I find myself increasingly speaking on the topic of social media. I’m not a guru or an expert, by any means. I am just a practitioner who is learning through trial and error.
I am often asked how it all works together. People say, “Okay, I get the blog thing. I understand Facebook and Twitter—sort of. But how does it all work together?”
More than a year ago, I heard Chris Brogan lecture in New York on social media. He introduced the concept of a Simple Presence Framework. Several months later, Jon Dale, a consultant to our company, introduced us to a similar concept. He called it a Social Media Framework.
I want to share my version of that. I have borrowed concepts and terms from both—and others—but this is my particular recipe. I would encourage you to read their’s as well.
A good social media strategy has three components.
- A Homebase. This is a digital property you own and control. It is where your loyal fans gather. It can be as simple as a blog or as complex as a self-hosted community. Regardless, it is where you direct all internet traffic. Why? Because this is the place where you can best sell your ideas or products. You control the borders and determine who has access.
- Embassies. These are places you don’t own, but where you have a registered profile. In other words, you have a regular presence on someone else’s property. You engage in conversations with those who congregate there. Examples would include Facebook, Twitter, Linked In, or even other blogs you follow. You generally need a “Passport” (verified credentials) granted by the site owner to maintain residency or participate in conversations.
- Outposts. These are places you don’t own nor have a regular presence. Instead, you simply listen into conversations about you, your brand, your company, or topics that interest you. For example, I have search columns in HootSuite that monitor mentions of both my name and my company. I also have Google Alerts that monitor the same information wherever it may occur on the Web.
The bottom line is that all the social media tools available fit into one of these three buckets. If you are just involved in social media for the sake of entertainment, you may not need a homebase. But if you are serious about building a platform, that’s precisely where you need to start. From there you can set up embassies and outposts.