Social media marketing is moving from its exciting adolescent phase to a more mature grownup status.
Online social media obsession driven by social web hormones and testosterone that drove social networks to hyperactivity are being replaced by tried and now proven activities and mature business processes. Digital marketing responsibility is now in the driving seat.
The dreaded phrase “what is the return on investment” is now seen as a conversation that needs to happen.
The dinner party conversations are no longer about Facebook or Twitter. An announcement about Instagram providing 15 second videos barely makes a ripple in the blogosphere. Social media is now part of the woodwork and is embedded in the web.
The after work and cocktail bar chats are now about when you are commencing a start up, designing your online store or launching an app.
Sexy to staid
Despite its move from sexy to staid and impending “ho hum” status, social media is embedded and integrated into almost all digital and even traditional marketing activities.
Learning to use social media effectively is now essential and required if you aren’t going to be “disrupted” by your competitors and fast growing start-ups.
So let’s look at it in context in the digital marketing ecosystem, consider core essentials and tips and tactics. These will help you get started and also optimize your current social media marketing activities.
Earned and paid
The initial attraction of social media beyond connection and engagement was that is was “free”. Social networks allowed anyone to publish and market for free with ease.
Search engines also provide this advantage and being found on Google can be done two ways.
Earn the right to appear on page one of a search engine with optimized content and search engine optimization and it can make a large difference to your sales and inquiries. The clicks from earned search sits at around 75% of all search engine result page clicks.
This is called organic SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
Now let’s quickly cover how to pay for appearing on the first page of Google
Google AdWords allows you to accelerate your brand discovery and click-throughs by paying to appear on page one for selected keywords and phrases. Stop the campaign and the traffic no longer turns up to your website or landing page.
It all comes down to measuring whether paying produces a positive return on investment. Spend a dollar and get a profit of two dollars means that it is an activity worth pursuing despite the cost.
Social media marketing is following the same route.
On Facebook you can update frequently and create content that drives organic engagement without paying a cent. That challenge is becoming a mountain of effort as Facebook pushes you to pay for attention. Obtain 100,000 likes and you have earned some attention that drives traffic to your digital properties.
Grow your Twitter followers to 10,000 and you have free crowd sourced marketing to share your tweets. This takes time to earn.
The other marketing route is to log into Facebook’s self-service advertising portal and start paying for some Facebook advertisements. Twitter’s self serve advertising is also available to help you gain that important online visibility. Paid social media advertising is becoming an important part of the marketing budget.
Effective social media marketing is requiring your organisation to learn how to do both earned and paid well to ensure success.
Social media marketing essentials
There are some key essentials that should be part of your social media marketing foundations.
1. Securitisation of your social media network assets
I still am surprised that many companies still don’t have the top social networks secured with their brand name in their digital assets portfolio.
You don’t need to be on every social network but ensuring you have the major ten (as listed in this article) registered by your organisation is vital.
Make sure that the branding is consistent across your social media channels. An important core goal of social media marketing is to create brand awareness. So making sure your memorable brand is recognised wherever your customer’s hangout is vital. Logo, colors and brand consistency should be embedded across all social networks.
A planned social media marketing strategy that is consistent with your overall marketing activities ensures that you are not chasing quick fix tactical responses to urgent marketing goals. Like lack of sales.
Having a well resourced and adequate team and tools is needed for long term success.
Social media despite being free to join, does take time and resources to implement. It costs.
Allocate and buy the right people, software and even external expert advice to ensure that you aren’t spinning your wheels and expecting the intern to perform marketing miracles.
Social media networks seem separate but in essence they are interlinked paths to your brand and need to be integrated. Everyone has a social media preference. It could be Blogs, Facebook or even Twitter.
Make it easy for people to listen and view your updates on their platform of choice by ensuring that you have cross-linking to other social media networks. This needs to be woven into all your platforms.
Examples include having links on your blog to Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn.
On Facebook have a link to your Blog or website. If you have a Twitter account also link to your primary online presence.
Core social media marketing activities
These are the types of activities that should be woven into every social media marketing plan.
1. Content creation
Don’t underestimate the time and expertise needed to create content that will flow across the web. It needs a good headline, a compelling introduction and a well structured layout with sub-titles, bullet points and short sentences that make content consumption compelling.
Multi-media that is compelling to share on social networks is a creative process that is part art and part science.
Publishing updates to Facebook, Twitter and Google+ means that people will leave comments and feedback that needs a response from the organisation. This creates deeper trust and, credibility and engagement. This is what you call the quality component of social media marketing
3. Building your networks
To add to the quality you need quantity to get more visibility online. Bigger is better. Continue to grow your Facebook likes, Twitter followers and other social networks.
62 tips for your social media marketing toolbox
What are the some of the basics the top social media marketing professionals implement that are essential to long term success?
I have broken them down social network by social network.
A blog or website should be the center of your digital asset portfolio. You own it and it needs to be a constant publishing platform for your brand and business.
