I often receive email requests with a very specific question that, nonetheless, can involve something as wide as the universe itself. Questions such as, “What can I do with my brand/company to position it on the Internet quickly?”, “How can I reach all my potential public present in the social web?” or “I need some advice to make my brand/company grow on the Internet, help me!”.

How to make the social web work for you

I’m outside social media

I don’t really care how others are using the social networks or social media. What I care about is discovering new paths to make the social web and Internet work in such a way that new business may be fostered, designing new digital roads beyond the social media and making a personal brand, agency or company more useful, connected and valuable. Using the social web and the Internet to develop your knowledge and expertise towards creating change, leveraging your influence towards new opportunities, strengthening processes, people and brands, building scalable ideas and launching new projects beyond the digital noughts and ones. That’s it.

How to get “this” to work

That’s what takes up my time, making sure that you get the tools, platforms, channels, strategies and tactics that form the social web working for you. This is how I do it:

  • Build your own attack. Write posts for your blog, prepare videos for YouTube, create your own social news, organise hangouts, tweet. Anything that helps you get your story across. However, make sure you stay human and interact with people rather than beating them with your message.
  • Form an ecosystem. Segment platforms and define your core value: Facebook to find people you know. Twitter for having conversations, searching and interacting and so forth in other places where you set your online presence. One use, one objective, one action, that’s enough.
  • Create your own framework. No one should trust other people’s framework or job structure. Modify them, hack them if you have to, make them work to suit your needs. Tactics, strategy, time management, work timetable, vacations: find a strcuture that works the way that you work and make it work. As Hugh McLeod use to say "ignore everybody".
  • Learn from the outside. Extract ideas, learnings and feedback, learn to learn from the social web.
  • Negotiate your time. Use any lack of attention in your favour and create a defined workflow the allows you to structure your personal and professional tasks so that you can optimise each step of the work chain.
  • Do, make and show. Work on your project or idea, experiment, check and then share what you obtained. Seek inputs that can improve your output.
  • Burn the handbookDon’t pay too much attention to any social media preacher. For instance: if you hear that so-and-so only publishes once, try publishing twice that, then thrice that and continue trying out and experimenting, analysing where the breaking point is. Perhaps some won’t like what you do (for instance, publishing too much or placing an interstitial in your website to increase your database) but you may gain visits to your website and end up selling more.
  • Jump on the bandwagon. Take a look at what is trending in social media and jump on the bandwagon by also linking to that content. It will probably help you too. Netiquette establishes that if you find valuable content from a large brand that someone has shared, link to the person, not the brand.
  • Online reputation and blah, blah, blah! Forget online reputation and invest the hours you spend worrying about looking great in doing work that has a great result.
  • Measure whatever makes sense. Focus on metrics that measure what’s important to you; that is, your ROI. Forget the likes, followers or RT unless your job is to collect nonsensical figures regarding an overrated action. Measure the increase in orders, percentage increase in sales compared to the previous year and the one before that. Active users in your database, how many join it daily and how many unsubscribe. How many App downloads you have every week or month and the income received if it’s not a free App. How often is the content you publish shared or how many leads are you capable of taking from your social platform to your point of conversion. Whatever makes your bank account grow will make a great indicator, it’s what you should be measuring.
  • Human sells. Are you selling something? Even if your blog’s main aim is to sell, remain human, be interesting, become involved in what concerns you and add value to your audience. This isn’t the Internet we used to know. Now we have amazing tools that remind us that in order to create digital business we must start by being human. Let’s use it in a different way.

You define it

You know the best thing about it? This sleeps with you every night. It is the product of your work. The best news I’ve heard in years: Choice and not opportunity define your work…or fate!

Photo credit: Ralph S.