25 Ways to Create Your Social Media Footprint Today

My primary goal with this site, speaking as a small business owner (not a consultant nor an ‘expert’) who actually uses social media, is to try and make the transition easier for other business owners out there who would like to use the (mostly free) online tools that allow you to promote you, your brand, and your service or product.

A reader recently emailed and said that they still have NO IDEA where to begin with all of this social media ‘stuff’.

The following is my simple response. It is not meant to be a thesis extolling the virtues of social media or a “be all end all” list. But it is meant to be a starting point for the rookie Do-It-Yourselfer and to get people thinking and talking. Please add more suggestions in the comment section.

  1. Think about and list out your social media goals.
  2. Create a Flickr account and upload some photos.
  3. Start a blog (use WordPress or Blogger they’re free)
  4. If you have a video camera (you can get a FLIP for $100) shoot some vids and upload them to YouTube or Vimeo. Make sure you tag and describe them properly.
  5. Visit and participate in forums that cover your niche.
  6. Leverage the power of FaceBook.
  7. Develop your LinkedIn Profile
  8. Research key words for your business (Seo Book has a nice tool for this)
  9. Help someone who has even less social media skills than you (remember it’s all about Karma!).
  10. Comment on some blogs.
  11. Engage and interact with your customers and competition online.
  12. Write a guest post or two.
  13. Email some people with similar interests to say ‘hi’ and to open the door for possible collaboration.
  14. Compose an incredibly useful and freely downloadable e-Book or publish your manifesto.
  15. Create profiles on StumbleUpon, DIGG, Reddit, and other SM platforms.
  16. Start reading a lot of blogs. (I know, technically this does not create a discernable footprint, but it gets you in the habit of searching for relevant information…which could lead to comment, which then leads to a footprint. :-))
  17. Search newspapers for articles on your niche and leave comments (I still can’t believe how much traffic we get from one NY Times article where I left a comment.)
  18. Email your friends and let them know your social media profiles
  19. Add your web URL to your email signature.
  20. Join Help-A-Reporter and reply to some inquiries.
  21. Setup your ‘listening strategy’ with Google Alerts for your keywords and use Twitter search.
  22. Draft a press release about your small business and submit it to a free service like PitchEngine.
  23. Create a Squiddo page.
  24. Brainstorm and come up with at least 25 blog post ideas (focus on headlines) that you can create full posts from later.
  25. Join Twitter – listen, learn, and engage in the conversation.

Even though it’s not mentioned in the actual post, the key message to be drawn from the above list is, “today.” Don’t wait until tomorrow, or until cash flow problems arise because of the economy. Get started with your social media efforts TODAY!

(Note: If you like what you see sign up for the RSS Feed or continue the discussion on Twitter @mark_hayward.)

image source: jpverkamp

62 thoughts on “25 Ways to Create Your Social Media Footprint Today

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  2. Easton Ellsworth

    Me likes, Mark!

    I like how you started off at #1 with goals. I harp all the time about vision and strategy and not running without first putting your running shoes on.

    Another one I find intriguing – #6, leverage the power of Facebook. There really is amazing power to leverage there that most of us haven’t tapped into yet.

  3. Ricardo Bueno

    Like Shama said, definitely keep #24 in mind for your blog’s pre-launch. In other words have some content thought out before you go and publish a blog. The more content, the better. This way, it’s dressed appropriately for the world to see and you give people more to come back to. Make sense?

    You’re new site launch will have more of an impact this way.

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  5. Lisa McClatchy

    This is an excellent list! I will be sharing this with my mother, as she is having trouble understanding how to use social media. This will be a great action plan for her to leave her footprint (and me, too!)- thanks so much for this article!

  6. Jlynn

    As a newbie to the blogging world, I find this information fascinating. While I know that I have heard certain terms and websites mentioned, I honestly had very little knowledge of how useful they can be. Your blog has been very helpful and greatly appreciated! Thank you!

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  8. Phil Velez

    Wonderful listing for the creation of a powerful social media footprint. I am in the process of creating mine and learned a great deal from your post. It is all about karma so I look forward to assisting “newer” social media managers and learning more from seasoned ones like yourself.

    All the best always,
    Phil Velez

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  17. Sign up Bonuses

    Those were some really good tips. I never thought about leaving comments at Newspaper websites. I’m going to bookmark this page and try to knock out all the tips recommended in your article.

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  21. DivinaComms

    This is an insanely useful post! I work with small business owners and this is possibly the best aggregated list to explain to them the wonderful ways to use social media.

    Thanks for taking the time to write it out. I’m off to figure out how I can best share this!

    Victoria

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  23. Sharon Hurley Hall

    Great tips, simply expressed – anyone following this advice will boost social media presence. Do you recommend Squidoo over Hubpages or similar sites? Any particular reason why?

  24. ItsDorothy

    For someone still researching, this post was so good I printed it out in order to keep it in hand to follow. All this may be simple to you, but is’t Greek to some of us. Thanks for great help.

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  26. Dave Richardson

    Hi Mark, thanks for the ideas. This strikes me as being very time consuming, if you wish to do a good job on each activity. Can you give us a clue about how you decided how much time to invest in each of the items listed? Or, do you have an order of priority to which you take your social media?

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  28. Mark

    Hi Dave – Where to divide your time? That is the million dollar question! :-) I’ll put a post together for next week that answers your query specifically. The short version, for me, I used a lot of trial and error based on my various social media goals.

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  33. Fran Civile

    Thank you Mark! You’ve put a great list together… Like Dave
    Richardson and many other readers I’m sure, I got hit with the
    question of time… how much time is left in your life for
    for just living a good life?

    My answer to self is ‘just do it Fran’ and I’m looking forward to the post you’re putting together about that Mark…

    Thanks!

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  35. Mac

    Hi Mark,
    As Dave Richardson pointed out it does seem to be a time consuming process. I suppose the key questions here are: Is there any way of automating some of these tasks? and if so where is the best place to look for the software(s) required? and finally if automation is possible are we running the risk of spamming?

    Regards,

    Mac.

  36. Mac

    Well I don’t know if I can help directly but have you thought about er..’borrowing’ from utube and editing several small clips together? A few frame here and there to produce something related to your topic perhaps? If this is a bad idea I apologise.

    Mac

  37. Mark

    Hi Mac – I don’t really think the process can be automated. Sure, you can use an application to publish your blog posts to Twitter & Facebook but someone still has to do the hard work.

    Try sending a Tweet and include the words “web + hosting” and have a look at the automated replies you get back. Does that make you want to do business with them.

    I think outsourcing might be a better option.

  38. Mark

    Marketing Mud – that’s easy! I just looked at your website and under your ‘Meet Us’ tab you have seven people pictured. They all have stories. Start there.

    Too – how about a video on how you came up with your unique name. :-)

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  43. Sean Murphy

    Hey Mark,

    What’s your take on PitchEngine? I’m thinking about submitting our next press release (announcing private beta on Vidli) with it. Any best practices or tips for a first timer?

    And check this out. You might want to add this to #15. It’s solid. OnlyWire.com

  44. Mark

    Hi Sean – Pitch Engine (or other site) is a great idea for your press release. Just make sure you optimize for the web, such as, keywords, etc.

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  50. Olumide

    Hi. very helpful. I just created my first blog with the sole purpose of promoting enterpreneurship and encourage online collaboration and I have been thinking oof how to drive traffic and raise local awareness on my blog. Albeit I have read your write-up, I am still open to ideas on how to promote my blog

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