Don’t let Facebook have all your images, videos and contagious multimedia content. A blog with optimized articles and media will build and boost your search engine rankings.
So what are some essentials?
- Design and launch your blog on your own domain (not on Tumblr’s, Blogger’s or any easy to use but hard to escape network)
- Self hosted
- Use a search engine optimized software platform like WordPress
- Persistent publishing
- Well structured writing
- Easy to read
- Includes highly visible sharing buttons for the important social networks. These include Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Google+
- Add subscribing icons which allows people to subscribe to your social media networks including “Liking” you on Facebook and follow you on Twitter without leaving your site.
- How to Make Money from your Blog: 11 Powerful Case Studies
- How to Create a WordPress Blog in 5 Minutes
- 50 ways to Promote and Market your Blog Posts
Facebook cannot be ignored as it is the defacto social network with nearly one in two people that use the internet as members.
Here are some tips for those who don’t know where to start.
- Design and apply custom tab Facebook apps to your (such as ShortStack) for increasing likes, engagement and calls to action
- Listen to your audience
- Update often
- Use strong visuals and multimedia
- Link to your core website asset
- Your “About you” is clear and part of your Facebook profile
- Use non photo shopped images from mobiles rather than glossy glamour shots
- 15 Facebook marketing Tips and Tactics
- 25 Facebook Marketing Tips to Increase Sales
- 5 Successful Facebook Marketing Campaigns: Case Studies
- 7 Ways to Market on Facebook Organically
Twitter is the unfiltered “Wild West” of the social media “in” group and is often underestimated as a media for connecting with focused target groups and distributing your content at velocity.
It is just as essential as Facebook in your tactical social media toolbox. It is maybe the easiest to automate and achieve some scale.
So what are some key tactics?
- Use compelling headlines
- Tweet often
- Automate where appropriate (Socialoomph, Twitterfeed, etc)
- Share industry influencer’s content often
- Link back to your website/blog
- Engage with your followers
- 10 Commandments of Twitter
- 6 Tips to Grow Your Twitter Followers
- How to Get more Retweets on Twitter
LinkedIn is the white collar professionals playground and if you work in any knowledge industry you need to be participating here.
More formal than Facebook but LinkedIn has become increasingly important as a place to share your content and engage with industry groups on a global scale.
- Link to your three top online properties in your profile
- Update your profile regularly
- Participate in groups
- Upload links to content to LinkedIn from your core online assets (Website/Blog/Slideshare/Media)
- Publish your new content consistently on LinkedIn (such as blog posts, videos and Slideshare presentations)
- Include video in your LinkedIn profile
- Personal Branding on LinkedIn: 10 Mistakes to Avoid
- Should You Invest in LinkedIn and Forget Facebook?
- How to Harness the Power of LinkedIn
Google+ is now the second largest social network behind Facebook and is considered by Google as core to its platforms such as Gmail, YouTube, Blogger, Picassa and even its search engine algorithms. It weaves social signals such as Tweets, +1’s and other social media interactions into rankings results on its search engine.
It is a major social media player that is too big to ignore.
- Use the strong branding capabilities and real estate that Google+ provides
- Participate in “Hangouts”
- Use large high definition images (It is a very visual platform)
- Use Google+ Ripples to monitor the effectiveness of your content updates
- Share your best content on Google+
- Add Google+ share and follow buttons on your blog/website
- Segment followers with the “Circle” feature
- 8 Reasons to Consider Marketing with Google+
- 5 Google+ Insights Resources and Tips for Business
- 3 Google+ Power Users Reveal Their Secrets
- Google+ Interactive Posts
YouTube can be effective for businesses that sell to other businesses (with “How to” instructional videos) as well as for consumer related brands. (eg. Old Spice’s funny and viral videos).
Often the golden grail for a business or marketer is the “viral video”.
What many people don’t realise is that YouTube is the second largest search engine behind Google and is vital for visibility on the social web.
Here are some tips to essential YouTube social media marketing.
- If you are an online store create short YouTube videos to display your product (Research shows that this can increase conversions by 10-30% )
- Create “How To” videos that explain insights into using your product whether that is about how to use software or even riding a horse.
- Optimise for search when creating your YouTube videos. This includes writing a headline for YouTube that includes keywords that are important for your industry. Also add a description, categories and tags that allow Google to find and know what your video is about. Even include a link to your website/blog that enables people to find out who your business and brand are all about.
- Embed them in your blog posts and website to give them more exposure
- Tweet your YouTube videos on a regular basis.
- 7 Key Elements for Viral Content
- 6 Simple mistakes to Avoid When Creating Online Video
- How to Create and Promote Your YouTube Video in 8 Simple Steps
So why should you be interested in Pinterest. Recent new data is showing that it has now become the 4th largest referral network after passing Yahoo and now only sits behind Google, Facebook and Twitter.
