social_100_borderNot exploring how to leverage social networks for marketing?  You better get started.  Social sites like Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter already have proven their worth as independent marketing channels; not to mention their strong synergies with email marketing (ask us about Real Magnet’s Share With Your Network capabilities).

If you’re not on board yet, you’re not alone.  So we’ve asked Mike May, Real Magnet’s Director of Insights, to provide his top 10 tips for launching and maintaining your social presence.  Today we post the first 5.  Check back soon for the remaining 5:

Make a metrics-based commitment to Social.
Facebook announced recently that they now have 250 million members worldwide. LinkedIn boasts over 40 million professional contacts. And analysts estimate that as many as 10 million people are using Twitter. So not only are your attendees on social networks; they are very well connected within communities characterized by conversation, personal context and the sharing of ideas. Each person on social networks you reach can help you amplify your message to dozens or even hundreds of additional people.

Socialize yourself.
If your objective is to understand how people use social networks and to create something that people will share or follow or join, you have to be on them yourself. Not to the point of needing an intervention, but you do need some channel fluency.

Invest in a voice.
Social channels are still largely personal. The deep interactions there are authentic, based on genuine connections between people. For your messages to be included, shared and heard, it’s no longer enough that they sound like they are coming from a person. They have to come from an interesting person. Even better, that person should be connected to your message. For example, try sending overviews and promotional offers from your CEO or Executive Director.

Identify your Power-Sharers.
Seth Godin calls them “Sneezers.” They’ve also been deemed Influentials, Social Influencers and a number of monikers that connote their viral nature. The right integration of your email and social tools will allow you to identify who from your list is most likely to share content, and also whose shared content is read the most frequently. You may learn that Sophie shares everything, which looks good on paper. But further analysis shows that the stuff she shares doesn’t generate much additional audience. Maybe she shares too much, or has a smaller circle. Larry only shares as quarter as often as Sophie. But Larry knows everybody, and the items he shares are read by dozens, even hundreds of additional people, making him a far more valuable Power-Sharer than Sophie. Dig deeply enough to find your loudest amplifiers then craft even more powerful, share-worthy content expressly for them.

Your best Power-Sharers may come from within.
When most organizations begin building out a social presence, it usually consists of an official Facebook page that their customers can “Fan”, a corporate Twitter account and maybe a LinkedIn group. But organizations are not social. People are social. Treat your employees like a subset of Power-Sharers themselves, and create content expressly for them to share in a way that’s authentic and transparent.