If you are an “older” (meaning over 36 years old :)) business executive who has been hearing a lot about social media and wants to understand how it will truly benefit your business, I suggest you give this simple exercise a try. It is free, it will take 30 days, and at the end of this business exercise, you will have a whole new perspective about building a social media plan for your company.
You see, most people like you just outsource this “social media thing” to somebody who “understands it,” and that means there rapidly becomes a disconnect between the company’s marketing plan and the actual social media marketing that occurs. If the Chief Marketing Officer is not highly knowledgeable on social media, the company’s marketing plan is going to be far less than optimal.
I believe that marketing is such an important part of every brick and mortar business that everybody in the leadership chain (including the CEO) should be conversational on effective marketing practices. That means social media needs to be well received and well understood by the entire leadership team, otherwise the company will be falling behind the competition in the race for customer engagement. Regardless of your industry, if you do not know how to reach your customers, you will lose ground to those who do, and that is why from CEO down, this exercise will help an organization evolve.
A LinkedIn Social Media Business Exercise
So here’s what you need to do. Follow this simple social media exercise and complete all of the tasks. The learning curve is well within your ability (trust me, with everything that you currently do, this will not be remembered as your greatest achievement :)).
Remember, give yourself thirty days (about 20 minutes each day) to gain an understanding of how this one social media site can help your company grow and gain more customers.
- Create a new account (or use your existing one if you have it) at LinkedIn.
- Follow the instruction for setting up your account, and work to create your public profile
- Add a picture of yourself (professional headshot)
- Visit my profile on LinkedIn as an example of the level of completeness that you would like to have in 30 days
- Join At Least 3 Groups That Relate To Your Business Niche
- Connect with the other leaders in your company
- Connect with friends you know on LinkedIn (they are there!)
- Reach out to 3 people each day to connect via LinkedIn from your schooling (picture right)
- Read at least one discussion each day from each group
- Find out where your prospective customers are interacting (and join their groups too).
- Avoid any temptation to sell. Just read for the first 30 days.
The Exercise Is For Listening And Learning
“Seek first to understand, then to be understood.”
— Stephen R. Covey
7 Habits of Highly Effective People
Your thirty day social media business training exercise is designed to show you how to become a “fly on the wall” where all of your targeted customers are assembled. At first, you will be consumed with “you,” having to create a profile and learning how to navigate your way around LinkedIn. But after a while, you will become more comfortable (if you are doing this daily!).
Don’t worry about accomplishing anything more than what was listed above, just get a feel for how the site works. Learn how to find people and listen to what they are saying. Start to jot down ideas on how this insight could be effective if your key marketing people were doing this same exercise. Though you will be far from a LinkedIn expert after 30 days, you will certainly “get it.”
This same exercise can be used on Twitter, Facebook, Youtube, Stumbleupon, Digg, and all the other social media sites that you might want to target for your business social media plan. If you understand how these sites function, you will be able to clearly see how to implement them (or not) in your company’s business plan.
Reach out to me on LinkedIn and ask to connect (tell me that you saw this article on The Internet Squeeze). I think 30 days from now, you will be well upon your way to understanding the important role that social media has in your company marketing and customer business relationships.