Ten Commandments of Social Media

Lon Scafko, author of The Social Media Bible, and keynote speaker for the upcoming Franchise Social Media Summit, wrote an article some time back for Fast Company magazine where he discussed the Ten Commandments of Social Media. These commandments are an excellent guideline to developing a social media marketing strategy, and for future reference.

ten_commandments_large_web-copyCommandment 1. Thou Shalt Blog (like crazy)

Blog. Please. That’s the first priority. Set up a blog, a personal blog, a business blog. It’s easier than you think. Use an existing blogging site such as Blogger.com or GoingOn.com or install your own branded blogging site right on your own server by using WordPress. And, WordPress is free.

Commandment 2. Thou Shalt Create Profiles (everywhere)

Create your profiles; do it now before someone else takes them. Once they are gone, they are gone forever. That’s called cyber squatting. So get out there. Use Open Social to make filling in your profiles as easy as a click of a button.

Commandment 3. Thou Shalt Upload Photos (lots of them)

Upload photographs. You’ve got them. Don’t upload the one with you with a lampshade on your head…counterproductive; but other photographs? Absolutely. Customers want to see and participate. You want to give people a face to go with your company.

Commandment 4. Thou Shalt Upload Videos (all you can find)

Videos. You all have got videos. I don’t care whether it’s training videos or customer videos, grab your video camera and go interview some of your customers. What’s better than seeing your customer’s smiley face on your Web site? And it doesn’t cost anything.

Commandment 5. Thou Shalt Podcast (often)

Podcast. If you’re too cheap to get a camera, use the free audio software that’s in your computer. That’s what I did. I created 48 audio podcasts. If you take the podcasts I did for my book and played them back-to-back, they run 24 continuous hours of interviews. You can do that. It’s free. It just takes time.

Commandment 6. Thou Shalt Set Alerts (immediately)

Set alerts. People are talking about you. You probably need to know what they are saying and you want to participate.

Commandment 7. Thou Shalt Comment (on a multitude of blogs)

Comment. Commenting is like going to a cocktail party. You wouldn’t walk into a networking event, walk up to a group of people talking, and tell them your name and what you do in your business. That would be rude and unacceptable. Listen first. Read the blogs and add comments. You can be controversial, that’s okay. But participate. Get involved.

Commandment 8. Thou Shalt Get Connected (with everyone)

Get LinkedIn. Put it in your email that you have a LinkedIn account, you have a Facebook account, and that you have a Twitter account. Make it a part of your heading on your letterhead, because that’s how you propagate. That’s how you sell it.

Commandment 9. Thou Shalt Explore Social Media (30 minutes per week)

Explore social media. Give me thirty minutes a week, that’s all I’m asking. Friday morning grab your coffee, lock yourself in your office, and give me thirty minutes. Just Google something. I promise you within the first 30 days you will be excited. You’ll be as excited as I am. You will get excited because of the ROI.

Commandment 10. Thou Shalt Be Creative (go forth and create creatively)

And the most important commandment is creativity. That’s all. It’s just creativity and having fun. But you know what, that’s what your customers want. They want to see transparency. They want to see authenticity. They want to see you having fun. They want to be able to relate and communicate.

* Previously posted on franchisEssentials June 2010 and June 2011

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Social Media Basics – An Overview

As a result of the many conversations about social media I had with franchise professionals at the recent IFA Convention, I posted on this site, Social Media – Before Diving In, Know How to Swim. It seems many within franchising, and most likely throughout small business, continue to put off entering the world of social media. On the surface, the old and by now, tired, excuse of “it’s a fad” appears to be just a smoke screen. The real, true reason is more in line with “I just don’t know how to get started” and/or “If I start, I want to do so correctly.”

Sure, many, including me, have said this before as people expressed fear of social media, “just jump in!” But, I feel it’s necessary to clarify. I do believe one should jump right in, but at least have some fundamentals in place to ensure your experience is both enjoyable and successful. I clarified the same with the franchise professionals I met in Vegas and expanded upon it with Social Media – Before Diving In, Know How to Swim.

