This article is meant to be a basic social networking tutorial for anyone wishing to learn how to set up and manage a social network of their own.

Social Media Optimization is the effective use of online social networking sites such as twitter and facebook to drive traffic and/or awareness to your brand, business, product or service. Social networking can help you make business contacts, promote your product or service, keep you up-to-date on the latest happenings related to anything that interests you and so much more.

Be prepared to spend some time with your network. As with most things in life, the harder you work at growing and maintaining your network, the more you will get out of it.

Things You Will Need

To get the most out of this guide you'll need a computer, a connection to the internet and an established business that you are ready to promote. Be ready to jot down some passwords and usernames; have a pen and a pad or a wordpad file open on your computer.

I also recommend freeing up several days to create and build your social network.

Step 1

Sign up for Twitter Sign up for Twitter. Your username will be the URL for your twitter profile. If you choose JohnSmith as your username your twitter URL will be

You'll want your username to be your business name. If your business name is taken (tonyspizza for instance), instead use a good keyword that will help search engines find your twitter profile. If you run a pizza joint try pizza or pizzadelivery or NJsbestpizza. Though your twitter username isn't pivotal to your success, it is important so be sure to spend some time thinking of the perfect name.

(If you need help coming up with a username, try this keyword tool. Simply enter a keyword related to your business and click "Hit Me". This tool will bring up a list of the most commonly searched keywords. The higher the number the better the keyword. Sift through to find a good one and see if it's available.)

After your account is set up click on "settings" in the menu bar at top right corner of the screen. Make sure all the fields in the "account" section are filled out. Pay special attention to the "One Line Bio". You'll want to write a sentence or two about you including keywords that are relevant to your business. When people search for new people to follow, this one line bio will make or break your chances at appearing in their search. If you run a pizza place you might write something like "Making real New Jersey pizza is my life. I have the best sauce recipe around. I love snowboarding and video games."

Now, anyone searching for any combination of these words on twitter (pizza, sauce, recipe, snowboarding, New Jersey) will find this profile.

Also, be sure to jot down the user name/email address and password associated with the account somewhere so you don't forget it.

Step 1 complete!

Step 2

Sign up for Facebook Sign up for Facebook. *IMPORTANT* when signing up for Facebook, do not use a generic email address such as or Use an email address with a name such as Generic names are often rejected.

Also, be sure to jot down the user name/email address and password associated with the account somewhere so you don't forget it.

Facebook will take you through a setup process. When you're done, go to the email account you used to set up your account, find the email from Facebook, open the email and click on the link to confirm your account.

Click edit my profile. Under the "info" tab fill in any and all info that applies to you in the Basic info, personal info, contact info and education and work categories. Next, under the Photo tab add a few photos of yourself, your family and anything that is important to you. And select a picture as your profile picture. This is the photo that people will see when they look at your wall and when you post status updates.

People in your social network don't want to be friends with a company, they don't want to see a company, they want to see the real you. So be real. Don't use your company logo as your picture.

Step 3

Zannel Sign up for Zannel. On it's own, Zannel may be the least important of any networking tool. However, link Zannel to your facebook and twitter accounts and it instantly becomes your network's main hub. Want to make a post, but dread the thought of copying and pasting it over and over? Just type what you want into zannel and it will update your entire network.

You can also link Zannel to Flickr and youtube.

Here's how you hook it up:
After you've completed the registration process, click on "my connections" toward the right of the screen. Click on Twitter and follow the instructions to link your account. Then click on facebook and let it guide you through the set up process once again.

You're all set. Now, any post you make on Zannel will automatically post to your wall on facebook and on twitter.

Step 4

Good Content Make as many accounts on the various social networking sites listed here as you need. Odds are, you'll only need one per business.

The next thing you need to know about is writing content. Let me start by saying that no one wants to follow you on twitter or add you as a friend on facebook so they can read your advertisements. If your plan is to tweet "Buy from me! 10% off today only!" and variations of that on a daily basis, you may as well through in the towel right now. As the name suggests, social networking is about being SOCIAL and building relationships. Talk to people on twitter and facebook. Offer helpful advice, links to interesting articles or videos that relate to your business. Some people have found moderate success in doing contests, but don't give gimmicks the spotlight.

Going back to the pizza shop owner: you might tweet pictures of your daily specialty pizza at around noon. Don't throw a call to action in. Just say something like "I burned my hand... but it was worth it!" The image will be enough to let your followers know what you do. When you socialize with them, and get to know them they'll want to give you their business.

Just figure on adding social networking to your daily routine. Keep a smart phone like an iPhone or Droid handy so you can easily take pictures and tweet them right then and there. I recommend the simplytweet app for iPhone users.

One last important aspect to SMO is to check your facebook, twitter and zannel pages regularly for direct messages and such. Take some time getting to know the sites and before you know it, you'll actually be having fun!
SMO is the way of the present. Take a little bit of time each day to update and seek out new followers/ friends and in time, you will see results. Just remember to keep the content social and lighthearted. Don't spam the web with advertisements.

Also, consider seeking out other social networking sites such as myspace, youtube and flickr.
Be consistent and respectful and you'll succeed.

Tips & Warnings

As with anything, there are always more advanced methods and techniques to SMO. Look for more social networking guides on the web to learn more. If you're still totally overwhelmed by creating and/or maintaining your social network, contact me to discuss our social networking services.