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Tying Your Social Media Together

You've started experimenting with social media. You're listening, you're networking, you're even writing a blog... now what? It's time to tie all your social media efforts together to get the most out of the content you are creating and sharing. While the different sites are updated individually with different goals in mind, they should work together to promote your business. First, analyze what is working for you and what is not. Do you have commercials for your bail company? Having a YouTube channel makes sense, then. Do most of your clients have MySpace pages instead of Facebook pages? Focus more on your MySpace page than your Facebook page. Most importantly, use your various networks to promote quality content and information you have created. What does this mean?

As you have probably noticed, different social networks are used for different things. A blog lets you write longer articles to disseminate information. Facebook, MySpace and LinkedIn all allow you connect with people. Twitter allows you to listen to conversations effectively and communicate with people you otherwise couldn't. Use the strengths of each of these networks to promote your company by promoting information. Chances are while some of your social networks may overlap, you have friends and followers on some sites that don't follow you on others - make sure you're sharing your content with everyone! Find the strengths of each social site and use those to effectively reach out to your online circle.

Say, for example, you write a great blog post about what to expect when someone you love gets arrested. How is anyone going to find this post? Send out a tweet with a link to the post. If people think it is interesting, they might retweet it as well, expanding your viewership. Share it on Facebook or create a MySpace bulletin about it. If someone on Facebook likes it, they can share it on their wall, letting their friends see it as well. Post it to the Yahoo! Group and ask for comments. You can also use sites like Digg, StumbleUpon, and Yahoo! Buzz to let other people know about what you wrote. Digg and Yahoo! Buzz, along with Reddit, allow you to put a stamp of approval on an article you read. The more people who put this virtual stamp on an article, the more likely it is other people will read it.

Take advantage of the network you are following as well. In the first part of the social media series we talked about the importance of listening - that hasn't gone away! Use Twitter search to find out what people are talking about regarding bail or jail or related topics. Maybe you'll notice certain topics or questions that come up more often than you'd expect. Also, don't be afraid to ask people what they want to know! You may be amazed at the questions you receive that you never thought needed to be answered. Use that information and write a blog post about it, or even take the time to make a vlog, or a video log, which can then be posted on YouTube and embedded in a blog post and shared on your various social networks.

A third way to use your social networks more effectively is to find people to collaborate with to create information. Find a defense attorney or judge to interview about the legal justice system. Co-author an article on pretrial intervention with a bail agent that lives on the other side of the country. Double your exposure by tapping into both people's social media networks to promote this content and, in return, promote your business. You can also use your social media network to find other people who will publish your content - maybe a legal professional organization could republish something you wrote in their newsletter.

The most important things to remember with social media is to be patient while you build your network, produce quality content that is of value to your networks and find what works best for you. While it may take time to build credibility online, the more you participate in and contribute to social networking the bigger and better your network will be. Don't be afraid to try new things and be creative with how you use these new online communities. There are no rules, and the better you can establish yourself as a knowledgable professional in your industry, the better positioned your company will be.

Check out the rest of the social media series:
What is Social Media, and Why Do I Need It? (Part 1)
FaceSpace? MyLinkedIn? (Part 2)
To Blog or Not to Blog? (Part 3)

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