Why schedule social media activity? Because it works.

Professional services brands need to be both credible and visible to be successful. Regular, well planned social media activity is one way to accomplish this. At least that’s what I tell my clients. In June, I decided to put my advice to the test.

Like my clients, I need to make the most of the time I spend building my reputation. Doing nothing is not an option, but neither is spending hours on Twitter.

What worked

Spending three hours per week  writing blog posts and connecting with others on Twitter and LinkedIn. This was just the right amount of time to balance client work and brand building.

Increasing social media engagement. It moved the search results for my name/location and company name from page three to page one. More blog content really does equal improved results.

Writing about and discussing relevant expertise. This attracted 14 more Twitter followers, 4 endorsements on LinkedIn and 20% more traffic to my website. Links to my blog posts doubled when I published them on my LinkedIn and Twitter accounts. Anecdotally, I’m told that I’m one of the few people who comments on her connections LinkedIn news/announcements. Isn’t the whole point of social media to be social?

Being polite. I thanked people for following me on Twitter, endorsed connections on LinkedIn and commented on discussions. I tried to give more than I received, which made me feel like I was doing something helpful. Social media is like any other networking activity – you have to be curious , gracious and generous to be influential.

What didn’t work

I’m not going to lie to you. Doing quality work for clients, administering a new business and promoting expertise is a lot for anyone to handle on her own. There were times when I looked at my Twitter feed or LinkedIn home page and thought “I’m really not into this today”. (No offence, amigos, it wasn’t you that was uninteresting, it was me.)

Increasing engagement with my site. Yes, the site received more traffic. But readers didn’t stay as long. What happened? I suspect that it’s because I haven’t included enough internal links in my articles or woven content together in a compelling narrative as of yet.

Trying to engage a passive audience. Some LinkedIn groups are not active or engaged. At least I could detect which posts and comments generated some interest.

Consistently finding quality content to comment on. “If you can’t say anything nice…..” I noticed a few legal marketing blog posts in June that I wholeheartedly disagreed with or that were downright bizarre. These blogs have huge audiences. Did I do the right thing by retracting my fingertips from the keyboard when tempted to comment? Probably. Did it help me tell potential clients that there’s a different (and better) way to go about things? No.

What’s next?

I’ll continue with the social media schedule, tweaking activities and taking advantage of opportunities as I go along. So far, the benefits have outweighed the reputational risks, and I’m having fun with it.

If you’re interested in creating your own schedule as part of your blog or website content strategy, or brand building strategy, get in touch. There are also some great resources  on line (of course), such as these from PR Daily and Strategy + Business.