As an author of The Social Media Bible, I am often asked, "What do I need to do engage my company, my products, and myself in social media?" The answer is easy: participate. Get out there and get involved. If you aren't in the game, you can't win. Here's your Ten Commandments or things you need to be doing to get in and win with social media.Thou Shalt Blog (like crazy). Thou Shalt Create Profiles (everywhere). Thou Shalt Upload Photos (lots of them). Thou Shalt Upload Videos (all you can find). Thou Shalt Podcast (often). Thou Shalt Set Alerts (immediately). Thou Shalt Comment (on a multitude of blogs). Thou Shalt Get Connected (with everyone). Thou Shalt Explore Social Media (30 minutes per week). Thou Shalt Be Creative (go forth and create creatively)!
Commandments 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.
Commandments 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.
Commandments 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.
Commandments 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.
Commandments 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.
Commandments 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.
Commandments 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.
Commandments 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.
Commandments 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.
Commandments 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.
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Lon Safko is the co-author of The Social Media Bible: Tactics, Tools, and Strategies For Business Success. He is also an innovator and professional speaker with over 20 years of experience in entrepreneurship, marketing, sales, strategic partnering, speaking, training, writing, and e-commerce. He is the founder of eight successful companies, including Paper Models, Inc.