Useful Tips For A Social Media Campaign
Social media encompasses Internet-based and mobile applications used for sharing and discussing information such as blogs, wikis, forums and social networking Web sites like LinkedIn, MySpace and Facebook. In addition to personal use, online platforms are used to market goods or services and network professionally.
According to the 2008 Cone Business in Social Media Study, 60 percent of Americans use social media, and of those, 93 percent believe a company should have a presence in social media.
As the demand for social media options rise, businesses need to track consumers’ online behaviors and leverage social marketing tools to reach their desired audiences. Here are four steps to get started:
Monitor Industry Blogs, Forums and Online Communities
First, find out what online content exists in the industry and among business partners and competitors. In addition to using search engines like Google, scan social networking sites that may not appear in the first few pages of a general Web search. Sign up for RSS (really simply syndication) feeds to continually monitor content on popular sites, news outlets and blogs that are updated regularly. An RSS feed alerts users to new posts through a feed reader or via e-mail.
Create Social Media Profiles
Establish an online presence by creating social media profiles, especially on sites that have an industry following. Popular places to create social media profiles include: Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn (strictly professional), Twitter (microblogging, or a series of very short blog posts) and Flickr (photos). YouTube is also a highly popular site to post promotional videos and commercials.
Identify Social Media Opportunities and Add to the Conversation
After investigating the state of social media in a specific industry, decide which social media platforms would be the most lucrative. This should include a mix of established social media as well as potential opportunities to carve a new niche in the online world. Issues to research:
-Which social media outlets are the most popular? Why?
-Which social media sites does the company’s audience currently visit? Where do they post profiles?
-Who operates the most popular industry blogs?
-Which competitors have an online presence?
-What questions are consumers posting about the industry?
-Are social media users already discussing the company? In what manners?
Add to conversations that exist and create new conversations to fill holes in coverage. If a particular blog or forum receives a significant amount of traffic, contribute to the conversation by commenting on posts and answering questions. To evaluate traffic of a specific site, enter the domain into a Web information site such as Alexa.
Companies can achieve greater influence by developing original blogs or creating groups on social networking sites that provide for online followings.
Whether adding to an existing conversation or creating a new one, it’s especially important for users to remain transparent. This means all users should state which company they represent and identify potential biases or sponsors.
Make a Commitment to Social Media
Like any public relations or marketing campaign, social media campaigns require a commitment. One of the most effective ways to develop an online audience is through regular contributions to online conversations. A large, established online audience takes time to create, and regular online postings increase the likelihood that followers will share information and come back for more.
Social marketing and networking can increase customer loyalty and enhance branding awareness. To be successful, companies must contribute regularly to the social media space and remain transparent about their intention, whether the goal is to educate the public or sell a product or service.
Written by Paul Linus