5 Simple Steps to Sustainable Social Media

July 7th, 2010

Sustainable Social Media

First impressions are certainly memorable and often lasting depending on the approach, and in the case of sustainable social media, the process for that first hello and handshake is quite similar when you break it down into simple, actionable steps.

Following these 5 simple steps will provide you, your brand, your cause and your conversations a platform to engage like-minded communities with the intent of forging sustainable relationships:

  1. Listen
  2. Introduce, not self promote
  3. Engage and comment on conversations
  4. Start conversations (think “helpful”)
  5. Offer free advice and favors without expectations

The first step is where most of us fall flat on our faces. Once you dip that first toe into a social community, rather than leaping in armed to the teeth with promotional information and product sales sheets, take a step back and observe – Focus on conversation trends, identify the most popular or thought leaders in community and try to understand the temperature of the community (will they be receptive to your message and why/why not).

The second step is a natural follow-through to the listening process. Once you’ve listened and determined the temperature of the community and who the thought leaders are and how they are engaging each other and the community as a whole, offer a personable introduction with the caveat that you are there listen, learn and participate.

The third step requires active participation in ongoing conversations. By providing thought provoking commentary, you’re working to establish yourself as a trustworthy member of the community. You’re not self promoting, but asking questions, engaging and guiding the conversation into new avenues without expecting it to land on your site.

The fourth step is an extension of the active participation process. Once you feel comfortable enough to venture out on your own, offer an olive branch to the community by providing helpful advice, information, tips, etc.

That leads to the fifth and final step in your journey to sustainable social media. By offering value to the community without expecting favors or rewards in return, you’re legitimately focused on the long-term positive evolution and not the personal, short-term gains that your engagement could provide your business/brand. While the word “free” may make some of us cringe, it’s not about losing out on a sale in the immediate that you should be concerned with. It’s the “everybody wins” mentality from focusing on the relationships that will net much greater rewards down the road.

Filed under: Social Media | Tags: , , | No Comments »