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 Responses to 25 Ways to Create Your Social Media Footprint Today

  1. [...] FREE awareness!   Get yours FREE or DISCOUNTED for helping spread awareness! Digg:  Digg the GF 25 Ways to Create Your Social Media Footprint Today – mark-hayward.com 02/19/2009 My primary goal with this site, speaking as a small business owner [...]

  2. 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. Shama Hyder says:

    Love it! Social Media Footprint- very nicely coined :)

    #24 is especially a great point.

  4. 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.

  5. [...] Internet is a funny place where New York and Culebra are just as close to Vantaa as are Jyväskylä or [...]

  6. 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!

  7. Jlynn says:

    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!

  8. Kim Randall says:

    Great information. Thank you!

  9. [...] 9. Grow Your Social Footprint:  Participate in other social media sites and networks (e.g., Del.icio.us, Twitter, Facebook, Bebo, etc.) and include a link to your blog in each of the profiles. Mark Hayward has 25 great tips. [...]

  10. Great article! A good answer to some of my friends’ question over the last few months. Thanks.

  11. Phil Velez says:

    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

  12. [...] However, after sticking it out passed the learning curve, picking up a couple of followers, and following really intelligent people, thanks to Twitter, I get to make connections and learn something new every day. In fact, at this point I feel like Twitter is a tool that all small business owners should use as part of their overall efforts to build a distributed social media footprint. [...]

  13. [...] with a description of the tools, work with us to devise a plan for how to go about creating a social media footprint. If it’s not going go happen overnight, be honest and let us know about the fact that it can take [...]

  14. [...] However, after sticking it out passed the learning curve, picking up a couple of followers, and following really intelligent people, thanks to Twitter, I get to make connections and learn something new every day. In fact, at this point I feel like Twitter is a tool that all small business owners should use as part of their overall efforts to build a distributed social media footprint. [...]

  15. [...] This post was Twitted by clinegroup [...]

  16. [...] Today I thought that I would build upon the Twitip post and broaden the scope to include more of the social web. Here are my suggestions for you as you work to build your social media footprint: [...]

  17. [...] that all small business owners should use as part of their overall efforts to build a distributed social media footprint. This is also the reason we are including Twitter in our clients’ [...]

  18. [...] with this new knowledge I decided to take a different approach and move beyond my blog and create a social media footprint for my [...]

  19. [...] with this new knowledge I decided to take a different approach and move beyond my blog and create a social media footprint for my [...]

  20. 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.

  21. [...] good list of starting points to get you heading down the right path can be found in this blog post by Mark [...]

  22. [...] with this new knowledge I decided to take a different approach and move beyond my blog and create a social media footprint for my [...]

  23. [...] good list of starting points to get you heading down the right path can be found in this blog post by Mark [...]

  24. DivinaComms says:

    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

  25. [...] Start with creating a profile, short bio, keywords, and avatar (a small thumbnail graphic) for use on the major social media platforms relevant to your industry. eg. Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, YouTube, MySpace, your own blog.  More on creating a social media footprint [...]

  26. 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?

  27. ItsDorothy says:

    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.

  28. [...] my number one goal has always been to create a distributed social media footprint with all of my online marketing activities pointing back towards my small business [...]

  29. 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?

  30. [...] my number one goal has always been to create a distributed social media footprint with all of my online marketing activities pointing back towards my small business [...]

  31. Mark says:

    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.

  32. [...] my number one goal has always been to create a distributed social media footprint with all of my online marketing activities pointing back towards my small business [...]

  33. [...] my number one goal has always been to create a distributed social media footprint with all of my online marketing activities pointing back towards my small business [...]

  34. [...] my number one goal has always been to create a distributed social media footprint with all of my online marketing activities pointing back towards my small business [...]

  35. [...] my number one goal has always been to create a distributed social media footprint with all of my online marketing activities pointing back towards my small business [...]

  36. Fran Civile says:

    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!

  37. Mark says:

    Thank you for your input, Fran. Now the pressure really is on me to get that post done! ;-)

  38. [...] my number one goal has always been to create a distributed social media footprint with all of my online marketing activities pointing back towards my small business [...]

  39. Mac says:

    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.

  40. Any tips or ideas for a video for a small marketing company?

  41. Mac says:

    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

  42. Mark says:

    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.

  43. Mark says:

    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. :-)

  44. [...] my number one goal has always been to create a distributed social media footprint with all of my online marketing activities pointing back towards my small business [...]

  45. [...] my number one goal has always been to create a distributed social media footprint with all of my online marketing activities pointing back towards my small business [...]

  46. [...] my number one goal has always been to create a distributed social media footprint with all of my online marketing activities pointing back towards my small business [...]

  47. [...] my number one goal has always been to create a distributed social media footprint with all of my online marketing activities pointing back towards my small business [...]

  48. Sean Murphy says:

    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

  49. Mark says:

    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.

  50. [...] I hadn’t updated my own small business blog in a couple of weeks. Not wanting to risk undoing the social media footprint work that I’ve undertaken, or slipping from the front page of Google for particular keywords (see [...]

  51. [...] my number one goal has always been to create a distributed social media footprint with all of my online marketing activities pointing back towards my small business [...]

  52. [...] question, when it comes to creating a social media footprint, I have to say that FLICKR is one of my favorite sites for increasing small business visibility on [...]

  53. [...] my number one goal has always been to create a distributed social media footprint with all of my online marketing activities pointing back towards my small business [...]

  54. [...] en: 25 Ways to Create Your Social Media Footprint Today de Mark [...]

  55. Olumide says:

    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

  56. [...] was having a discussion with a very intelligent business person yesterday and when I queried about social media they said that they wanted a [...]

  57. [...] Internet is a funny place where New York and Culebra are just as close to Vantaa as are Jyväskylä or [...]

  58. [...] it comes to blogging (and using social media) for business, or for a nonprofit, or even as an individual there’s this niggling and annoying [...]

  59. [...] “25 Ways to Create Your Social Media Footprint Today” Not sure what a social media footprint even is? Or are you engaged in social media but [...]

  60. [...] that all small business owners should use as part of their overall efforts to build a distributed social media footprint. This is also the reason we are including Twitter in our clients’ [...]

  61. [...] However, after sticking it out passed the learning curve, picking up a couple of followers, and following really intelligent people, thanks to Twitter, I get to make connections and learn something new every day. In fact, at this point I feel like Twitter is a tool that all small business owners should use as part of their overall efforts to build a distributed social media footprint. [...]

  62. [...] my number one goal has always been to create a distributed social media footprint with all of my online marketing activities pointing back towards my small business [...]