Social Media Marketing Success
By Pam Lontos
Social Media Marketing (called SMM) is certainly the newest
buzz in the PR and marketing realm. And as with any new publicity
tool, people have lots of questions on how to best utilize it.
viral marketing to the extreme. Just as you can send friends your
favorite jokes via email, with SMM people can spread your message
for you with a simple click of a button. It’s a good type of virus
that you hope your message gets infected with.
But in order to ensure that SMM works for you in a positive
way, you need to employ some keys to success. The following
guidelines will help.
Put your message on
the right sites:
There are literally
hundreds if not thousands of social media sites today. You need to
determine where your market is and post your messages on those
sites. You don’t want to get on the wrong site, as that would waste
your time and possibly hurt your credibility. If your topic is
business growth or personal fitness, for example, you don’t want to
be on a SMM site that caters to people interested in cake baking.
That simply doesn’t make sense. With SMM, being anywhere and
everywhere is not the answer. Be strategic and target your market
for the best results.
Also realize that your market might change. Just because a
certain SMM site attracts your market today doesn’t mean it will
tomorrow. People are fickle in SMM and they get bored easily. For
example, LinkedIn almost fell out of existence in November 2008. If
they had not moved themselves to where their market had shifted,
they would not be here today. Now they are back to being the biggest
business SMM site. But they had to make a huge shift in the services
they provide because their market moved on them. And once the market
moves, it tends to go in mass. So if you are not watching where your
market is, it may leave the social site where you’re sending your
messages, and now your messages are going to the cake bakers again.
purpose of each site:
Just as you want to
post to the right SMM site, you also want to know the goal or focus
of each of the various sites. Most people, even those brand new to
SMM, have likely heard of the Big 3 SMM sites: LinkedIn, Facebook,
and Twitter. They are the most common ones out there.
LinkedIn is the leading business networking site – think of
it like a corporate boardroom setting. Facebook is for keeping tabs
on personal and business contacts – if you use it for business,
think of it like entertaining clients in your living room. Twitter
is for short sound byte updates – think of it as your company’s
A couple of others you may not have heard of but that are
useful for business are Naymz and Plaxo. Naymz is a reputation
site. By registering, you are essentially doing a background check
on yourself and posting it to the Internet. It’s a well respected
site among corporate decision makers, who often use Naymz to check
people out. If you are well respected on Naymz, it goes a long way
for the C-level people.
Plaxo is a hub site. It allows you to link and connect
multiple Internet resources in a single place. People can go there
and find their way to everything about you, if you choose to allow
that. It was one of the two that was about to knock LinkedIn out of
the top last year.
For business purposes, you may want to stay away from
MySpace, as MySpace often leaves a bad taste in the mouth of
corporate America. Why? Because there have been more internal
corporate scandals and sexual harassment suits in the past year over
things that have been posted on MySpace than any other single social
networking site. If you currently do have a MySpace page, hide it.
Think in sound
Anyone who has done any type of PR in the past – print, TV, or radio
– knows the importance of the sound byte message. The same rule
holds true when doing SMM. You want your sound bite message to be
original, useful, valuable, fun, problem solving, and interesting.
And you have to encapsulate your message in 140 characters or less.
Realize that’s 140 characters, not words. Therefore, your message
must be succinct.
That 140 character limit is not a random number. The fact is
that 140 characters is the convention for text messages to cell
phones internationally. Remember, your goal is for people to take
your message and pass it along or to have it forwarded to their cell
phone when your message comes out. You don’t want the ending of your
message cut off because it was too long for the cell phone to
display. And don’t think you can take your long message and split it
up into two or more feeds. That’s called giving a double message or
a split, and people get annoyed by such a tactic. Do that too often
and you’ll quickly lose all your followers.
Post your messages
A common question
is: “How often should I be posting messages onto these sites? Daily?
Twice a day? Hourly?” Unfortunately, many people post too often and
abuse the airways. They send too many messages, which has two very
negative effects. First, you become an interruption rather than a
welcome interlude. People who are following you and having your
messages forwarded to their cell phone are constantly being
interrupted by you. Now you’re a nuisance.
The other problem is that search engines are designed to
ignore these 140 character messages. However, there are strategic
ways around that rule so that your 140 character messages become the
alerts. The problem is that the search engines only allow a certain
number of alerts per source, and it varies per search engine. If the
search engines see too many messages coming from you during their
standard interval period, they could flag you as a search engine
spammer and lock you out. So the best posting interval right now is
posting something every 48 hours, as that’s how long it takes for a
message to go through the Internet.
Publicity to New Levels of Success:
SMM is the wave of the future. And when you combine your SMM efforts
with your traditional PR avenues, you can create a publicity
campaign that gets you noticed by prospects, clients, and key
decision makers. The sooner you put SMM to work for you, the more
profitable your business will be.
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