by helen on March 15, 2011

Continuing my countdown of the top 10 questions about social media… Here are the first two, in case you missed them – and apologies to anyone who couldn’t find them yesterday but I think I found a glitch in the matrix. ;(

How do I best manage my time with social media?

Carefully! If you have an alarm on your computer or phone, set it. Allocate chunks of time to specific tasks and stick to them. Consider not setting up email alerts from your profiles – this can be incredibly distracting. Instead, find a regular time slot to check Twitter, Linkedin, Facebook etc and then you can deal with matters straight away. It’s a bit like managing the post/emails in the morning, afternoon. Every week, set yourself some time to write blog posts, build your community, source industry news, answer questions/start discussions/comment on blogs etc. Be disciplined. Stick to the plan.

How do I reach my target markets with social media?

If you have clearly defined customer profiles, you should be able to easily identify where they are in terms of the social media platforms. For example, if you are selling IT services to businesses, you will probably be better off spending your time networking via Twitter and Linkedin. The people that matter to your company will be easily found, and more open to engaging with you here. That’s not to say that once you have engaged them, you couldn’t persuade them to join you on Facebook (if you have something they are interested in they will go where you go).

On the other hand, if your business is a fashion boutique or a nightclub you are likely to build an online community much quicker via Twitter, YouTube and Facebook. Although your suppliers may prefer to link with you via Linkedin.

Once you have established which platforms are right for your customers, you need to find them, listen to what they are talking about, and work out how you can join the conversation without turning them off.

Finding them is the easy part, reaching them and turning them into an engaged community takes a bit more creative thinking. But if you listen to the conversations, and think about how you would introduce yourself in a face-to-face situation, you will soon start coming up with ways of “chatting them up”.

Think long term relationship rather than one night stand though.

Just found this guide to the social media landscape which aims to help you work out which platforms are best for activities like customer communication, brand awareness, driving traffic etc. I think it’s a great overview for anyone new to the scene (although some of it’s a bit teccy). What do you think?

See you tomorrow for more!

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