As is often the case, one post spurs additional questions and requests, which led to my 4-part series on Social Media Basics. Several years into the social media movement and what appears to be very fundamental, is actually monumental to individuals and organizations still sitting on the sidelines wondering how to get into the game. Hopefully, the 4-part series will help them take that first step on the field.

The series started with Who, What, When, Where, Why & How of Social Media Within a Franchise Organization. Basically, it was an outline of some very basic instruction as it related to each of the 5 “W” questions, and of course, the “How” question.

Next, we needed to introduce the most widely utilized social media, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, along with basic instruction points for each. This segment, Starting Your Social Media Program with the “Big Three” accomplished this objective.

The third segment, An Hour a Day With the Big Three Social Networks continued to build the program as it addressed the time issue of social media. Many newcomers have heard that social media can be a major time commitment. As such, they have been reluctant in starting their social media experience because they don’t have hours per day to commit.

Obviously, it’s important to gauge efforts against results, and to throw in a measure of expectations as well. The last segment of the series focused on social media analytics from a very basic perspective. Social Media Metrics: Not Yet a Science! touched upon the key issues of social media metrics including attention, participation, authority, influence and sentiment. It also touched on some of the obvious goals franchise executives would like to achieve in their social media efforts along with the not-so-obvious benefits that can be achieved as well.

So, there you have it – a 4-part series on Social Media Basics, precluded by an overview of what to do before getting started, that combined, will provide a basic foundation for social media success. Keep in mind, this is the equivalent of driver’s education. But it is the first step to enjoying your life behind the wheel… in social media.

Happy Networking!

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Social Media as a Must-do for Business Success

I was recently asked the question, “How do you convince small business owners that social media is a must-do? It wasn’t difficult to answer as it’s something I’m asked almost every day, and my answer remains the same. The reason? Quite simply, it works!

I believe the best way to convince small business owners to embrace social media is to educate them one piece at a time. Education must consist of both awareness and teaching.

Working with franchise organizations, I’m typically presented with the challenge of working with a mixed group of early adoptees all the way to diehard change-opponents, and many differing opinions in between. Some of the holdback is definitely generational as older businesspeople tend to be intimidated by new technology. Others are overwhelmed by the perceived complexity of utilizing social media effectively. While others chomp at the bit to move forward with full vigor!

My philosophy stems around making the learning process enjoyable. Regardless of differing opinions, skill levels and perceived or real understanding, the common denominator is emotion. Of course, emotions are easiest to work with when the path towards achieving goals and objectives is broken down into manageable components. At each transition point, a satisfying moment is key to moving the process along. For the various experience levels, the starting point is not the same.

Key elements of this process include hands-on instruction, which is made so easy today with the continued improvement of online meeting platforms. The ability to share screens creates a learning experience similar to a skilled worker manipulating and guiding the hands of an apprentice in the fine art of shaping a gem.

It also affords the opportunity for “students” to learn at their own pace. And, once they master one part, let’s say Facebook, we proceed to another. Then, when that part is mastered, they learn how to integrate the two. For the more advanced it may mean working within a complex campaign of integrating basic social media with email marketing that includes video with specific geo-based objectives.

I know I veered off course and addressed the process I’m passionate about, instead of focusing on the question at hand. But, it does take sharing the passion to get the non-adoptees to drop their guard and put their toes in the water. The exhibited passion must work towards building their confidence. The transfer of passion typically results in the desire to move forward. Many never look back.

Yes, I believe it all stems from education. We must continue to provide information, show examples of practical application and success, and get them to participate… but allow them to do so at their own level and pace.

One of my most satisfying success stories had me working with a successful 50ish year old female franchisee that was intimidated by social media. She was reluctant due to her own fear of looking stupid to others. She was afraid she’d make a catastrophic mistake she wouldn’t be able to correct. Her fear was very real and very difficult to overcome. She’d often exclaim, “How can I keep up once I start? It’ so overwhelming!”

Well, long story short, she has become extremely proficient at utilizing social media. Her biggest motivation to take it to a new level was a result of her daughter referring to her as a “cool Mom” because she was embracing Facebook along with other “cool” social media. Is it ironic that they now communicate better than ever? After all, social media is all about communications. She now sees how this can help her communicate better with customers. And, she is enjoying herself more in business today, than yesterday.

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