Make Social Media Your New Year’s Resolution

Make Social Media Your New Year’s Resolution

Get a Move On, Marketers

If your To Do list includes integrating social media into your marketing strategy this year, here are three rules of thumb to guide you.

1.  Communications with prospects/audiences will be most relevant if they allow for engagement.  Think walkie-talkies, not megaphone.

2.  Content should take only seconds to skim and hook the reader/viewer.

3.  Success is when your audiences/customers/ prospects/donors begin connecting with each other and creating content with you, with your organization at the center of a benevolent online community of supporters.

If the 1990s were the dot.com/email age, the 20-oughts will likely be remembered as the decade when business was socialized.  Not in the Karl Marx sense, but the word-of-mouth, Tweeple, Like This sense.

For some PR and marketing approaches, this means likely oblivion.  Catalogs addressed to Resident? Contests that you enter by filling out direct mail response cards?  Corporate printed newsletters? Going, going, gone.

Other traditional awareness-building methods are getting a second life.  The press release hasn’t gone away.  It’s been reconstituted as a social media release, or a 140-character catchy headline with a link on Twitter.  Corporate Powerpoint slide shows are now doubling as useful content for posting on SlideShare, or Retweeted, StumbledUpon, Liked, DocStoc’ed and Scribd.

Most organizations’ gateway social media drugs are Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and LinkedIn.  Here are a few timely tips for getting a higher profile for your organization via the four to build into your 2011 marketing plan.

Facebook

  1. View five great case examples from organizations of all sizes on ways to market using Facebook: http://www.hubspot.com/marketingsherpa-top-5-facebook-case-studies/
  2. A powerful way to build a fan base and increase traffic to your page is by hosting contests.  Try the Wildfire application, and a Contest tab on your page.  It’s simple to host photo, video and other contests that generate new leads and lots of content related to your brand.  See a few examples from FITS, a fast-growing equestrian apparel business here.
  3. Add some new apps to make your page more engaging, such as a countdown to your next event.  Here are 12 suggestions from MindSprout Marketing: http://bit.ly/hmW7mA
  4. Timing is important. Dan Zarella of HubSpot notes that traffic on Facebook rises sharply on Friday, peaks Saturday and declines rapidly back to below average on Monday.  Would introducing your important new content be better at high- or low-traffic times?

Facebook Traffic by day of week

Twitter

Hubspot http://bit.ly/hlOaZc suggests finding and following as many Tweeple writing on your topics as possible, even if it’s in the thousands.  “Unlike blogs, which people can only read so many of, Twitter can still be useful even if a person subscribes to thousands of Twitter feeds. You don’t need to read every tweet. Following a large number of accounts relevant to your interests ensures that you are reading the most current information when you choose to see what is going on in the world.”

YouTube

Video content is essential for getting noticed in social media.  Going viral is the ultimate coup, along the lines of the cross-platform Old Spice Body Wash video campaign, which featured an actual third-party marriage proposal over Twitter.

Even if you don’t have a big budget and a black-clad art director, you can still get in this game.  BlendTec’s “Will It Blend?” video series originated with $100 worth of video equipment and a home movie that has led to an increase in retail sales of 700 percent, hundreds of thousands of YouTube subscribers, and to-die-for media coverage by The Today Show, The Tonight Show, The History Channel, The Wall Street Journal and others.  The company has now posted videos of their high-capacity blender shredding an iPhone, a vuvuzela, golf balls and (in a brilliant co-marketing play) Old Spice.

Get started in video with a Flip mini video camera ($150 to $230), a very good investment for taping and posting simple videos on your YouTube channel about your product or cause.  If you don’t have time to do it yourself, hire a smart high school kid to edit your footage and add simple effects, captions, credits and music through off-the-shelf software such as Windows Movie Maker.  Aim for video lengths of one to three minutes (although YouTube now allows for much longer uploads, 15 minutes and more).

For more great tips on using video in your marketing, check out www.lsfinteractive.com/Strengthen-Your-Video-Marketing.php.

LinkedIn

HubSpot recommends the following ways to market via LinkedIn.

  1. If you are in an industry or niche with high activity levels on LinkedIn but no easily discernible thought leaders, you may want to start a new Group.  Weak competition for high-traffic keywords means that the market is being underserved.  If no Group exists, you will have a first mover advantage.
  2. If there are Groups in your field with low levels of engagement, you may still be able to come in as a second mover and dominate the conversation.  A smaller but well-targeted group of individuals you can interact with on LinkedIn can be extremely effective at generating leads.
  3. Simply asking and responding to questions in the LinkedIn Answers feature is a way to engage LinkedIn members without having your own group.
  4. Additionally, actively participating in discussions in the most relevant group for your industry will enable you to position yourself as a thought leader. Over time, as you build influence and credibility on LinkedIn, people will want to know more about you and your company.

Got more quick tips?  Share them with me.  And Happy New Year!

Sources

Merry Ann Moore
merryannmoore@gmail.com

I'm a comms pro who brings the romance and excitement of digital to the old standbys. Like just picking up the phone and calling a reporter after retweeting a story. I cover the waterfront (communications strategy, content marketing, web content, branding, email marketing, more) but don't pretend to be an expert in it all. After work, I'm probably cycling, walking the dogs, chaturanga-ing or watching international soccer or the USWNT. Pet peeve: overuse of the word "passionate" in every business profile you read.

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