Jason Gordon is someone that does not need an introduction on the Canadian social media scene, being the founder and CEO of Strong Social, one of the most respected companies in the niche. While SEO and social media do not always see eye-to-eye, we strongly believe that we can always learn from each other, thus inviting Jason to share his views on social networking and offer some tips to those that are interested in this but do not know much about how to get started. Fortunately, Jason accepted our invitation and we managed to "steal" some of his time.
My company Strong Social is made of a team of entrepreneurs that really understand how to communicate with people. I feel that great communication skills are the most important thing that you need to know to be successful at Social Media, or any business really. Unfortunately, this can take years to learn, but having a great mentor or background in sales can really help.
Before I started this company, our team worked for an entire year building strategic methods for managing our Twitter, Facebook, Google+ & LinkedIn accounts. The results and feedback that we received were outstanding, and once I knew that we had a good enough strategy that could be scaled and passed on to other people, we officially started Strong Social! Getting our first clients was fairly simple because we had actually tested our methods and had results to show them.
There are so many different views on this but from my experience SEO can get very expensive with no real guarantee of where you will end up 3-6 months down the road. Social Media, on the other hand, is easier to measure and you can start to see results from day one. I think that having a really well-planned out blog, backed by a great social media strategy can go a lot further than any SEO work nowadays.
I wouldn’t necessarily say that’s its harder but I would say that’s it's different. Take Facebook, for example, it’s much more difficult to reach your followers when posting your content than it said 2 years ago, but if you have a good amount of money for marketing it’s still possible. I think that more thought and strategic planning really needs to go into any social media strategy to be successful nowadays. This is when hiring an experienced company can help, and also utilizing analytic tools so that you can see what’s really working and what’s not. We spend a lot of time and effort testing our programs to make sure that our Social Media Plans bring the best results possible. I think the most important thing to remember today is that there is a lot more competition on Social Media than there used to be and people have a lot more options to choose from. So you better make sure that the content you’re pushing and your products and services are that much better than everyone else’s.
Currently, we get more than 80% of our new business from twitter and plenty of new business for all of our customers. So twitter is always included in any plan that we set up. Facebook is still needed because people still refer to Facebook simply to check you out and see how many fans you have. (Social Proof) But really there is little to no engagement on Facebook anymore. An entire interview could be used to explain why Facebook is no good for business anymore but let’s just say that unless you have an extra marketing budget of $800-$1000 per month you will not do well on Facebook. Facebook is no longer a Social Network. They are an advertising company and their primary goal is to get money from brands to be able to reach all of their followers.
Google+ on the other hand is growing steadily and our customers see up to 90% more engagement on Google+ compared to Facebook. Google+ is based around people’s interests and if you create a great page with great content you will grow quickly. There is also added benefit if you are a local business and have a G+ page. You will actually show up in local search results with a nice banner on the right hand side search results, and people can also leave reviews which will lead to greater online visibility over time. Anyone that wants to be found on Google they should definitely have a G+ page set up correctly.
The best advice for DIY social media is to learn how to use software and posting tools and to focus on just a few networks to get started. I would say to start with Twitter & Facebook since those tend to be the most used and easiest to learn for most people.
These are the 3 tools that are needed to get started:
These tools are all affordable and should cost less than $50 per month. The next step is to decide what kind of content you will send out to your followers and plan ahead and schedule your content for at least one month at a time. Without scheduling planning, you will eventually fall behind and your pages won’t stay active. By learning how to use these tools correctly they can help you as much as having 2 full-time employees.
I think if you can find a professional that really understands your business and goals and willing to work with you every step of the way you can’t really go wrong. Whenever we sign up a new customer to one of our plans we always provide training and support to make sure that they have a clear understanding of what’s really happening and also make sure they understand our reports so that they can see the true value behind having an agency take over. We act as an extension of your team and work together to reach the ultimate goal in mind.
Be very cautious of the so-called “Social Media Experts” out there that have no real business or sales experience. Social Media is about people and being social and if the person you hire can’t communicate with someone it doesn’t really matter how much they know about the different social media networks. Anyone can set up a page, but not everyone can get the attention of the masses.