With brands like Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter, Pinterest and others posting huge gains in users, it’s obvious that millions of people are finding ways to implement social media in their personal lives, yet good ways to use social media in the office environment are still “under construction” as so many website home pages say.
Professionals who spend their time being productive in cubicles can jumpstart their ability to leverage Internet phenomenon like Facebook and others with these suggestions for using social media in the office.
1. Determine your Initial Strategy
This is simply deciding “who you are” in the social media. That’s easily said, but not so easily done. You might need to carefully blend your professional and personal presence, or maybe separate the two completely. I’m starting out with a tricky one because many of us, including those who are concentrating on affiliate marketing strategies, have special connections with our personal friends. Do we want all of our friends to be included in all our marketing efforts, or do we want to work on creating another social media presence that tries to bring in a subset of our personal friends? This is important to determine early on because it will impact everything you do across media like Twitter and Facebook. You don’t want to be Sally Jones on Facebook but “MegaSuperDealFinder” on Twitter.
2. Find your Circles
Google+ calls them circles. Linkedin calls them subgroups. All social media have their own labels, but they are user groups that share an interest. If you’re working in a large office or are flying solo in your homegrown cubicle, you need to find the social media groups that most closely reflect your business niche. Linkedin and Facebook both have several groups related to affiliate marketing. Establishing a presence in these groups will reward you with increased knowledge and eventually valuable professional connections.
3. Make your Social Media Presence Useful
You want to grow your Twitter followers, increase your Facebook friends or fans, and generally get more and more people interested in what you have to say. The only way to do this is to provide information that is truly meaningful and helpful. This is a balancing act. Don’t take a machine gun approach and splatter the social media with updates and tweets 24/7. However, don’t go underground for such long periods of time that people forget about you. Most social media users are paying attention during weekday business hours, that’s when you need to be active, but make your messages meaningful.
4. Keep up with Trends
There’s only one think I don’t believe will be changing anytime soon in the world of social media, and that’s the rapid rate of change. As you’re expanding your presence in social media, keep your eye on two things: first, how affiliate marketing in general is using social media, and two, which strategies are proving most effective to you. Be methodical about it. For instance, if you’re getting into Twitter, do some research at Hashtags to find out which hashtags are getting used most often. Be able to track which hashtags produce best for you. Look for trends in Digg and find out what kinds of pages make their way into StumbleUpon. If you understand what’s going on around you in social media, you’ll be better able to craft your presence.
5. Use Specialized Software and Websites
Earlier I recommended against taking a “machine gun” approach to broadcasting tweets and updates. However, as you get more deeply involved in developing your social media strategy, you may want to use specialized software and websites to help you get more efficient firepower on the social media networks. Software like TweetDeck allows you to post to several social media at one time, easily see who has mentioned you, watch hashtags and more. Gist gives you the ability to consolidate and organize your contacts from your separate social media accounts all under one roof in ways that would be nearly impossible if you dealt with them individually. Affiliate marketers will find great ways to these tools and websites to build their brands.
Finally, I believe that given the rapid rate of change in the world of social media, success will require following the shampoo model: lather, rinse, repeat. As you’re becoming more deeply involved, reassess where social media is going, tweak your presence, re-strategize your initiatives and then repeat the process as you move ahead.
Carrie Thompson is a writer for EQA Office Furniture, a California based company selling desk chairs, workstations, office cubicles, receptionist desks and more. Free virtual 3D walkthroughs and package pricing are available on their website. Follow EQA on Facebook.