 hours of being laid-off, not one, not two, but three people told me that my 12 connections and no recommendations on LinkedIn was a suitable beginning that needed to amp up quickly. I told that advice to heart; today I have some 600 connections and 17 recommendations on LinkedIn. LinkedIn groups have been one of the strongest sources for traffic to my blog.
Once I began building my LinkedIn presence, I turned to a new thing called Twitter. At first, as for most folks, I spent a lot of time staring at the screen wondering where the fun kids were hanging out. By following tips offered in the media, uncapping the magic of hashtags and following smart people, I began to enjoy and rave about twitter. Meeting people on twitter was actually easier than in person or via LinkedIn. After making the Twitter connection, the next steps were often meeting in person (IRL, in real life) and then connecting on LinkedIn.
In retrospect, I had accidentally stumbled on a strategic order of social media growth: first LinkedIn, then Twitter. This led me to my blog Shareology. The super good news was that my LinkedIn and Twitter connections were a strong potential audience for my blog.
For someone who is extremely right-brained, I actually used a left-brained approach to strategy for the blog. What was I interested in? Networking, retail, marketing and social media. Would an audience read something with so many interests? Turns out the answer was Yes! Once I had thought out in my own mind how interconnected the four were, it became obvious how they became the four legs of my Shareology table.
It turns out that by using WordPress and Twitter, I raised my Google profile. (Something about magical algorithms……) So someone with very little SEO experience was able to be #1 in Google searches. Try searching Kay Roseland or Shareology on Goggle: it all works together. 1 + 1 +1 does not equal 3; it equals about 10!!
Social Media Learning
So what did I learn? Two points seem key:
- Don’t try to learn everything about social media at the same time; you will drive yourself crazy. Break it down into manageable chunks and hit it a bit at a time. (I will spend 15 minutes setting up my twitter profile this morning.)
- As new as social media is, it is easy to forget that the first step is sound strategy for you or your organization. Who are you? Who are your customers? Out of this comes marketing tactics, some of which will be in the social media arena.
Most importantly, you’ve just been given a new set of tools to reach out with: above all, have fun!!
Kay Roseland @KayLoire