5 Tips for Managing Social Media

As I make presentations and write about social media, I continue to hone in on my specific views about how to use and manage your social media. Here are some of the points I’ve been making for the last year that still hold up and have crystalized into some of my key points about social media management.

1. A Blog is Your Social Media Hub
When I say this, many people still look at me in terror, especially those who finally got a web site up after all these years or just spent a bucketload of money to redesign their existing web site. I’m not saying that a web site is now obsolete because of social media and Web 2.0 tools, however, blog publishing tools tend to integrate these tools so that embedding social functionality is incredibly easy.

Many web sites and custom or older web site content management systems don’t even support javascript or flash code, literally stripping out widgets and embedded social features. This functionality flaw makes social media integration a bitch. (Note that WordPress.com also has this flaw which really pisses me off.)

Blogs – by the very nature of how comments work – encourage social interaction from the get go. Web sites still struggle to be interactive and these days are turned to by consumers more for archival and background information and not necessarily the ideal place to get the most current news or conversation. This rule, of course, doesn’t pertain to online stores which I’d argue aren’t static sites at all and also not always ideal places for social interaction.

2. Feeds Are Your Secret Weapon
An RSS Feed (Really Simple Syndication) is your blog or site content stripped down to bare bones so that it can be fed or syndicated easily. People should be able to subscribe to your blog RSS feed, for example, and read your blog posts in their feed reader such as Google Reader.

Or you can allow them to subscribe to your feed and receive your blog posts – or blog post headlines and excerpts with links back to your blog – via email. RSS feeds can also be used to tie your blog together with other social networking sites. For example, Twitterfeed can be used to automatically post a link to your latest blog post to your Twitter page – automatically. Now that’s handy!

3. You Only Need To Join a Few Key Networks
People get so overwhelmed by social networking and are afraid that they will have to join countless networks in order to have a successful online social media campaign. I would never recommend someone who is new to social media to set up more than a handful of accounts, if that. I would recommend that you be strategic about the networks you join in a way that provides you with the functionality you need.

For example, I would recommend that in addition to your blog, join Twitter to microblog; Facebook to take advantage of Business pages, Groups and Events; and every professional can benefit from LinkedIn. If you are involved with music, the arts, any entertainment or have a cool retail business, then a MySpace page still has juice.

4. You Need a Friending Strategy
Before you go accepting every friend offer you get, click over to see who they are. Beware of Friend Spam that leads to pornography. Beware of Friend Mongers who just friend people to friend them with no rhyme or reason. But don’t be too picky that you reject anyone who doesn’t fit into a neat demographic that you identify as your audience.

Keep in mind that social networks are not only about the people who are your “friends” but the people with whom your friends are friends. And when you embark on a Friending Campaign, don’t be scattershot and don’t be a spammer. Be polite, low key, give a good reason for why you are sending a Friend invite, and don’t persist if they decline.

Also note that both Facebook and now MySpace allow you to categorize your friends into lists or groups.

5. You Should Use a Password Algorithm
I learned about password algorithms not from my Dad. If you are joining a handful of networks and have already been having trouble keeping track of your many, many passwords, a password algorithm can save the day. Let’s say you want a 9 character password for all of your sites. You don’t want to use the same password for all sites and 9 characters is pretty hard to remember (other than your Social Security number, that is). Break the password down into 3 parts. Decide what you will use for each of the 3 parts. Such as:

First 3 characters: The first three letters of your last name
Next 3 characters: Use 8*8
Last 3 characters; The last three letters of the web site

So if your last name was Smith and you have a Twitter account, the password would be SMI8*8TER.
If you had a MySpace account, the password would be MI8*8ACE. And so on.

These are just a few thoughts on how to better manage your social media.

How are YOU managing your social media?

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