30 Minutes to Social Media

February 17, 2009

Posted in Marketing.

When I talk to clients about social media, I hear two common responses:

  1. I’m too busy.
  2. I have no clue what you’re talking about.

That’s fine. These aren’t social media experts. Heck, they usually aren’t even professional communicators. They’re folks who have to do marketing on top of their already busy jobs.

Introducing: 30 Minutes to Social Media

Here’s my 30 minute plan for dipping your toe into the social media space. You don’t have to understand it all, just bear with me: it will start to make sense.

Keywords (3 minutes)

List 10 key words or phrases that are relevant to your business or organization. Include your brand names, industry keywords, and anything an outsider might use to describe you. How about your domain name? Your top competitor?


At least half of any conversation should be listening, right? So let’s start with that.

Search Twitter (5 minutes)

Go through your keywords list and search for them in Twitter search.

Look through the results… are people talking about you? Are they talking about your competitors? Your industry in general?

Do you see anything that makes you want to respond? Is there an authoritative voice that you wish were advocating for you?

Search Blogs (10 minutes)

Now do the same exercise on Technorati and Google BlogSearch. You only have 10 minutes, so don’t spend too much time reading the articles. But you might consider bookmarking some of them to come back to later.


Let’s step into the conversation a bit. There are a lot of ways you could do this, but let’s go for a direct route.

Comment on those Blogs (7 minutes)

You just found a bunch of blog articles talking about your brand, or at least about what you do. Are there questions you could answer? Misconceptions you could clear up? How about an opportunity to provide excellent customer service – the kind that nobody had to call and ask for? Leave 2 helpful comments. You only have 7 minutes.

Twitter account? (0 minutes)

It might be tempting to jump right in to Twitter and start responding to people, but it takes time to do this right. Let’s pass for now. If you decide to take the next step, then keep this in your back pocket.

Measure (4 minutes)

Google Analytics

This isn’t a social media thing, but it’s a key part of being smart on the web. Let’s spend 5 minutes and fire off an email to your web person asking to have Google Analytics added to your site. It’s free. If you manage your own site, then hurry it up and go do this… We’re not stopping the timer just for you!

If you have a web analytics package, then use this time to log in and look at your referrals. Where are people coming from? Go visit those sites and see how they’re linking to you. In what context are they presenting your brand?


Oops, time’s up! This is where you make a choice: do you go back to your job and keep putting out fires, or do you carve out time to really participate? It’s an investment, and one that certainly takes time. How should you proceed? Well, there are no shortage of places to learn about social media:

Wait One Minute!

If you’re a complete geek and, like me, can’t help but keep a tally of the minutes to make sure they total up like they’re supposed to, then you’ve noticed that we have one minute left. Or less, since you just read that sentence. Let’s use our last minute to think about what we got from this little venture into the social web.

We didn’t go very far or spend that much time, but just from looking through Twitter and blogs (two particularly searchable and easy outlets) you can see there’s a conversation going on out there whether you like it or not. Hopefully, you’ve seen there’s a way you be a part of it and help shape the outcome.