Social Media Marketing 2.3 – Best Practices White Paper
Social Media Marketing has become one of the most important trends in marketing for very sound reasons – it helps businesses connect and engage with customers and prospects on a personal basis and rewards interaction. The following Best Practices are a compilation of social media methods designed to provide businesses with an overview of some of the most important techniques along with insight into the cultures of each community. The most important platforms for social media marketing are currently Facebook, blogs, YouTube, Twitter and LinkedIn, but there are several others that may be equally important depending on your business and marketing goals.
Retaining existing customers is cheaper than acquiring new customers via advertising
Customers play an very important role of recommending businesses to their friends
14% of people believe ads / 78% believe recommendations (Neilson Study 2007)
Who uses Social Media?
One billion people use Facebook
346 million people read Blogs
200 million people use Twitter
120 million people use LinkedIn
100 million youTube videos are viewed per day
52% of Americans over the age of 18 use Facebook at least 1 hour a week
34% interact with their favorite brands on Facebook
4% interact with their favorite brands on Twitter
4% interact with their favorite brands on Blogs
1% interact with their favorite brands on LinkedIn
Best Practices – Facebook
1. Create a vanity URL – Brand by putting your business name in your address.
2. Keep your time spent in check – Try one hour a day, 3 times a week
3. Stay consistent and active
4. Provide interesting content
5. Frequently update content – updates constantly appear on walls of your connections
6. Consider outsourcing social media content but remember, no one knows your business better than you do
7. Share information, tips, and practical advice
8. Tell your story: Share how the business came about and what is going on now.
9. Be Authentic: Don’t always try to push your products and services on people.
10. Start a relationship with visitors.
11. Use questions asked by your customers
12. Join in conversations
13. Hold contests for photos or videos
14. Announce events
15. Partner with a nonprofit or another business
16. Repurpose your content – email, blog, facebook, twitter, LinkedIn
17. Solicit E-mail subscriptions
18. After sending an email newsletter, post a link to it on your social media site
19. Turn comments and questions into newsletter content
20. Repost comments and questions from one social media site on another.
21. Find an interesting article elsewhere? Share a link to it on your Facebook page
22. Break your e-newsletter articles into separate tweets
23. Monitor your Facebook page activity with Facebook Insights
24. Respond promptly to your customer complaints
25. Always seek to satisfy and delight, not defend
26. Turn negativity into opportunities to learn and grow
27. Share testimonials
28. Measure Likes, Fans, Followers, Connections, Click-through
29. User Facebook Insights to measure interactions, activity & demographics
30. Create surveys and measure results
31. Cross promote your social media sites (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, youTube, etc)
32. Create links
33. Create polls and surveys
34. Post events
35. Archive past emails, newsletters and posts
36. Link to blogs and websites (yours and others)
37. Link to relevant websites in your area of expertise
38. Link to relevant videos, photos, podcasts
39. Don’t pitch.
40. Don’t overtly self-promote
41. Don’t offer incentives to get reviews or sharing
42. Avoid personal information, politics, sports, religion, etc.
43. Comment back
44. Answer questions
Best Practices – Twitter
1. Share valuable content in your own voice
2. Add value and have no agenda towards making sales
3. Use hashtags (#) to create and curate conversations around your brand
4. Reward your followers by retweeting them or displaying their tweets on your site or blog.
5. Use keywords in your tweets
6. Share links to useful content
7. Use search features to discover what your clients want
8. Use the search feature in a Twitter tools like HootSuite
9. Connect with the right people and tweet with them
10. Use tools such as Follower Wonk, Twellow and Wefollow to find people in your region
11. Cultivate relationships
12. Find ways to reach out and engage your audience
13. Transparency lends credibility
14. If you mess up, admit it
15. Share links back to your website for list-building
16. Tweet links to your blog more often
17. Connect your LinkedIn account with your Twitter account
18. Take advantage of tools to help curate and share relevant content – Strutta, HootSuite, Summify, Sendible, etc.
19. Add columns of searches in HootSuite
20. Get a Twitter tutorial from your teenager
Best Practices – LinkedIn
1. Complete your profile
2. Use your profile as a destination
3. Connect with everyone
4. Customize your websites
5. Be compelling
6. Recommend others
7. Join targeted groups
8. Connect with twitter
9. Research potential
10. Add your company profile
11. Optimize your search ranking
12. Add advanced applications
Best Practices – YouTube
Marketing and Advertising
1. Set up a channel to reflect your brand and engage with others.
