You’ve done some research and have decided on 3 or so outposts (see Friday’s post for more on outposts). There may be some confusion about the value of having outposts. Luckily Chris Brogan recently wrote a great post on how outposts improve your ecosystem. What I want to focus on today is some examples of how you can use your outposts – I think seeing a few examples may help clarify what a good outpost is and how you can use it.
Example Outpost 1 – Twitter
I use Twitter fairly heavily as an outpost – to post links to my own content and events, but also to provide useful information (in the form of links to articles) and most importantly, to network and communicate. I’ve met a lot of great people through Twitter – many of whom I’ve then met in person (or vice versa). By having an initial connection online, we were able to have a more productive conversation in person and then were able to keep up the networking back online.
I’ve also been able to use Twitter for branding. People see what I post and appreciate it and then will look me up to ask me questions. I’ve been able to close business due to my Twitter account and I feel it’s one of my most valuable outposts.
Example Outpost 2 – Comments
While not necessarily a single place, leaving comments on other blogs has helped me form stronger connections with other professionals in the industry (both the bloggers and the readers). I also get quite a bit of traffic from the blogs (and the specific posts) where I leave comments. People see an interesting comment and then click my website to learn more – obviously it’s important to leave thoughtful comments – more than just “I agree!”.
Example Outpost 3 – Facebook
I have both a personal profile and a company fan page. My blog posts are linked to in both places, but I also try to share and post information and links on my fan page that I think might be helpful to my readers. I also try to connect with people I’ve met in person or in other places online through my personal account (although I do keep them in a “business networking” group with it’s own privacy settings). I’ve found that many people read my blog posts through Facebook because that’s where they go to catchup with what’s going on with family, friends and colleagues. And oftentimes something will be shared to other people’s profiles, giving your content even more audience.
It’s Up to You
How you use your outposts is up to you. What makes sense will depend on your own company and industry and the type of content you have. It’ll also depend on your own comfort level with sharing and connecting and how you understand each outposts privacy rules (I have a lot of clients concerned with personal vs. professional content on social networks where these mix.) Hopefully seeing a few examples has given you some ideas about how you might be able to use your own outposts in your strategy.
Next up, we’ll talk a bit about content.
How do you use your outposts? Or how do you see yourself using an outpost?
(photo by respres @ Flickr CC)