From The Editor | September 3, 2011

Social Media - Getting Started With Minimal Effort

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By Mike Monocello, chief editor

One of the most common objections I hear regarding the adoption of social media is lack of time. Indeed, if you already have a full plate, how are you supposed to make time for Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and blogging? Unfortunately, this isn't an article on where you can find the 25th hour of the day. The fact is, to participate in social media, you've got to make the time. However, the amount of time you need to devote might be less than you'd expect.

As a publication, Business Solutions magazine has put forth considerable resources and effort to understand and then leverage social media in a efficient and cost-effective manner. Based on the information we've gathered, the strategy I recommend to VARs strapped for time relies on leveraging one social media technology to feed the others. The hub of this model is a blog.

In short, blogging is all about thought leadership. As a trusted advisor to your customers, what better way to show off your technology IQ than to write a regular blog on trends in the industry, how you helped a customer, or how a new product can help customers. Anyone with a Gmail account has automatic access to blogger.com and can create a blog in a matter of minutes. Wordpress is another popular blogging platform. Your web admin should even be able to tie the blog into your company domain name with relative ease.

Blogger.com (along with Wordpress and every other reputable blogging application) can display your articles in RSS (a common, standardized display) format. Using the RSS feed of your blog, you can funnel your blog articles to other social mediums in a variety of ways. For instance, you can use the free service at Twitterfeed.com to automatically create a Tweet on your Twitter account (in this case, a headline linked to your blog). Also, LinkedIn recently added the ability to link your Twitter account to your personal profile page. So, once Twitterfeed posts your new blog article to your Twitter account, the Tweet will also appear on your LinkedIn page. Facebook has an assortment of applications (e.g. Kipdola Twitter Sync) that can be installed to your Facebook page to automatically post your Tweets as your Facebook status updates. With those few examples, you can see how it works: create a blog, which is posted to Twitter, which is distributed to other mediums. I should also point out that your blog could serve as the central piece for a monthly email newsletter to your customers and prospects.

Some final thoughts: Despite Google keeping the logic behind its search and relevance top secret, the company recently revealed that blog content plays a significant role in the relevance equation. Additionally, Google recently added Twitter timelines to Google search results. At a bare minimum,with a blog you can look like a thought leader to your customers and prospects; automatically reach audiences on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook; and increase your Google relevance. That's not a bad investment.

Quick Social Media Links:
Five Tips For Writing A Successful Blog
Twitter — www.twitter.com
Facebook — www.facebook.com
LinkedIn — www.linkedin.com
Hootsuite — www.hootsuite.com — Web-based Twitter management application allows you to manage multiple Twitter accounts from one screen and schedule Tweets for future publishing.
Exectweets — www.exectweets.com — Learn what top business executives are Tweeting about

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