My 4 step (ok, 16 step) social media strategy

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How to use Web 2.0 in the Enterprise

There are so many social media sites and tools out there, that it’s hard to know which to pay attention to, and which to ignore. Also, how do we use them effectively and still retain time to get some real work done?

A recent discussion took place on the CIWI (Connecting Independent Writers in Israel) mailing list about how to start a blog, and whether one should start one at all. One writer was of the opinion that blogs are passe, and that users should concentrate on microblogging mediums, like Tumblr and Twitter.

In my opinion, the microblogging tools are a nice addition to an overall social media strategy, but are weak on their own. Many of the most popular people on Twitter, for example, are those who have built up a following for themselves via their blogs. They use Twitter to drive people to new posts on their blogs, and to create a supplementary stream of information. Much of the information on Twitter is backed up by longer posts or articles on other sites.

Blog, Twitter, both, none? 

So what is the best way to create an effective web presence? Do we blog, do we tweet, or do we do both?

Adopting a social media strategy can be a daunting task, particularly due to the wide range of tools and services available. Users need a strategy that is effective, yet also gives them time to have a life outside of the web.

Here’s how I have structured my social media activity. This is not necessarily the only or right way to go, but it can give you an idea as to how to get started:

  1. Blogs: I use this blog to write about different issues related to marketing and business. In order to keep up with the world of WordPress, which is the platform we use to build all our sites and blogs, I also write a blog called WordPressGarage, which we use as a kind of online manual for knowledge management. WordPress’ categorization features such as categories, tags and search, are excellent for managing information. WordPressGarage has become more than just a blog: I use WordPress’ Blogroll to keep track of my links on the Links We Love page, and I’ve set up a microblogging section in the sidebar called Shorties, which is where I post really short bits of info that don’t justify a real blog post. I could have accomplished this with del.icio.us and Tumblr, but I really prefer to keep everything in one place if I can.
  2. Twitter: I don’t really like Twitter, but I use it because I know it is effective. It also helps me keep up with the social media arena, and I have to admit I’ve found some pretty interesting content thanks to the twitterers that I follow. I post here short things that aren’t appropriate for my blogs, or I post links to new posts on my blogs. (You can find me here on Twitter: http://twitter.com/miriamschwab.)
  3. LinkedIn: LinkedIn was really boring for a while, but it seems to be picking up, although it’s still not the type of site I’d visit on a regular basis (unlike the site mentioned in step 4). The advantage of LinkedIn is that it gives me a place to create a professional profile that people can easily find on the web. Other than that, not much happens there (unless I’m missing something). It’s like a really boring party where we all shake hands, and then sit around looking at each other. And here I am on LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/miriamschwab
  4. Facebook: facebook acts as a kind of aggregator for all the content that I publish all over the web. I mashed together my blog RSS feeds into one feed, and that feed is pulled into my facebook profile’s notes section. My twitters (tweets) appear in my facebook status. Any extra stuff that I want to publish or share that aren’t directly connected to marketing or WordPress are published there too, like videos, links and events.

Here are the social media sites that I would like to be more active in should the days suddenly become 40 hours long: flickr, YouTube, de.licio.us, digg, and StumbleUpon.

The above still uses up a lot of my time, but it ensures that my “online presence” stays fresh and current, and my offline presence retains some semblance of a life.

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