Over the past year or two I have shared quite a lot of information of the continual evolution of marketing. Social media might have been mentioned somewhat infrequently; mostly I spoke of inbound marketing activities, branding, content and content management, reputation management and just about every other aspect of marketing. I’ve touched on social media from time to time, but today I thought I would take that conversation further. Social media marketing is part and parcel of a complete marketing strategy, and is the tactical aspect of sharing the content messaging, conversing with your prospects and customers and broadening your market reach through social networking channels.
In this article I want to touch on the three most popular social media platforms on which every business should be participating. As your experience and success grows, you can branch out to any of the 200 or more social platforms, but for now, begin with the big three. Let’s get started with Facebook.
What once started out as a communication device for college students to stay in touch with their friends, Facebook is now the largest and most populated social media site in the world. Everyone who is anyone is on Facebook in one form or another. Corporate interest became big a few years back, and it is less than 10 years old. Facebook works well for business 2 business or business 2 consumer type firms. Here are some best practices of which to be mindful when working with Facebook as part of your marketing strategy.
When it comes to posting: Good and Long is far better than Short and Boring. It doesn’t matter if you are posting about the most exciting topic ever to have life, make sure you take your time and use proper grammar, punctuation and stay on topic. Short, poignant postings work extremely well, but quality always trumps quantity. If it takes 400 words to get the point across, by all means don’t shortcut it. Post compelling photos, video clips and make sure you give credit where credit is due. Using an editor is a great idea; one that is trained in the art of Facebook posting would be best.
Target Your Postings: Facebook has an advanced feature for pages with more than 100 fan likes; PPT. Page Post Targeting is a method of segmenting your target audiences for delivery of specific posts to specific groups. If your particular post about prostate issues is written for males over 50, everyone that doesn’t fall into that segment doesn’t have to be bothered with receiving it.
Facebook Analytics: Facebook provides data for you to measure the impact you are having on your audiences. There are a number of ways to dissect the data, so viewing short and long-term objectives is not difficult. You can measure week over week change, growth or decline of fan base, as well as a few other specific analytics. The Content Marketing Institute posted a paper on specifically this topic and you can find a lot of information at this link. Feel free to stop reading and check it out. You can pick up where you left off in a moment or two.
Once you use these analytics for a while you will gain a deeper understanding of what types of posts work best, what needs improvement, how your fan base is reacting to your postings and so on. That way you can adjust or tweak your postings to gain the most advantage.
Summary Recap: Quality over quantity at all costs. Long or short, follow this rule. Supplement postings with edited photos or videos. Inspire comments and stay on point. Remember, your Company Brand is always at stake.
Although it began as an employment networking tool, Linkedin is a powerful business social network, offering valuable connections world wide for thought leaders as well as those looking for a new employment opportunity. Although Monster.com was once the behemoth for employment opportunities, it is now dwarfed by LinkedIn. Free to join, as well as a paid level of membership, the site is loaded with content providers hoping to capture the eyes of interested parties. After all, that is what marketing is about; capturing the attention of others.
As in all things online, it is quality first over quantity: LI users are overwhelmed with information daily, so don’t add to the confusion. Post quality postings, but don’t overdo it. People over-share to their own detriment. Because professionals on this site are like you, they are very busy people and don’t have time for fluff or wasteful postings. You will lose an audience quicker than you can gain one by wasting people’s time.
Beyond the Personal Profile: If you have a personal profile, make sure it is complete and current. Most importantly, keep an updated photo on the page, as well as pertinent information about your career, position, education and interests. Beyond that, if you intend to do any sort of business online, you need a company page. On this page you can share pertinent content, include some information about your business and links to your website and blog, as well as consistent posting.
No one is an Island: There is no way to succeed on LI by being a lone ranger. Participate in groups and express yourself. Your opinion matters so share it. Begin discussions and maintain an active interest in the groups you select. With more than 50,000 groups, you are certain to find some that match your interests. If not, you can start your own group and lead the conversations. By becoming the thought leader in a particular group or groups, your connections and influence will grow rapidly.
Summary Recap: The most important rule to remember is not to over-share. Never post more than a few times a day, regardless of its perceived importance to you. Post at times when people check their sites; before 8 am, mid-day and after 6 evenings. Saturday morning is also a good time, as those with the day off often spend the morning catching up. What you share must be relevant and engaging, of high quality and substance. If your company offers products or specific services, seek recommendations off of which you can base further content postings.
Twitter may be one of the most misunderstood of the social media sites, but it would do you well to grasp its real value. Twitter tweets and re-tweets are a great way to build your brand, as well as reinforce it. Through the use of consistent messages delivered to your followers, your brand can spread exponentially as those receivers re-tweet to their followers, and so on. With the right messaging and consistent brand-twitter “voice” your brand can flourish, even with modest followers.
Start with your content: Just getting started? No problem. Start tweeting
your content like your latest article or eBook offering. Keep track of which items are shared with others, which will help you tailor your content messaging strategies.
Learn to use Hashtags: There’s a lot to learn on this, but you can start simply by including one with each tweet you send out. It will make it easier for people to locate your content. Once you get the hang of it, create original hashtags, or use multiple hashtags to link to active marketing campaigns you may be performing. Your followers and fans will love it.
Real Time Activity through Hashtags: Live events like webinars can become interactive through utilize a specific hashtag for the audience to chime in during the event. Offering the opportunity to do so spread your message to each of your participant’s followers is a great way to spread your brand awareness. Additionally, the ability to monitor what is being said about your event and brand is priceless research material.
Summary Recap: Use a consistent brand-voice, and it doesn’t have to be formal all the time. As long as it is on point, use a bit of humor from time to time and let the starch out of the shirt. Nobody likes a stuffed shirt, let alone a starched one. Get funny, but keep it real.
Your webinar audience will be able to participate and comment on your live events, which will spread your brand further. Additionally, the use of hashtags for your content and curating trending topics pertinent to your industry or brand is also a great way to grow your re-tweets.
Obviously there is a whole lot more about social media than what is contained in this one article, so I plan on making it a topic to cover every few weeks for the next while.
Until then……………….happy marketing!