Nov 012011
 
Social Media Experiment

Social Drivers is a social media experiment by me, Mindy Koch, about using social media to brand yourself online.

I am experimenting with social media (not SEO) strategies and tracking their results to determine which social media actions truly result in successfully building an online brand.  As I do this, I am providing step-by-step instructions along the way so you can follow along and test the results for yourself.

You will have complete transparency to everything I do. I will share my metrics with you.  Every social media strategy will be shared openly.  If I fail completely, you will know it!  If I succeed, you will know it and be able to reproduce it!  Every social media strategy or tactic that I try will be monitored and tracked for results and those results will be shared with you.

I want to be upfront about the fact that, yes, I am not well-known in the social media blogosphere, however, I am not new to online marketing or to building a brand online.  I am a local SEO online marketing consultant with my own consulting business.  I do have a modest social media foundation of a Twitter following of 3051 followers, a semi-active Facebook page with 582 friends, and a Facebook fanpage with far too little interactivity even though it has 579 fans.  I do truly hope this gives me a solid social media foundation to launch this blog.  It will be interesting to see how much this helps.

In general though, this blog is starting out like any other blog.  No subscribers.  Not written by a famous blogger.  No team of writers.  Just one person focused on creating a successful brand online using social media and doing it in my spare time.

Obviously, I have no idea if you have a Twitter or Facebook account.  I have no idea if you know how to install and use a WordPress blog.  I won’t be able to talk you through every step in detail because I will be focusing on the social media experiments.  For the basics that don’t involve the actual processes I am experimenting with, I will try to link to solid resources that you can use if you are unfamiliar with these procedures.  You will find the under the page “Resources”.

The main hub of the social media experiment is going to be this blog.  Can I launch this blog in 45 days in a significant way to build a brand online?  That truly is the goal.  Unless I have a blog to speak from, I am not creating content to share via social media. I am merely curating content created by other people.  While many people do this (and I have done this quite a bit in the past), I am quite convinced that to build a brand online, it is important to create your own content.  Hence, the necessity of the blog as the heart of my social media brand.

Launch day of the blog is November 1st, 2011.  It is 1:37 am on November first and I expect this post will be ready to publish later after I wake up and proofread it. At the time of publishing, it will be a solitary post in the vast sea of the Internet just as any other blog begins.  No one knows this is being launched.  I don’t have a team of people ready to help me launch it. I am starting from ground zero like you will be!

So, in just a few hours, this post will be published and the Social Media Experiment begins!

I will quickly summarize what I have done on “Day One” so you can follow along.

Social Media Experiment: Day One

Day one:  build the blog.  This is the the main hub of the social media branding experiment.

I strongly believe in using a self-hosted WordPress blog.  If you don’t know how to do that, there are many great tutorials and resources about how to set up a self-hosted blog on your own domain that you can find through Google or YouTube.  Actually, the instructions on WordPress are pretty darn good.

My day one was pretty easy.  I already owned the domain name and had a mostly empty blog on it.  I bought the name “Social-Drivers” in March of this year on a whim. It seemed like a good name at the time and it has been sitting in the back of my mind since then.  I put up a WordPress blog on this site a bit later and tried a few different social plugins.  I never did anything with the site as I knew that I hadn’t found my “passion” for the project yet.

So – for me – my first day consisted of:

  • Clarified the “passion” for my project.  What did I want to accomplish with this blog?
  • Removed plugins I wasn’t interested in using
  • Added a few plugins
  • Changed the theme

For you, day one would probably be a bit longer.

  • Get domain name
  • Get site hosted
  • Install WordPress blog

You also need to know the passion of your branding project.  What do you want to accomplish?  Also, will you be branding yourself by communicating to your buyers or will you be branding yourself as a voice in your industry?  For example, if you are using social media to brand yourself as a realtor, will you be writing to home buyers/home sellers on your blog or will you be writing to other realtors?

For this project, my goal is to explore social media and to brand myself as a voice of authority in social media marketing and branding.  I am not planning on using this blog to reach out to my future customers.  I have another blog for that and don’t want to mix audiences.  This is my blog to brand myself among my peers.

The plugins that I have installed and activated currently are:

  • Akismet
  • CommentLuv Premium*
  • Easy WP SEO*
  • Flickr Photo Post
  • Google Analytics for WordPress
  • JetPack
  • ManageWP Worker
  • TF Social Share
  • W3 Total Cache
  • WordPress Editorial Calendar
  • WordPress SEO
  • Yet Another Related Posts Plugin

*CommentLuv Premium and Easy WP SEO are both paid plugins.

The rest are free.  I am using W3 Total Cache in it’s default settings.  I set up WordPress SEO by Yoast according to the instructions at How to Setup and Configure the Yoast WordPress SEO Plugin

The theme I have chosen is Suffusion.  It is a free theme that I can customize easily.

Next is the first blog post.  Time to welcome my new readers (few that they may be on a first day of a blog) and to explain what this blog is about.

Which I have mostly done already so far with this first post.

I have Easy WP SEO turned on and the primary keyword I am writing for is “social media“.  The secondary term is social media experiment.  At the moment, the SEO score is 73.91% but I plan to have that number higher by the time this post is completed.

When I am done with the blog post and publish it, I will go to my Twitter and Facebook and other social media accounts and let my followers, fans, and friends know about my new blog.  I will ask them to please support my new blog.

Also, I will take advantage of CommentLuv and make 5 posts on other blogs with CommentLuv installed.

When you start your blog, you should do similarly.  Whenever possible, start with the network you currently have.  Hopefully, they will be supportive and will help to spread the word.

 Social Media Experiment: Plans

Just a heads up on a few of the different social media strategies I plan to use test during the social media experiment:

  • Being a guest blogger
  • Participating in twitter chats
  • Twitter updates
  • Facebook posts
  • A contest
  • Lots and lots of content on this blog
  • CommentLuv
  • Promoting my XeeMe profile
I am truly fascinated to measure which social media tactics create desirable results!
In order to follow along with the Social Media Experiment, PLEASE subscribe to the blog and connect with me via XeeMe/MindyKoch to connect with any other social media platforms you prefer.  Also, please share using the share buttons on this page.  I am very curious to measure the results from the share buttons on the blog!
Mindy Koch
Social Media Experiment Photo, “Blogging Readiness” by Cambodia4KidsOrg, used by Creative Commons License.

  13 Responses to “Social Media Experiment”

  1. Congratulations! Wonderful new blog full of great info.

  2. Hi Mindy, congrats on the start of your social media/blog marketing experiment! I wonder if you could also explain the benefits of XeeMe, or at least how it might differ from other similar tools (like FullyFollow?). Looking forward to following your progress and seeing the results. And thanks for the CommentLuv :)

  3. I’m going to enjoy your experiment! I thought about doing a blog for my social media quandaries because I have so many! I also have funny daily events about my life/work balance in general that I’d love to share with just peers. But then I’d have even less time in my day. So kudos to you!!

    • Good point about having even less time in the day!

      Interesting parallel you have in your blog post about “our homes” and “our social media” :D – very visual!

  4. Loving your blog so far – can’t wait to watch your experiment either ;D

  5. Very cool. I look forward to your updates….

  6. Definitely looking forward to your experiment! Very informative!

  7. Ooh … this is very cool. I will follow you now :) . Thanks for sharing.

  8. Social media has been one of the most effective way to market a blog or a specific post. The more people who are willing to share your links, the better results you’ll get. Being active and being friendly as well are two things that a person must do in order to be successful in their social media strategy.

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