8 Social Leadership Strategies ANYONE Can Master
Like many people, you’ve probably become a bit jaded about social media. It’s hard to produce good content. You can’t get noticed. You can’t generate leads, etc. Or like me, you find you waste a lot of time on social media!
What if I told you I’m no “social media guru” – my business is enterprise software – but I’ve picked up some useful tips that I’m glad to share. What if I told you that you can dramatically improve your influence, views, shares, connections and productivity on social media by imitating what the true social media masters do?
First off, I’ll reveal that my “handbook” for learning the true meaning of “social leadership” is the excellent book ‘A World Gone Social’ by Ted Coine and Mark Babbitt’. It dives much deeper than the typical social media book by explaining how to be a social leader and influencer in today’s saturated social media world.
Two of Coine and Babbitt’s best examples of “social leadership” are Richard Branson, the rock star businessman who founded the Virgin Group, and Arianna Huffington, founder of The Huffington Post and author of the book ‘Thrive’.
With around 7 million followers on LinkedIn and 4.5 million on Twitter, Richard Branson is one of the most active and successful entrepreneurs on social media.
Arianna Huffington is one of the most powerful women in business, with 3.5 million followers on LinkedIn and over 2 million on Twitter. Not too shabby!
Their success is why I started copying these “social leaders” when developing my own strategies for success with social media marketing. Sound like a good plan?
“In essence, Richard Branson and Arianna Huffington are my social leadership “senseis” and I am their humble “grasshopper”.”
This blog explores what I think are the strategies for social media success I see demonstrated by these “social leaders”. I say strategies and not “Ninja tricks” because you have to commit to them for the long haul. Also, because I’m not a “social media expert”, I’ve had to get better at them by trial and error!
For the ADD audience (you know who you are), I’ve thrown in a few “low hanging fruit” tips as well, so you can see some progress right off the bat.
“The good news is anybody can master Richard Branson and Arianna Huffington’s social media strategies, not just the rich and famous. You don’t even have to have great hair and an electric smile! :)”
Strategy #1: Google your name and update social profiles
If you want to know how you rank and where you need to fix your social profiles, Google your name. These are results when I Googled Arianna Huffington.
See how her blog and social media profiles like Twitter come up first in Google? What comes up when you Google yourself? Revisit and spruce up any social profile that comes up in a Google search on your name.
“The goal is not to have an active presence on every social media platform, just to do a great job on the social networks that work best for you based on your audience.”
Strategy #2: Focus on your target audience…but have fun
For example, my target audience with my new inforln.com website is primarily enterprise software customers, ERP software consultants and manufacturing executives.
So I aim directly at them and write blog posts like ‘SAP ERP Customers: May the FORCE Be With You’, and many with movie themes like Austin Powers. Who doesn’t like movies?
I also try to vary my blog topics. After all, CFO’s and CIO’s like to have fun too, right? For example, I like boxing, and Muhammad Ali especially, so I did a Muhammad Ali-themed blog entitled ‘6 Easy Ways to Beat Big Competitors to the Punch’.
I liked the book ‘David & Goliath’ by Malcolm Gladwell, and I always root for the underdog. So I wrote ‘How Amazon Crushed Big Competitors (And You Can Too)’. (Although Amazon is no longer an underdog…note to self that I have to pick a new one.) J
Strategy #3: Be visible where your target audience lives
Almost all of my business connections, potential clients and people I’d like to meet are on LinkedIn; so I focus heavily there. I’ve spent quite a bit of time massaging my LinkedIn profile, and I share a lot on my company Performa App’s LinkedIn Company page.
I’m a (self-titled) enterprise software blogger on LinkedIn, but I also connect with other bloggers and readers through WordPress.
I use Twitter as my real-time news feed, to share my content and (most importantly) to engage with interesting people. I also have a Twitter account for my company, Performa Apps @iapperp. You should have a business Twitter account too – but remember to share other people’s content too!
So, I focus most of my business and marketing strategies on these 3 social media networks because that’s where my target audience hangs out. The rest are (mostly) just for fun.
Strategy #4: Establish your own blogs on LinkedIn and WordPress
Both Richard Branson and Arianna Huffington have the luxury of their own blogs under their corporate websites. Here is Richard Branson’s blog on the Virgin.com website.
See the engaging pictures and catchy titles? Virgin.com’s and Richard Branson’s blogs both show the number of shares in the upper right corner, which indicates their social engagement is very high.
You too should show the number of shares and ‘likes’ on your blog, and encourage people to share the content by placing share icons in an easy-to-find spot.
I recommend starting your own blog with your own name as the URL, just as blogging expert Jeff Bullas has done with www.jeffbullas.com. By the way, in my opinion the Jeff Bullas Blog is the best resource for blogging tips on the Web, and his book “Blogging the Smart Way” is my blogging handbook.
At the very least you should have a LinkedIn blog and a WordPress blog.
There are a number of other blogging platforms like About.me, SlideShare, Scoop.it and Tumblr. It’s great to show your personality here too, as long as you keep it relatively professional. Plus (bonus) you can find lots of cool people who are having fun writing and creating new things – just like you!
For more social media and content marketing tips from Richard Branson, read ‘3 Leadership Secrets From Richard Branson’ and ‘7 Social Media Secrets From Richard Branson’ on LinkedIn.
Strategy #5: Create good content using frequently searched keywords in titles
Any content or blogs that are shared with your name or other frequently used names (like ‘Richard Branson leadership’ or ‘Guy Kawasaki books’) will rank high in Google. This is particularly true of video content on YouTube, LinkedIn Pages, Facebook Pages, blogs on WordPress or your own company blog.
