by John Eberhard

1. Start an account on Facebook if you don’t already have one

2. Start an account on Twitter if you don’t already have one

3. Start an account on MySpace

4. Start an account on LinkedIn

5. Start an account on Ping.fm. Hook up all the accounts above to your Ping.fm account, so that whenever you post a status update to Ping.fm, it automatically goes out to all your accounts.

6. Work out some kind of strategy for adding lots of friends/followers on Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, LinkedIn, because if you don’t have a lot, your communications will not go out to anyone. My strategy has been to search for my personal friends first and add them, then start adding people who have at least 20 friends in common. Using this strategy I now have 3,400 Facebook friends and 3,600 Twitter followers. In order to use your social media accounts to promote a business, you should target to get thousands of friends/followers.

7. Put up a Facebook fan page if you don’t already have one. Promote this to your Facebook friends (but don’t keep asking people to become a fan of your page over and over).

8. Once you have some friends and followers, observe what other people do and what types of communication they put on Facebook, Twitter, etc. Get a feel for each site and what is acceptable.

9. Start posting some “status updates” yourself, via Ping.fm. You will need to develop a strategy of how to communicate about your business without being obnoxious. One thing I do which has worked well for me is to post status updates saying what I am working on at the time, such as “I am working on a new website for an aviation company,” or “I am setting up a new pay per click advertising account for a new client.” This establishes the fact and reminds people that I am a web designer and Internet marketing consultant. This has gotten me business.

10. You can occasionally do a status update telling people to come to your webinar or download your eBook or even buy your product. But don’t do it all the time. It gets really annoying. And I see some people do it, even some so-called “gurus” who should know better.

11. Also include status updates occasionally about personal stuff, such as your kids, your vacation, your dog. Post pictures or videos. Don’t make it all about your business.

12. Avoid one word, cryptic status updates that are basically a private joke between you and only a few other people. My theory is it’s basically trolling for people to respond “What do you mean…?” Some people specialize in this. You know who you are.

13. Start an account on Plaxo. And you can import all your Facebook friends that also have an account on Plaxo. Hook it up to Ping.fm.

14. Start an account on Plurk. Hook it up to Ping.fm.

15. Start an account on FriendFeed. Hook it up to Ping.fm.

16. Put up a WordPress or Typepad blog. Start posting something to it once a week or more. Your posts can be articles at 300-1,000 words, or can be short messages related to the topic of your blog. You can comment on something someone else put on another website or blog. You can link to a video, or embed the HTML code so the video appears right in your blog.

17. After each blog post go to www.pingomatic.com and send out a notification called a “ping” to all the blog search engines. Takes 1-2 minutes, and really drives traffic to the blog.

18. Put up multiple links to your main website in the sidebar of your blog.

19. Put up a free blog on free blogging sites like WordPress.com and Blogger.com.

20. Put up a free blog on Posterous.com. Then hook up all your other blogs to it so when you post something on Posterous, it goes out to all of them automatically. Saves time and increases your reach.

21. Use keywords in your blog posts, keywords that you want to rank for. Then link them in the blog posts back to your main website. A word or phrase linking to your website is what is called “anchor text,” and is considered the most valuable type of link.

22. When posting a status update on Twitter (a “tweet”), remember that people will use the search feature on Twitter to search for people who use certain words or phrases in their tweets. They will then follow those people. I notice I get a burst of people following me on Twitter whenever I include certain key phrases in tweets.

23. Take any articles you post to your blog, and also put up a page for them on Squidoo.com and HubPages.com. Squidoo lets you put multiple links to your site into the article whereas HubPages only allows one link.

24. Spend a small amount of time every day or every couple days adding new friends on Facebook and Twitter.

25. On Twitter, the strategy I use is to follow people who tweet with certain words or phrases that are related to the topic I’m working on. Then a certain number of them will follow me back. The idea behind this is that you will hopefully be following people who are possible prospects for your business.

26. Use software to follow people on Twitter who include your keywords in their tweets. TweetAdder and TweetSpinner are two possible options. Doing it manually takes too long. Also use one of these packages to remove people you’ve followed who don’t follow you back.

27. Spend a few minutes a day on Facebook reviewing the status updates of people on your friends list, and comment on things other people are saying. Not just business but personal stuff too.

28. Once you make a comment or click the “Like” button on someone else’s post on Facebook, you will now get emailed every time someone else comments on it or whatever. I set up a mail rule in my email software and dump all those emails into a folder, so they don’t clutter up my inbox, and I can review them when I have time (or not).

29. I also set up an email rule so that all emails from Twitter get dumped into a folder and don’t clutter up my inbox.

30. When you set up an account on MySpace, don’t put some bizarre, busy background behind your page so it is impossible to read what’s on the page. I think this is what killed MySpace, because it became too difficult to read people’s pages. Originality is great but don’t sacrifice readability.

31. When you get leads for your business, track where they come from so you know if your social media efforts are bearing fruit.

32. Once you have a Facebook fan page, hook your main blog up to it so every time you post something to the blog, it shows up on the fan page. That will make your Facebook page more active and appealing for fans.

33. There are two purposes of starting an account on social bookmarking sites like Delicious, Digg and StumbleUpon. One is to create an account and put in bookmarks to all your favorite sites, making it easy to find your favorite stuff. Another is to bookmark your own site and various pages on your site, your blog, your social media pages and so on, and each of those bookmarks will count as a link to those pages. This helps with search engine ranking and it can help people to find those pages as well.

34. Stay engaged. Once you start these accounts, you have to spend a little time regularly, communicating what you’re doing and responding to the communications of others. And adding more friends or followers. And reaping the rewards. I get regular business from my social media presence. You can too.