Get your house in order before you invite guests: Social Media the right way

So many companies are jumping into Social Media without a plan–and that’s a bit scary. You wouldn’t build a new addition to your home without blueprints, right? Or at least a sketch to follow or something.

If you’ve made this mistake, it’s not too late. Hire a professional who can guide you. An hour of consulting is worth the hours you might waste trying to figure it out yourself. Or worse: you can damage your reputation if you don’t know how to build your Social Networks.

Here’s what I preach to my clients:

1. You shouldn’t invite people into your home until it’s clean and in order. So, why join Twitter or start a Facebook page if you have a Web site that’s old and difficult to navigate? People judge you by your online reputation, including your Web site; blog; LinkedIn profile; Twitter profile, etc. Then they decide whether or not to start establishing rapport with you. It’s all perceptions. Control those perceptions first, then invite and engage.

2. Why bother engaging with people in conversation if you don’t know what to say and worse, if all you’re saying is “Buy my products and services”? A hard sell will be ignored. Remember that Social Networking is being of service to others first, 90% of the time. When it comes time to toot your own horn, others will be more likely to help YOU because, by now, you’ve helped them so much that they TRUST you. “Trust” is the new marketing.

3. You must have a Social Media plan. You need to know whom you are trying to reach and CONNECT with; which are the best Social Media sites to engage with your potential clientele (your “Tribe” as Seth Godin says); what is the focus of your message (or tweets); and how will you measure your success? The “Success” Benchmark is what I call it. If you’d like to find out how to measure your own Success Benchmark, I have a helpful and short blog post about it here: