Cutting through the hype to accelerate your social media

social media word cloudSocial media, do you ever get the feeling it’s everywhere?  If it’s not in front of you, (your screen); it’s around you, (your next meeting or event will probably be organised with the support of social media activity, or perhaps someone’s encouraging you to “engage” on-line too.)

As if it wasn’t busy enough in our off-line world; now, it seems, we ‘have’ to be on-line too? Well, if we really have to, every one of us will at least have wondered what the heck is going on during the first few occasions of logging in – almost like walking into crowded and noisy room of strangers and acquaintances trying take stock of what’s being said and being a part of the conversation. Perhaps you’re one of those who feel that after trying social media a few times, you’re still wondering what’s going on!  If so, I really don’t blame you. It can be a noisy and confusing place. However, it doesn’t have to be. 

Go on Twitter and, depending how many people you may be following, where do you start? It certainly can be a noisy place, however so can the off-line world. Traffic, parking or cutting through the crowds on public transport to get to your destination – and what about using your laptop, smartphone or tablet en route? Pretty incessant, isn’t it?

Whether they are social networks or in-house systems your business uses, I’ve come to the realisation that, with all the noise around us in the 21st century, it’s no longer good enough just knowing the functionality of everyday tools.

For example, knowing which buttons to press in your car is not good enough. Sure, most of us think we’re good drivers, although that doesn’t mean we always embark on the right journey.  Taking the main route from A to B may not be the best. What about those slip roads you see when you’re stuck in traffic? You know, that feeling of “Hmm, if I took that route, would I be able to cut through the queue of cars ahead of me?”  For a journey that’s new to you, do you ever plan a secondary route in case the first one didn’t turn out to be any good? (Assuming you did do any planning at all.)

What about the hype? Noise is one thing, but the hype can sometimes be a little overwhelming: From claims by some who promise you thousands of new followers in days, (or even hours!), to ‘sacking your boss’ by buying into a business opportunity that will bring you riches! I’m sure you’ve come across similar claims.

Of course it’s not always like that on-line. Follow and connect with those who add-value to you and you’ll be well on your way in achieving a decent return on investment (ROI) on social media. Whatever you do, don’t buy followers. Grow your networking organically and meaningfully.

What’s key is having a proven methodology that you can apply across the main social networks for business and off-line too.  Why off-line?  You see, I firmly believe that nothing beats face-to-face networking. We’re not talking internet marketing here, which is usually more applicable to commodities, such as DVDs, books, etc, as that’s more transaction-based. We’re talking social media here: Engaging with people. The key to realising decent ROI is to use social media to support off-line engagement, not the other way around.

Applying a clear and proven methodology is key. I have developed such a methodology which I use both to engage with our own network and for training / managing our clients’ social networks also. It’s known as ACCELerate. The first five letters are a mnemonic, which make up my 5 key ACCELerators.  These include tactics to realise ROI in a time efficient and tactical way. It works in parallel with that crucial face-to-face engagement too.

So with your core network, (one of my 5 key ACCELerators), one tactic is where you can research your network – which you have grown and nurtured organically – and, therefore, have more informed conversations with those whom you wish to speak with; either over the telephone, (yes, the telephone is still an immensely useful device for marketing), or in-person. It sure beats talking about trivia like the weather! How about researching your competitors too? After all, social media is incredibly transparent. It’s how you use social media that’s going to make the difference.

In my book, ACCELerate Your Social Media, I share that it’s not just the functionality that you need to be aware of when networking, you need to know how you’re going to make the smoothest and efficient journey so far.

John Coupland, author of ‘ACCELerate Your Social Media’ and is a multi-award winning e-Business & Networking Professional.