This is the first part of a seven part mini-series looking at how and why to turn your blog into a social media hub. You’ll be able to find the complete series here.
Social media. It’s all the rage. Pepsi is pinning its Super Bowl hopes on it. Ford’s social media strategy, led by Scott Monty, helped regain trust (and profits) after the Detroit Big Three Meltdown last year. Barack Obama used it wisely to help his overall campaign in winning the White House race. Marketers are allocating more of their budgets to social media marketing and advertising in 2010.
So, yeah – social media is a pretty big thing. But it can also be a pretty fractured thing as well.
New platforms spring up, old ones wither and die, some are more beneficial than others and some will just take up valuable time and waste it. And it doesn’t matter if you’re using social media personally or professionally, time is a luxury very few of us can afford to be lenient with.
This is where having a single point social media hub comes into play (or at the very least, a single collection point for all the passengers that are your social outposts).
Instead of being fractured, you concentrate your efforts where they’ll have most impact. You also make it easier for people to connect and interact with you (which, from a business point of view, is the relationship to the sale). And for personal users, these interactions open you up to whatever future possibilities you may already be planning (career, business idea, non-profit support, etc).
And the best place for your social media hub? Your own blog.
The Blog is the Hub
Why your blog? Simple (and I’m talking mainly from a self-hosted option here – free is fine but self-hosted is your complete control) – the only limitations to what your hub contains are your needs and outreach goals.
You define the role your blog will play in your social outreach as well as your social incoming – and that’s the key word here. You.
A lot of people use Facebook as their social media hub, and it’s a great platform for doing this. But it’s a third-party solution, so you’ll always be bound by their terms and conditions. All you’re doing is renting space and abiding by a landlord’s rule. But your blog – especially a self-hosted one – is your rulebook. For this alone, it’s the ideal platform to create a social media hub.
But there’s a lot more to your blog acting as your hub than not giving over control to third parties. By using your blog as your home-base and connecting the dots to your social outposts, you’re essentially making yourself both resource and resource centre.
Yes, Twitter initiates great connections and is ideal for short-burst infomercials. Facebook is perfect for offering a neutral ground on connecting only with those you want to connect with. Viddler and blip.tv are both great platforms for finding and sharing more than just text. LinkedIn is the portal that holds many a key to your business goals.
But every single one is a separate entity from each other. Not all the connections on one will be connected on the others. See the potential time suck for keeping up with every account, while doing your day job too? There is one common denominator though – you. You’re the filling on the sandwich; the bus driver to the destination; the glue that holds everything together.
Turning this glue to your blog makes it – and therefore, you – sticky. The reason kids like connect the dot books is that there’s a defined path, a clear goal and direction. Taking the pain out of finding you, what you do and where you do it is the adult equivalent of connect the dot books. Your blog-led social media hub is the perfect dot connector.
Defining the Hub Spokes
A good hub is only as strong as its spokes. Where it feeds to; how it feeds inward; who the spokes talk to and who speak via the spokes. To make your hub effective, you need to showcase its – your – strengths and build on them. You need to have a clear, defined path, how you’re going to travel it and what’s going to make the journey easier (both for you and fellow travelers).
To define your hub, you need to ask some questions:
- Where will my focus be?
- What is my goal?
- What are my measurement points?
- Where can I outsource to outposts and where should I build at home?
These are just some of the questions that will define what kind of hub you have and where the hub leads to (and leads back from). Answering these (and ones that will come organically because of them) will start to define you within your hub. And that’s where the real fun and success begins.
Takeaway: Look at where you currently have a presence online. Social networks; forums; community sites like Ning; video or podcasting sites. Do a mini audit and see which ones are strong and which need work. Ask yourself if the weaker ones are worth continuing or if you can sacrifice them to take the others and use as building blocks to make a solid social media hub with. Tomorrow we’ll look at putting these blocks in the holes. To make sure you receive the latest from 7 Days to Turn Your Blog Into a Social Media Hub, feel free to either subscribe by RSS feed or email subscription.