Hacking a Social Media Presence 101

I wrote this for my bro a while ago when he was figuring how to get more visibility online. Thought it might be useful to repost this to my blog. This is more applicable for an individual as opposed to a company.

Define Objectives

You have to figure out what you want to achieve online. It could be any of the following:

  1. Increase sales through marketing
  2. Create dialogue with customers
  3. Increase brand/person exposure and awareness
  4. Reach out to like minded people for collaboration
  5. Could be all of the above!

Who’s the target audience you’re trying to reach

  1. Create a user archetype. This is an assumption you need to verify later on (e.g., 20 – 30 something marketing professionals). Have it in your mind, bonus points if you write it down and stick it on the wall. I find the act of writing something helps to clarify my thoughts.
  2. Use blog aggregators like Technorati to search for bloggers talking about your area of interest. Bookmark them, set up an RSS feed and start joining the conversation. Ask yourself: Does the archetype still hold? Are there more than 1 archetypes?
  3. What topics are interesting to them? What can you say or write about that is valuable to them?
  4. Look for relevant Twitter hashtags and tweets.
  5. Does a subreddit exist for your area of interest?

Keyword Research

  1. What keywords are relevant? Another way of looking at this question is: what should your users type into Google such that your blog/content shows up?
    1. Make a top 5 list
      1. Be specific. So don’t use terms like ‘make money’ but ‘make money from running a small office home office selling headphones’
    2. Set up Google alerts for these keywords http://www.google.com/alerts
      1. This helps you establish the sites/people who so that you can follow them
    3. Use Google Adwords Keyword Tool to see relevant keywords https://adwords.google.co.uk/select/KeywordToolExternal
      1. There are tons of keyword research tools out there but I find Google KW tools to be the best
  2. Who are currently ranking for these keywords on SERPS? If possible engage in dialogue with them through leaving comments on their blogs
    1. Note that you will get different results depending on which search engine you use (Bing, Yahoo) and also the country you are accessing the information from (www.google.com vs http://www.google.co.uk)
  3. Use Google Insights and Google autocomplete/autosuggest for additional datapoints of interest
  4. Are people using the same terms on other social media sites like Twitter?


  1. Blog
    1. Services such as WordPress/Blogger. This is super important and the most basic and low hanging fruit you can do to get things going.
    2. It’s probably tempting to get a blog on tumblr but I recall having a hard time integrating a comment plugin like disqus into it. So go with wordpress if you can help it (unless your target audience consists of young/creative/hipster people which tumblr seems to be full of)
  2. Twitter
    1. Search and follow the people you have identified in Step 3 and other relevant personalities you know of. http://wefollow.com/ is a helpful site to find such people
  3. LinkedIn
    1. Update profile to include keywords identified in Step 3
  4. Quora
    1. Follow topics and answer questions in your area of interest
  5. Slideshare
    1. Upload presentations and include links to your blog, Twitter, Linkedin accounts
  6. Industry specific channels
    1. Every industry has its own eco system of websites and such. Participating in the conversations occurring on those sites are important
    2. E.g., Flickr for photography enthusiasts, Vimeo for video buffs, Mendeley for academics


  1. Consistency is key. This is a long term investment so don’t be discouraged if you don’t see results immediately. Try to push out a blog post at least once a week. Everyday if you can help it
  2. Description, profile image and contact details of yourself should be consistent on all channels
  3. Prepare a short 2 liner description about who you are and what you do. Throw this in your Twitter profile, Facebook about me, LinkedIn bio etc you get the picture
  4. From the keywords you have identified above, use them consistently in writing/uploading content on your social media channels. Also remember who you are writing for as identified in Step 2.

Secret Sauce

The currency of the internet these days is authenticity. Don’t fake it!!. If you have good content and you’re a domain expert in your respective field, it’s as simple as putting your thoughts on a blog and having a conversation with like minded people. In today’s noisy internet, good quality information is hard to come by so if you have something to share that people will find valuable, they will find a way to your content! This takes time to build up so again, persist!

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