DMF 2011 | Social Media Best Practices to Heat Up Your Marketing

By Amanda Sides | Feb 3, 2011
More Articles by Amanda

Getting started this chilly morning at the Marketing Profs Digital Marketing Forum conference here in Austin, TX, Jeff Cohen greets the live audience as well as the online audience watching the presentation streaming at home.  Speakers for this session include Jeff Cohen, Sharon Mostyn, and Alan Belniak.  Follow the speakers on Twitter: @jeffreylcohen, @sharonmostyn, and @abelniak.  Alan is currently stuck in Chicago (thank you, mother nature), and unfortunately could not be here to present this morning.

What is social media? Social media is essentially another channel of communication and a way to interact with your customers.  It’s a way to connect, on both a personal as well as professional level.  One big thing that social media is used for today is for recommendations.  LinkedIn is a great place to give and find recommended professionals and vendors that you can trust.

Why social media? By using social media, you can leverage expertise and content, expand your presence, and let others know that you are subject matter experts in your industry.  But before you can get started, you will need to develop a plan…

The Discovery Phase. Does this make sense for you?  Is it a good fit for your company? You always hear how social media is great and you should do it… but first figure out where you are going to get the most value, and decide whether its right for you.  Find out if your competitors have a presence, and if you should also be participating.

The Goal Phase. How can you work social media goals into your business goals?  You want to be sure to streamline your social media efforts and make sure they align with your business goals.

The Content Phase. Utilize your company’s content to get started with social media.  Leverage content you create for social media purposes, and decide who is going to be responsible and handle these efforts.  You want to think about what you are going to push via social media outlets. Don’t just say, “I’m going to do social media,” and jump in.  Strategize first.

The Measurement Phase. In regards to the points above, you’ll want your goals to be quantifiable, so you can measure how effective your social media efforts really are.

The ultimate goal of social media efforts is typically to get more people to visit your site.  Well what if you don’t have a great site?  If you get them there, they may leave.  Be sure your message is clear; organize your site like a customer would want to see it presented.  Customers want a clean, professional site, with clear paths of what to do next.

To Blog or Not To Blog?

If you are going to blog, do it the right way.  Have an appropriate site; be sure it is relevant and easy to understand.  A good thing to do is to offer RSS updates, update your blog frequently, and be sure that your readers know what to expect from you on a regular basis.  Sharon referenced a study she read about a year ago, stating that on average, sites with blogs get more traffic, and have 97% more links to their domain.

Jeff recommends blogging at least once a week, but ideally twice or more per week.  Good examples of ideal blogs include Hubspot, and Southwest.  Hubspot creates great content on a regular basis, and has content that aids in lead generation.  Southwest adds personality by hooking up their blog with their Flickr account, which updates their blog with new pictures pretty often.  Blue Sky Factory is a good example of a blog that has great calls to action.  Read the blog post and then watch a video and learn more about the company.

Ideas for Blog Posts.

Get testimonials from your clients or customers.  Reach out and get great testimonials from your happy customers and turn it into a blog post.  Once a month, interview someone in your product department to get updates about new developments.  This will take the burden off of the product team, but still allow for posts about content in their area.  Video posts are a great way to quickly post new content, and only takes a few minutes to record.  This also keeps your readers entertained by keeping the content fresh and coming in different ways.

Blogging Best Practices.

  • Blog on your own domain.
  • Commit to blogging.
  • Create an editorial calendar.

A Few Quick Twitter Tips.

If you are using a Twitter account for your business, great! However, there are a few things to keep in mind whilst tweeting.  If your handle represents your business name, be sure your bio also follows instep.  A lot of people will use their company’s name for their Twitter handle, but tweet and write their bio as if it were their personal account.  It would be best to keep the two priorities in separate accounts.  For instance, at Search Mojo, we have a @SearchMojo specific account, as well as our own individual personal accounts; i.e. @janetdmiller, @reneerevetta, etc.  It’s good to find that balance with keeping the company handle business focused, but give tweets a personal feel.  Sometimes this is a big challenge for companies.

So What About Facebook?

These days, everyone is on Facebook.  So should you be on there too?  Like all social channels, it depends.  Establish a company profile and be there to interact with your customers.  You want people to “like” your page, which is a hard thing to accomplish, but when you do, you can engage more with the people who want to interact with you. Post about general updates, ask questions, promote upcoming events, etc.  You should also link to your site, blog, and other social channels where you are present.  Facebook is simply a way to get out there and give your audience more information about your company, and get them interacting with you.

So to wrap up this post, a few things to keep in mind when getting started with social media:

  • Figure out whether social media is right for your company.
  • Develop a plan. Strategize your social efforts before you jump in with both feet.
  • Do it right.  Be sure to follow best practices with your social media efforts to be most effective.
  • Have measurable goals.  These aren’t  your personal accounts. Be sure to have quantifiable goals so that you can measure your progress and decide whether you need to change your strategy, or redefine your social goals.

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