It is a visual niche social network that is proving to be a driver of significant traffic driver for image rich eCommerce sites. Walmart is considering plans to include trending pins (Pinterest posts) as one of the signals it listens to in its own eCommerce search engine as signalling buyer intent.
- Align: Position your brand to align with popular, timely and topical conversations; i.e. if you are a shoe company, pin trendy shoes. “News Year’s Eve” shoes (timely), or “prom shoes” (topical).
- Optimize: Google LOVES Pinterest! Focus on the keywords that matter most for your brand, align this with what you know about how your audience searches (and what they are searching for) and incorporate them into your board titles and pin descriptions.
- Engage: Pinterest is a social community that requires two-way engagement. “Repin,” “Like” or comment on pins and boards of others. Interact with your followers and take the time to participate.
- Organize: Sort your boards well. Also, while keywords are important, have a little fun with how you name your boards. Finally, be sure to set the board “cover image” to a pin that best conveys the topic of that board.
- Diversify: Pinterest is a great opportunity to reach all the segments of your audience. Create boards and pin items that appeal to every segment of your consumer base!
- Integrate: Be sure that the content on your website is easy to share. Incorporate the “Pin It” button into your social sharing lineup.
- Evaluate: Measure your success. What boards and pins are seeing the most “Likes,”
- 10 Best Pinterest Practices
- How to Use Pinterest’s Group Boards to get More exposure for your Business
- 4 Ways to Succeed with Your Pinterest Brand Page
Instagram received fame when it was bought by Facebook in 2012 for $1 billion despite the fact is was making a loss and only had 16 employees. This social media app that started life as a mobile app without even a website makes sharing images to Facebook and Twitter from your smart phone simple and fun.
It is even used by large business to business brands such as General Electric.
- Arrange a feed for your Instagram photos into your interactive website, ecommerce site or blog.
- Share your instagram photos across your key social media networks of Twitter and Facebook. It also supports Flickr, Tumblr and even Foursquare.
- Make it fun. Want to see how Jamie Oliver does it so well.
- Use Instagram to increase engagement on Facebook by asking open ended questions when posting a photo. This can be as simple as “What do you think about this Instagram Photo of the Day?”
- Reveal “behind the scenes” photos that humanise your brand.
- How the Top 10 Brands Post Photos on Instagram
- How Instagram Harnesses the Awesome Power of Mobile, Social Media and Photos: 3 Success Stories
Viddy and the video feature on Instagram thinks that 15 seconds is the right length for a video short message while Vine has chosen 6 seconds. Maybe there is some science behind both but let’s look at some possible ideas for marketing with a short video.
Here are 6 ideas to get you started.
- The brand elevator pitch: Want people to understand what your brand is all about. The elevator pitch is where you wrap it up in one sentence or two. 6 seconds is maybe enough. How could you make it visual and viral.
- Product demonstration: One to two minute video reviews of products in your online store are now maybe too long. Why not experiment with six seconds?
- Launching a new product or service: Explain your new product in six seconds if you can. (If you don’t then use YouTube). Maybe your messaging will get better as you learn to communicate the key features and not the unnecessary.
- Give your brand a personality: Social media allows and wants you to give your brand a personality. Use Vine to make it real and authentic. Make it quirky or innovative. Many brands want an image that goes beyond bland.
- Marketing a promotion: Use a 6 second Vine video to market a new promotion. This could be a new book, song or a movie or even an event. How long do you need to communicate something new. Remember the power of simple.
- Announcing a special offer or discount: 50% off. How long does it take to announce that special offer for your clothing store? Make it visual, aural and shareable
Slideshare is the YouTube of PowerPoint presentations. It is visual and underestimated by many marketers. If you are an author, a business to business marketer or work in a knowledge industry then it should be in your social media toolbox.
So how can you use Slideshare to market your business.
- Upload your PowerPoint presentations onto Slideshare
- Share them on other social networks such as Twitter and Facebook. Don’t expect people to stumble across them.
- Turn your blog posts into a visual presentation and load them up to Slideshare
- Re-purpose your PowerPoint’s into a blog article and embed your presentations in that post.
- Use Slideshare to capture inquiries as the paid “Pro” version allows you to create a lead form that is embedded in your PowerPoint.
What about you?
What tools, tips and tactics have worked for you? What has been most effective? Are you on all of these 10 social media channels?
Which ones are your favourites? What social media marketing do you want to learn more about?
Look forward to your feedback, insights and stories in the comments below.
Learn how to market your blog with social media marketing
My book – “Blogging the Smart Way – How to Create and Market a Killer Blog with Social Media” shows you how.
It is now available to download. I show you how to create and build a blog that rocks and grow tribes, fans and followers on social networks such as Twitter and Facebook. It also includes dozens of tips to create contagious content that begs to be shared and tempts people to link to your website and blog.
I also reveal the tactics I used to grow my Twitter followers to over 170,000.