2. Choose a user name that reflects your brand for your channel URL.
3. Add your channel URL to marketing collateral and social network profiles.
4. Post customer video testimonials to add to your credibility.
5. Put together a creative video explaining your product or service.
6. Show your product in action using movie trailer-style: fast, creative and catchy.
7. Show the results of someone using your services.
8. Promote your events using recordings of previous events.
9. Introduce your staff to add authenticity.
10. Take viewers on a tour of your offices and city to help them feel connected with you.
11. Ask others to use your product in their videos (like product placement in movies) and cross-promote each other.
12. Post links to your videos on various social networks.
13. Look into YouTube Promoted Videos to reach your target through contextually-relevant search results.
14. Use Google AdWords on Google Content Network, which includes sites like YouTube. These use text-based ads and don’t require a video from your business. Use the placement tool to identify the best placements for your ads.
15. Earn money from your videos by entering into a partnership with YouTube.
16. Run a contest.
17. Add Call-to-Action overlays to your videos to drive traffic to your web site.
18. Study your channel’s performance with the integrated Google Analytics and YouTube Insight to make the most of your videos.
19. Display company information in every video including name, URL, phone number and email address.
20. Create “how to” videos to help your customers use your product or service.
21. Post solutions to common product or service problems.
22. Answer customer-specific questions using videos. Imagine how surprised a customer will be when you point them to a video with the answer!
23. Embed videos on your web site on appropriate pages, including customer support and product tours.
24. Post a blog entry discussing a problem and include a video for visual support.
25. Go the extra mile by adding closed-captions or subtitles to your videos. Remember that not everyone can watch or hear videos in the same way.
26. Show a work-in-progress project to a customer for review and approval, without the need for a face-to-face meeting or in-person demo.
Best Practices – Blogs
1. Decide on a stand alone domain name http://www.myblog.com or directory of existing site http://www.mysite.com/blog. Sub domain is also an option blog.mysite.com. Avoid hosted services that do not allow you to use your own domain name!
2. Host images with Flickr making sure to include an anchor text link in the image description back to the post where the image is used.
3. Customize your blog look and be consistent with your business branding.
4. Develop a glossary using as many keywords for your business as possible – Research keywords using Keyword Discovery, WordTracker, SitePoint, SEOBook Keyword Research
5. Optimize the blog: Template optimization – RSS subscription options, social bookmark links, HTML code, Unique title tags, URLs, Sitemap, create keyword rich categories (reference your keyword glossary)
6. Enable automatic trackback and ping functionality.
7. Create Feedburner Pro account and enable feed tracking.
8. Setup a Google account for Sitemap, validate and prep for future submission.
9. Identify authoritative blogs, web sites and hubs for outbound resource links and blogroll.
10. Format archived posts, related posts.
11. Enable statistics for tracking – Google Analytics, ClickTracks.
12. Submit RSS feed and Blog URL to prominent RSS and Blog directories / search engines.
13. Engage in an ongoing link building campaign.
14. If podcast or video content are available, submit to Podcast and Vlog directories.
15. Submit blog url to paid directories with categories for blogs – Yahoo, BOTW, bCentral, WOW, JoeAnt.
16. Optimize and distribute a press release announcing blog.
17. Request feedback or reviews of your blog in relevant forums, discussion threads. If you have a resourceful post that will help others, point to it.
18. Research and comment on relevant industry related blogs and blogs with significant centers of influence.
19. Post regularly. If it’s a news oriented blog, 3-5 times per day. If it’s an authoritative blog, 3-5 times per week, but each post must be unique and high value.
20. Monitor inbound links, traffic, comments and mentions of your blog – Google Alerts, Technorati, Blogpulse, Yahoo News, Ask Blogs and Feeds.
21. Always respond to comments on your blog and when you detect a mention of your blog on another blog, thank that blogger in the comments of the post.
22. Make contact with related bloggers on AND offline if possible.
23. When making blog posts always cite the source with a link and don’t be afraid to mention popular bloggers by name. Use keywords in the blog post title, in the body of the post and use anchor text when you link to previous posts you’ve made.
24. Use social networking services, forums and discussion threads to connect with other bloggers. If they like your stuff, they will link to you.
25. Remember when web sites were a new concept and the sage advice to print your web address everywhere you print your phone number? The same advice applies for your blog.