First, Which Sites?
Number one, I want to tell you that social media is not a necessity. I have been successful in dozens of projects without posting a single comment on Twitter or Facebook. These are not necessary tools, no matter what you read on the Warrior Forum.
What they are is a powerful platform to leverage your brand and drive traffic and if used properly, they can be useful tools.
So, which sites should you use?
If you opt to use social media to any degree, I recommend the following:
That is all. I have not seen nor do I foresee any success using Pinterest UNLESS your product is in a niche that is well represented by the demographics of Pinterest (i.e. women).
And of the four, I strongly suggest you start with YouTube, because it's easy, free traffic and it works extremely well.
Okay, so on to the next step in this strategy
You need a brand.
If you plan on promoting yourself through social media you need a single, static brand name you can use with which to do it. You don't need a website for this, though if you go the route of creating a central hub for your sites, this can be a very successful strategy.
Your brand should be three things.
Recognizable - Make it something people can recognize by the name or logo. You can hire a logo developer on Elance for $35 and get a halfway decent graphic that can be used on all of your social media collateral.
Related to Your Niche - Don't choose some oddball, hard to market name. You are not the next Amazon. Choose something simple and if possible, clever, but the last part is less important than it being related to your niche. If you think of something particularly good, go for it, but otherwise, keep it simple.
Consistent and Well Developed - Sit down and outline the brand real quick. Again, you are not a Fortune 500 and you won't have to deal with things like customer service or marketing, so the goal here is simply to ensure you have a consistent voice. To do this, write up an outline of your tone, your opinion on things, the niches in which you will promote and a backstory for your reviewer (if you're using a pen name).
Once you do these things, you can start creating social media profiles that reflect this brand.
There are two routes you can take with this. You can either brand a persona or you can brand something more substantial like a platform. I recommend a persona as you are trying to sell an opinion. It is much easier to sell your opinion if it has a face on it, or at least a name.
So the next step is to create your profiles. You need four of them:
Facebook Page - Your Facebook Page can be anything you want, but again, I recommend attaching a name to it. Use the logo you had created for your cover page and then have a larger cover image created on Fiverr for $5-$15 (there are some very good providers on there.
YouTube Channel - Create a dedicated YouTube channel for your new brand. I recommend using a new Google ID that you can also link to your Google+ account. I'll show you why in a few moments.
Twitter Profile - Create a Twitter feed with your reviewers personal name attached to it. Start adding other reviewers and review sources in your niche as people you follow - aim for 200 or so within the first 3 days.
Google+ Page - Finally, create a page in Google+ attached to the same email address you used for YouTube. This is very important. Add the same info and pictures you used in your Facebook page.
With all four profiles created, it is time to populate them with some basic content. Use Networked Blogs to connect your review sites with Facebook and Twitter. This way whenever something new is posted to one of your sites it will automatically be posted on all of your social media profiles. Networked Blogs doesn't yet work with Google+ but you can syndicate your Twitter and Facebook feeds in Google+ using built-in tools there. I recommend syndicating Facebook since it is where your more substantial posts will be placed.
Now, create a HootSuite account and set it up to work with all three profiles. You should schedule tweets and Facebook updates other than those updates. Include things like links to new products and start building buzz around products.
Start syndicating to Facebook and Google+. It took me a grand total of about 15 minutes and it drove a couple hundred hits to my sites, and with a conversion rate of 5%, that means 10 clicks through to the sales page. I made money from those tweets. And it was a brand new twitter account.
So, what I'm saying is that social media, when done properly, is not this exhausting, time consuming chasm.
The key is to do it properly. To really leverage the power of social media, here are some more tips:
Hire Someone - Don't try to keep up on your own. Hire someone for $5/hour to spend 5-10 hours a week going through and responding to questions, adding followers and building relationships. It doesn't take that much, but you probably don't have that much time to invest.
Don't Go Mobile - It's tempting to use your mobile apps to post to your social media accounts. Don't do it. Set them up in advance through Hoot Suite, respond to specific, targeted tweets, updates, etc. and then have your assistant handle the rest. It needs to be as much on autopilot as possible or it crosses the line into time consumption.
Use Those Automated Tools - Don't do anything manually unless you have to. Preschedule updates, have responses digested and sent to your assistant, use Networked Blogs or a similar RSS feed reader to update your status. Hands off with maximum benefit is best.
I know that everyone else will tell you that social media is all about relationships and needs to be time consuming and for some businesses that is true. If you want to get anything out of this and you run a service company that provides plumbing in San Jose, you'd better spend time on there talking to customers.
But, your goal is mostly to drive traffic and generate interest in your websites so that new content is indexed faster and ranked higher. Social media can help with that and it doesn't take much work.
Other Cool Stuff You Can Do
There are a few other things you can do that will help you take advantage of the social media platforms we've just outlined. Before doing anything else, you may want to check out the YouTube tutorial I offer in Module 6. This is a great place to start if you want to drive traffic to your site using videos.
You'll also get a better idea of how to set up your YouTube Channel to be as user friendly and proffer as much traffic as possible.
Here are the tips:
Google+ Hangouts on Air - Google+ offers a free broadcast platform that automatically records and uploads the videos you do to YouTube. This is really cool and the primary reason I wanted you to keep your email addresses the same. Here's how it works. Setup a Hangout on Google+ and when you're ready to start, hit the Broadcast button. You can then present your reviews or whatever you are offering through Google+ inviting people to join in and ask questions, and the finished video will go live to your YouTube account. It lends authenticity to the process and ensures that people will get to know you better as a marketer.
Create Exclusive Groups - You can create a group in Facebook or you can create circles in Google+ that are exclusive to certain people. Facebook is preferred because it can be a multi-directional discussion group while Google+ is very one way, but it's up to you how you do it. Offer people membership into these groups for signing up to your email list and then keep them informed about the newest reviews you have coming out. Make something hard to get and everyone will want it.
These are just a few of the tips you can use to leverage social media to generate traffic, support your brand and develop a broader audience for everything you promote. Just remember to keep yourself actively engaged and don't overspend your time. If social media only represents 20% of your sales, it shouldn't surpass 20% of your total time+money commitment.
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