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Mar 18, 2011

7 Steps to Creating Your Personal Social Media Strategy

One of the best ways to stop the perpetuation of spaghetti throwing is to have a plan in place for using social media. Very few people actually sit down and think about how they want to communicate or better yet, how they want to be communicated with. And that’s the problem. We should THINK! Social media should not be looked at as a magic bullet that will suddenly make you rich or bring in tons of leads. Too many people in direct marketing think social media platforms are a giant sea of prospects that they can cast their nets into and get immediate rewards. If your view is similar to this then you most likely will not look at people as “people” or relationships, but more like a number or leads. In my opinion…this is a dangerous approach.

This is not to say that spaghetti chucking from time to time might bring some success, it might...but there might be other factors at work that influenced your success like timing, the type of trust you've already built up with certain friends, a strong personal brand already, your friends like the MonaVie brand, etc. The problem with this type of strategy is that the modest success from chucking spaghetti only perpetuates continuous chucking behavior. Most don't realize they're chucking spaghetti until it's too late. When spaghetti chucking is no longer working, many friends are turned off from your constant "selling" approach, and now you're left starting over and frustrated because all people know about you is that you're always trying to sell something. Is it worth chucking spaghetti to get a few people signed up while alienating or turning off 90-95% of your friends or family? I think most will agree, those who are successful in network marketing are also good about establishing relationships. No relationship is the same and no relationship is built overnight…although many of us treat our contacts on social media platforms like we don’t know them or are highly impersonal. In this post we’ll talk about steps you can take to formulate your social media strategy and subsequent blog posts will look at tactical ways to execute your social media strategy.

So the following are steps you can take to perform a personal audit of your personal social media brand so you can start formulating a social media strategy. This is about YOU…as a person…not a company or brand.

1. Purpose, Goals & Commitment. In social media there is a lot of experimenting that can be done tactically, however, having a sense of purpose, some goals and committing yourself to doing it is important if you want to get the most out of social media. One of the basic purposes I’ve found within social media is creating new relationships and enriching current relationships. My own personal views shape my purpose, but to me a big part of life is about the relationships we make. With this purpose in mind I’ve been able to look at social media as a great way to fulfill this purpose and create goals that have now become natural to me. So with that overarching goal (of creating X amount of connections) I can start looking at tactical goals that may include number of posts per day, the type of posts per day/week, wishing every friend a Happy Birthday, retweeting friends posts, 10 compliments per day using social media, reconnecting with 1 person a week, etc. Before social media came along, I was more guarded and comfortable in just having my own little clique of friends. There’s nothing wrong with that, but if you’re in network marketing that’s no way to make friends! So write your purpose down, write a your goals to get there and then commit to doing it daily, weekly, monthly, yearly and before you know it the goals come naturally.

2. Know Thyself. What do YOU want people to know about YOU? Think of the characteristics you have and the ones you want to have. Are you funny, interesting, trustworthy, knowledgeable, adventurous, genuine, etc.? Now look at the information in your profiles and see if these characteristics are coming through in what you post, in pictures and videos, etc.  Don’t look through business glasses when making your profile…look through the glasses of who you think you are, or want to become.  If there are pictures, or videos that don’t match your personal brand, you may want to remove them. Social media makes it easy to chuck spaghetti...but the positive is that  it also is easy to make a first impression, so don't think that just because you don't look at your profile, others don't--they do and will especially if they are going to invest time or get involved in a business!

3. Put Yourself In Your Profile and Posts. If you are on Facebook or Twitter, go to your profile and look at your most recent posts (20).  Not replies or comments on your friends’ posts, but your own posts or tweets. Classify the posts as funny, interesting, quotes (inspirational), business related, informative, sports, personal, or other. Now look at those posts and see which posts are getting the most reactions from your friends/followers? Look at the results. Are they positive/negative? Are they one-sided? What do they say about you? To take it a step further, have a close friend who is also on your social media platforms to give you an opinion of how you are perceived online, it could be eye-opening. BTW…explaining that you’re a MonaVie distributor within your profile is fine and is part of being authentic…but are most of your pictures of MonaVie drinks and events? Are the bulk of your posts MonaVie or business related? If so…that’s probably spaghetti chucking. Keep your results and then compare after you start your new strategy. I would also look at your friends’ posts and noticing which posts you like, which friends are engaging and why?

4. Target and know your audience. This can also summed up with one word—listening. People generally like information and content that is interesting, funny or unique to them or their situation. Look at how people post information about their businesses and themselves. We touched on this in a previous BlogMV post about the Golden Rule and you will need to decide whether the content you post is something that can apply to everyone or to only a select few. Our next blog posts will address how to target your audience, but a good idea might be to separate your friends/followers into groups or lists. Which ones are most engaging? Which do you know better? Which are most influential? Which are customers? Once you have an idea of who your friends are, you can start being more strategic with the way you reach out to them, instead of everyone. (more to come here folks!)

5. Diversify and limit yourself! No this isn’t mutual funds, but the principle still applies. Be genuine, be human, be funny (not crude), be informative, most importantly BE YOU first! After looking at the results of posts to your social media platforms, you will have an idea of what content is engaging, who is responding to YOU, and what is not working.  Take into effect how much you post and the time of day. Studies have shown over-posting turns people off. So if your sending out mass Tweets to a bunch of people at one time promoting your business, don’t be surprised to see your follower count decrease. If you're posting more than four times a day on Facebook (and if they're Farmville posts!) you might have friends hide you or de-friend you. Timing can be critical and typically more people are online in the evening, and many check their social media streams first thing in the morning. So diversify the types of posts (if necessary) and the timing.

6. Remember the 3 Bs. Be generous. Be giving. Be authentic. There’s probably a few other B’s I could write…but let’s start here. Limiting your posts, does not mean you have to limit your ability to be human. Remember, friends and followers are sharing something with you and others using social media. This is an opportunity to respond and engage with generosity, empathy, humor or whatever the occasion calls for. This is most likely, NOT a chance to hit up people for business, to offend or argue. Remember, we’re building relationships (the marathon) and when people know and trust you, introducing a business opportunity will not be a major obstacle nor as stressful had there been no relationship in place. So compliment others on their accomplishments. Add words of encouragement. Be empathetic when others are struggling. Go to lunch with a new friend once a week . Invite a neighbor and family over for dinner. Get involved with your community. If you have kids, get involved with your kids PTA or activities. Volunteer your time for a cause. It's amazing how many friends and connections you will make when you get out (of your comfort zone and house) and do something. When you make face-to-face connections don't forget to follow up and invite them to connect on your social media accounts!! And do it because it’s the right thing to do and you want to…not because you have some hidden motive.

7. Work at it! My parents taught me, if something is worth doing, it's worth doing well. Cliche as it sounds...I believe it. Relationships are not a get rich quick scheme, they require effort, they require giving and nurturing. And the results you put into relationships, will come and if you’re only looking at people as numbers then you’re missing the point. You’re results should be looked at in terms of connections. Work on enriching your relationships using social media (because that’s the real beauty of social media) and your business goals will follow. There is evidence all over the Internet and in social media of little strategy and effort.

Our next blog posts will focus on ways to use content strategically and also ways to target your audience more effectively. I invite you to leave a comment and let us know about your personal brand and effective strategies you may have used to use express your personal brand using social media.

[caption id="attachment_1102" align="alignleft" width="272" caption="Michael Jensen, MonaVie Social Media Promotions Manager"][/caption]

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