Notice that I said GOOD content! Fluff and short list posts won’t do the trick any more by themselves. Consult content marketing expert Ann Handley’s ‘Content Rules’ and the ‘Everybody Writes’ book for the best tips on how to write content that rocks!
More and more, Google ranks content and social engagement higher while downgrading websites that use traditional SEO “tricks”, like padding or “stuffing” with keywords in page headers. Incorporate key words and search terms in your titles and in the body of your blogs to get the top Google search results.
Here’s a word of caution, though. Avoid clichés and industry jargon, which Ann Handley calls “Franken-speak”. In order for you to develop a loyal and engaged audience on social media, you have to bring more than just SEO optimization and “click bait” to the table.
Strategy #6: Don’t forget Google+ and YouTube for SEO
Personally, I’ve found even though Google+ is essentially a dead social network, sharing content on G+ makes it rank high quickly! Notice how Richard Branson has Google+ Posts on the right of his blog…sly dog that he is.
Guy Kawasaki (aka, “The Flash” of social media) also uses Google+ a lot, and it’s not just because Kawasaki used to be an “evangelist” for Google. Guy Kawasaki uses Google+ for the SEO “juice”, the Google+ chats and the connections with his “geeky friends”.
Read more about Guy Kawasaki’s content marketing tips in ‘How a 1930’s Teacher Changed Guy Kawasaki’s Life (And Mine Too)’ on the new inforln.com blog.
Insider Tip: Because YouTube is the number 2 search engine after Google, and of course Google owns it, the SEO “juice” for YouTube videos is reputed to be around 20 times that of text! Also, a little known fact (except among us geeks) is that when you do a Google+ Chat, a video recording is automatically created on YouTube.
Strategy #7: Focus on LinkedIn…less is more
My company manufactures ERP software and consulting, so most of my connections and prospects are on LinkedIn. This is especially important for you if your company is business to business (B2B).
When I make any contact with anyone professionally or they see my LinkedIn Pulse activity (say LinkedIn blogs or Groups), the first thing they do is to Google ‘Dan Aldridge LinkedIn’ or find my LinkedIn profile directly.
LinkedIn Tip: Your prospects, potential connections, recruiters and prospective employers will all look you up on LinkedIn before doing business with you. So get busy on improving your LinkedIn profile!
Here is Arianna Huffington’s LinkedIn profile – funny, short and sweet.
In the Summary section of Arianna’s LinkedIn profile, she showcases her book ‘Thrive: The Third Metric to Redefining Success’. You should do the same by uploading your content (books, blogs, videos, Slideshare Presentations, etc.) under your ‘Summary’ section.
In these few sentences, I was able to get a good sense of Arianna Huffington’s personality. Of course, Arianna’s LinkedIn profile is very brief because most people already know who she is.
For mere mortals like you and me, though, we need to provide a quick mental picture of who we are in as few words as possible.
“Remember that almost everyone reading your social profiles has ADD and you have about 5 seconds flat to make a great impression!”
From Arianna Huffington’s LinkedIn profile, I can gather in those precious five seconds that she:
- Places her family highest on her priority list because she puts “mother” and “sister” on her professional profile instead of career accolades.
- Values being comfortable and relaxed rather than stiff and formal (flat shoe advocate).
- Understands what’s important like quality of life and wellness (Sleep evangelist). I would guess she isn’t a complete workaholic, at least.
Strategy #8: Repurpose your content on multiple social media platforms
At a minimum, you should make all of your blog posts available on LinkedIn using the LinkedIn Publisher. When you publish a post on your LinkedIn blog, all of your connections and followers will get an update in their LinkedIn Pulse activity feed.
Here is a sample of Arianna Huffington’s LinkedIn posts. She has published over 100 blogs since 2012, and all of them look like fun!
LinkedIn Tip: When you publish a post on LinkedIn, your profile views and engagement on LinkedIn (e.g., comments, shares) will go up dramatically. Plus you can become known as a LinkedIn Influencer very quickly.
For the FULL story on social media secrets that anyone can master, read ‘8 Social Media Strategies ANYONE Can Master’ on LinkedIn.
A Call to Action
So…are you ready to apply these straightforward tips to improve your own social profiles, social media activity and content marketing?
Join me in following these strategies to finally start getting something out of social media besides pet videos!
- Google your name and revisit all of your social profiles. Shorten, spruce them up with graphics, add content, etc.
- If you’re an entrepreneur or you’re in a B2B company, focus on LinkedIn. Make sure you use LinkedIn Publisher to write LinkedIn blogs.
- Start a WordPress blog and engage with other bloggers. Copy their successful strategies. Like Jeff Bullas did with jeffbullas.com, try to get a URL with your name or some derivative of it.
- Repurpose your posts on LinkedIn, Slideshare, me, etc.
- Dust off your “personal brand” on social media. What do you think it is?
- Follow and engage with other social leaders on your social networks of choice. In my experience, they’re typically really nice folks.
- Reach out personally and honestly to make social network connections. Surprise – you may make some new, interesting friends. Don’t attempt to sell them right away, though. You’ll lose your opportunity that way.
- For God’s sake, don’t spam!
- Explore LinkedIn tips and tricks by bloggers like Alex Pirouz, who created a program I use called Linkfluencer at http://linkfluencer.com. It’s billed as “The World’s Leading LinkedIn Marketing Course”, and from my experience it may well be.
- Read the books ‘Content Rules’ and ‘Everybody Writes’ by MarketingProfs’ Chief Content Officer Ann Handley. If you’ve got the budget, sign up for a MarketingProfs course. I did – they rock!
- Read all my blog posts on the new inforln.com blog and visit the com website.
- Have fun. Trust me; if you’re not having fun then you’re not doing right!