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A Super Simple 2-Word Social Media Strategy: Be Useful

At the second annual Inc. Women's Summit, social media buff Laura Fitton shed light on the simplest strategy you can use to build a more influential presence.
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Does social media really matter for your company? The answer is unequivocally: yes. 

At the second annual Inc. Women’s Summit, social media maven Laura Fitton took the stage Wednesday to shed a little light on how you can improve your social media. 

And while there's a lot of noise in the industry from social media "experts", Fitton's advice is worth noting. In addition to convincing thousands of executives--including Guy Kawasaki --on the business value of social media, Fitton co-authored Twitter for Dummies in 2010. Fitton also founded OneForty in 2009, a company specializing in social media tools for businesses that was acquired in 2011 by HubSpot, where Fitton is currently the inbound marketing evangelist. 

So what did this social media buff have to say? Fitton said all you need to know is a two-word social media strategy: Be useful. 

“No matter what platform you are talking about in terms of social media, the most important thing that you can do is put stuff of value out there,” said Fitton. “Who cares about being viral when you are being useful?”

Throughout her talk, Fitton focused on the three key steps to creating a positive and useful social media presence for your audience and customer base.

Find the right people.

Fitton stressed that for a company’s social media presence to be useful; it must be engaging the right group of people and potential customers. 

“It’s about building relationships. It’s about attracting the right kind of people for your business--the right kind of customers,” she said. “You no longer have to win the world you just have to win your niche.”

To do this, she said focus your marketing and advertising content to solve problems for the people you hope to connect with on social media. 

“You need to ask what is remarkable about your company and what you have to offer, and who that is remarkable to,” said Fitton. 

What about buying followers? “It is vain and stupid. Whoever it is, buy them a hot chocolate and give them a hug because they are just insecure,” she said. 

Be generous and listen.

“The ability to which you can provide value to others but also attention to others is going to determine how effective you are on these social platforms. This attention to others is how you build influence on social," she explained.

And that doesn't always translate into having a massive following. “It’s about adding something when you have something to add and learning from what you are hearing. It's about caring,” Fitton said. “Be generous. The more you are putting in the more you are going to get out.”

Pay attention to your following. 

After you have found the people you hope to reach on social media and hope to bring into the community of your company, Fitton said that you need to monitor your interactions with them and measure the impact of your interactions. 

“It doesn’t matter what tool you are using, you need to learn to dig into this stuff and find out which of the useful things you are putting out there are more useful than others,” said Fitton. 

She highlighted a handful of different tools out there on the market--HubSpot’s Social Inbox, Hootsuite and the new Twitter analytics tool--and shared how helpful these can be in determining the extent to which you are actually engaging your audience. They can shed light on all the re-linking, re-tweeting, favorites and likes in your social media community and how that translates to your business. 

“So figuring out what you think it useful, putting it out there, but then going back and measuring very carefully to see what is working and what isn’t,” said Fitton. “All of this stuff really is measurable but be sure you are measuring things that are actually material to your business’ bottom line--otherwise why?”

IMAGE: Joshua Blount/Flickr
Last updated: Sep 19, 2013

ABIGAIL TRACY

Abigail Tracy is a staff reporter for Inc. magazine. Previously, she worked for Seattle Metropolitan magazine and Chicago magazine.




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