I get this comment a lot: 'The internet is overwhelming. I don't know where to start.' I hear you. It will help you to know that you don't have to communicate with everyone all at once to effectively practice Social SEO. Being effective starts with getting a sense sense of your best connections and then creating a system to manage them.
You already know, if you read step two of this series, who your tribe is and where to find them online. Now you need to manage all those contacts, engage the people you like and learn who matters most to you. It's about tracking, and Hootsuite is great for this and well as TweetDeck. With both applications you can create and monitor lists of people and respond to them when you want to. In Hootsuite you can watch over Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Tumblr all in one dashboard. You can even check your mailing list performance from MailChimp. It's all sortable by keyword or by Klout score. Setting this up takes 20 minutes, and then you have yourself an engagement dashboard. Now, what do to with all that information?
Social SEO is Engagement
A reminder here: Social SEO is about engagement. Sure, you can use Hootsuite and other tools like Social Oomph, Sprout Social, and Twuffer to schedule social media posts. I think that's a good idea, even though it can lead to spectacular disasters if you don't monitor things closely. You need to be present online throughout the day, however, and pretty much every day. That's a commitment. A small part of that can be automated and scheduled. The most important part of it is hands on. Let's break down each channel.
99.99% of your posting on Facebook has to be done in real time, and you should personally respond to comments. Exception: If you have a company page, and a staffer or two trained to respond, they can do the typing.
Posting into LinkedIn Groups is an excellent way to reach the people who can benefit from your message, but get to know the group first before you post.
Following Blogs and Commenting
Blogs remain one of the best ways to increase your visibility online, and once you finish writing yours, the next best way to build a presence is to follow other blogs and comment on them in a meaningful way. (Posting 'good blog!' is not all that meaningful, by the way.) I track blogs in Google Reader and Feedly. On your iPad, Zite and Flipboard also work well.
Adding Subscribers to Your Mailing List
According to research cited by DocStoc, 94% of people using the internet are using it to read emails. Before you consign this to the 'well, duh, that's obvious' category, remember that a solid email newsletter builds loyalty. So add sign up forms to your websites, social profiles and a link in your email signature. The people who are opening your newsletter online are interested in what you have to say and what's more, you can track them. It's possible to fine tune your newsletter sends so that you can address specific groups within your broader newsletter audience. Examples? If you market adventure travel, you can send newsletters about Great White Shark diving to your underwater adventure enthusiasts, and news about that safari go to the readers who are interested in Africa. If you market wine, you can send your red wine people newsletters about Merlot and Shiraz and your white wine people newsletters about Pinot Grigio and Chardonnay.
Managing your Connections - Deciding Who is Important
Wow, this is a tough one. Who is most important to you? All that engaging, communicating and connecting online can take up a lot of time, so you'll want to use it wisely. There's no doubt that most every day I will check in on friends on Facebook and check the Twitter feed of people who make me laugh. (Regular readers know I like Animals Talking in All Caps.) But once I do that, we consult the databases we have of the most influential bloggers, Twitter people and Facebookers in the areas we market to, and retweet, comment and follow. How to determine who is most influential? You can use tools like Traackr, Klout or PeerIndex. You can use Compete.com and ClearWebStats.com to see how their websites rank.
For Social SEO to be effective, not only to you have to make your connections, you also have to maintain and manage them - every day.