1. A Blog of Your Own
The backbone of the Social Web is RSS feeds. A blog is an RSS feed and you want your own to publish to the Social Web. Publishing a blog lets you benefit from the exposure in the many RSS feed directories that distributes your blog without you having to re-post it one at a time.
But just starting a blog is not enough. Optimization is key to keeping your blog on the radar. Update regularly with fresh and engaging work and integrate your RSS feed into your other social media tools.
WordPress.com, Blogger, and Typepad offer free or nearly free RSS feeds. You also can install one on your site from WordPress.org.
2. Get a Facebook Presence
Most people do not know that there are two Facebook options: a Facebook profile and a Facebook page.
The Facebook profile is for a key representative of the business, not the business itself.
Be sure to optimize your Facebook profile by filling it out thoroughly with content that contains key terms relevant to you and your business. Integrate your blog and other social tools by importing them into your Facebook feed.
The Facebook page is for your business, be that a service or product, a local business, or as an artist/musician/writer.
Your Facebook page may be the only chance you get to pull in potential customers. Here are a few Facebook applications you can add to your page to accomplish this:
- Social RSS imports RSS feeds or blog entries
MyFlickr imports images from a Flickr account
YouTube Box lets you add video clips to your Facebook page
ShopTab is a great application for selling products, though there is a small monthly fee
Static FBML allows you to place HTML code onto your page
Causes is a great way to accept donations for a nonprofit business
3. Are you LinkedIn
LinkedIn is a professional networking site. It is an essential tool for business - especially if you do B2B.
Your LinkedIn profile may be someone's first impression of your business, so be sure to optimize it. Fill in every section of your profile using edited content and key terms.
Add applications that enhance your profile - especially the BlogLink application that imports your blog entries. Join LinkedIn groups relevant to your business.
4. Yes, Twitter
Twitter is a micro-blogging tool, limited to 140 characters per entry, that is nonetheless a great social networking tool that allows users to interact in "real-time." While Twitter is a great way to spread the word about events, products, and services, you want to use it in addition to your blog, not instead of it.
Keep your "tweets" fresh and frequent. TweetDeck or HootSuite help with this. These tools let you post-date your tweets so you can enter lots of tweets with one session. HootSuite also has an option so you can import your blog posts as tweets.
Use Twitter lists for managing all the people you are following.
5. A Flickr Account for Your Photos
Flickr is a media community used to upload and share photos and other images. This tool is underrated, as you can get excellent exposure and enhanced search engine placement if you use it keeping search criteria in mind.
When you add an image to Flickr, be sure to rename the file with a few key terms relevant to the image and to your business. Include those same key terms as tags and within the image's description.
Integrate your Flickr account with other social tools and add them as galleries to your Website or blog.
6. Focus in on a YouTube Account
Ah, the power of viral video is indisputable. If your business makes videos of any sort, get them on YouTube. Even if you don't make videos, you can still benefit from YouTube's popularity by creating playlists and commenting on other videos.
Whether it's your own video clips or a playlist, import them into your other social sites or embed a video gallery onto your Website or blog.
Use the same naming strategy as for images: Use your key terms in file names, tags, and descriptions of the clips you add to these communities.
Here is a presentation on how to create a realistic beginning social media strategy for your business.
No matter which tools you choose to implement, remember that the Social Web is about interaction. Join and start conversations whenever you can.
Here's to your success in the Social Web!
Deltina Hay has been doing Web development and programming for over 25 years, She is the principal of SocialMediaPower, and founder of the new social media Website service, http://www.PlumbSocial.com. Ms. Hay's graduate education in computer science, applied mathematics, and psychology led her naturally to social media consulting. Her latest book, A Survival Guide to Social Media and Web 2.0 Optimization, can be found anywhere books are sold.