Social Media in a Startup – Part I: Educate & Engage Yourself

by Derek on May 12, 2010 · View Comments

Let The Journey Begin

Let The Journey Begin

You’re in a startup and you’ve been delegated the responsibility of getting your company engaged in social media. You’re excited, enthusiastic, and ready to dig in but wonder, “Where should I begin?

My recommendation: spend time understanding the landscape as you dive in on a personal level…

Be Humble

I’ll keep this part simple – there are plenty of self-proclaimed social media gurus out there; don’t be one of them. Please.

Engage  & Build Your Personal Brand (If You Haven’t Already)

  • Facebook - There’s a good chance you already have an account here. Take a little time to update your profile, upload the pictures you’ve been meaning to share and take 5 minutes out of your day to interact with some of your friends – that’s the name of the game here.
  • Twitter – There’s a good chance you’ll hear a lot about Twitter, because there are a lot of people around you who have heard a lot about Twitter but haven’t quite figured out what to make of it. Create an account then, for a little background, check out The Twitter Book by Tim O’Reilly & Sarah Milstein and read a few of the case studies by Sarah Milstein.
  • RSS – Ever heard of Google Reader? If your answer wasn’t “Oh, I love Google Reader”, start getting more familiar with it and the little orange ‘subscribe’ icons you see all over the web. Google already knows everything else about you, why not add the list of things you read to it?
  • Blogging – If you’re feeling ambitious or inspired by all the great content you just subscribed to and are hankering for a little website building experience, feel free to dive right in. Buy a domain on GoDaddy, find hosting on Surpass (hat tip to Mike Boylan), install wordpress (using the auto-installer that comes with Surpass), choose a theme (start out with a free one that you like the look of) and start firing. Check out Chris Brogan’s’ Best Of‘ for some best practices. Warning: this will take time, but you’ll get better over time.
  • Events – If you’re in a big city, there’s a great chance that you have in-person events going on around you. Living through social media will help you build relationships with other smart people, but there’s nothing better than shaking hands, eating lunch and having great conversations with some nice people. And, trust me, the people are nice in this industry.

Listen To What The Smart People Have To Say

Books I’d recommend:

  • Groundswell by Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff. Very strategic. Very smart. The first review on Amazon says it all. It may be old in Social Media time, but it still carries some great lessons.
  • Inbound Marketing by Brian Halligan and Dharmesh Shah – measuring the outcome of your work is difficult, but will be one of the most important things you do (learn from my mistakes). This book is a quick read that may introduce you to some thing that are worth measuring on your way towards social media marketing.
  • Engage by Brian Solis – I’m actually in the middle of this book now, but I feel good about recommending it. It’s very, very tactical & educational so far (i.e. good for getting grounded). I’ll update this post when I find more good info on the topic.

Blogs focused on social media that you should subscribe to right now (go ahead, this post will still be here when you get back):

  • Chris Brogan – he’s a best selling author, and president of a new media marketing agency called New Marketing Labs. I’m not sure how he does it, but he published lots of great stuff all the time. Wait – I do know: he doesn’t sleep.
  • Amber Naslund – she’s the Director of Community for Radian6, a social media monitoring company, and she is just plain good at thinking out loud.
  • Jeremiah Owyang – formerly at Forrester Research, he’s now a partner at Altimeter Group, a strategy consulting team of brilliant folks sharing their research & thoughts in the spirit of Open Research. I’m grateful of the amazing stuff he produces.
  • Brian Solis – Looking for some reading material? Brian writes really long, really in-depth posts about all things social media. He’s also the author of one of the books I recommend above.

Have Fun

This material should get you off to a good start. Feel free to ping me with any questions along the way.

Oh, and congrats on being assigned one of the best roles in the company – not only is it fun (I still have a hard time thinking of it as work), it’s also one of the fastest growing marketing trends out there (read: you’ll find yourself having lots of conversations about it with everyone).

Coming soon – Part II: Let’s Talk Strategy & Part III: Roll Up Your Sleeves.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Previous post:

Next post: