I entered the Internet marketing world in 1996, when I optimized my first website and started a digital marketing industry ezine. I was a relatively early adopter of new social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and LinkedIn (one of the 1st million LinkedIn members for those keeping track). Early on, my objective with social media was to create the broadest and deepest presence, in order to generate optimal awareness for my SEM agencies and to build credibility as a thought leader. In the past five years, I’ve refined my social media content strategy and applied it successfully to clients and peers. I’d like to share with you my three easy steps to becoming a “social media guru” as judged by MyWebCareer.
Step 1: Filter
The first step is the easiest, relatively speaking. Whether you’re a beginner in your discipline, or a seasoned veteran just getting started in social media, start by listening. Before shouting out to the world, spend time identifying and following industry influencers, pundits and experts. From there, expand your resource-base to include industry publications, associations and companies. As you find interesting nuggets via social listening, share those you find most timely, unique, remarkable and informative. Essentially, you become a filter for your industry. The influencers are likely to take notice that you’re sharing their content and repay you by following or friending you. In the end, you’re creating personal brand awareness and credibility by providing a filtered information resource for your industry. Skeptical? One of the most followed Twitter profiles a few years ago gained notoriety solely by retweeting other people’s tweets. They built credibility through convenience, and so can you.
Step 2: Incorporate a POV
Since anyone with spare time and good monitoring skills can complete the first step, you need to differentiate yourself from the pack. By incorporating light commentary and perspective, you can dramatically increase awareness, credibility and differentiation. Based on the knowledge you’ve acquired during the filtering stage, determine how to best position yourself in the marketplace. For example, if pundits within your industry are very serious and analytical, consider a light-hearted approach, expressing opinions with humor and story-telling vs. facts and figures. The value proposition: enhancing awareness and credibility by creating a unique position and perspective within your industry. I’m not aware of any industry pundits or gurus that lack a unique point-of-view. What is yours?
Step 3: Create Compelling Original Content
With a solid foundation and a following, it’s time to up the ante. Combine your new skills as a filter with commentary to build on the final and most important step: creating original content. As a filter, you can detect if not anticipate trends. Next, take a position on the specific news, issue or trend. Once you’ve determined a direction, write out a 500 to 1,500 word blog post or article defending your position or thesis. Post it and promote it. Other filterers in your network will share it and those with a point-of-view will incorporate their own commentary. You know you’ve made it when pundits are sharing or commenting on your posts, which gives you an opening to engage with them directly. The value of creating original content is that you’re building credibility by being first to take a position, and with that position, comes the spoils.
By following the three step social media guru process, I’ve formed new friendships and strategic partnerships, secured speaking opportunities and press coverage as well as generated new business leads. What would you like to accomplish with your new-found “social guru” status?