Social Media Marketing – Part 2

Digital Marketing Tutorial

Social Media Marketing – Part II

Executive Summary:

Now that we have defined the major social media applications, let’s look at some examples of how to include them in your organization’s Digital Marketing program. And remember, what we’re looking for are examples of how these applications “facilitate collaboration and sharing between users”. In other words, how do we participate in the “communities”.

In general, digital marketers can utilize social media (“Web 2.0”) applications in one of three ways:

  1. The application can be added to your organization’s existing online presence to increase its (searchable) content and its “site stickiness”,
  2. The application can be part of another organization’s Web presence that you can potentially advertise on, and/or
  3. The application can be part of another organization’s Web presence to which you contribute content, and that content can potentially contain marketing information about your goods or services.

Let’s get started! Click on the social media (“Web 2.0”) application name to jump to the discussion of that application:

Blogs – The way I got familiar with blogs and blogging was (and continues to be) to use a blog as the defacto “What’s New ” page for this Digital Marketing Tutorial.

When I see a Digital Marketing-related story on another Web site or Blog, I grab the first 2-3 paragraphs and add it to my Digital Marketing Tutorial Blog, including my comments about the story as well as full attribution and links back to the article’s source. (When you visit my blog, be sure to follow several of the Technorati tag links at the bottom of each blog entry to learn more about “blog tagging”.)

I think this use of a blog as a win-win-win situation. My readers get the latest info on a Digital Marketing-related subject, the original author/Web site gets free publicity plus back links to their posting, and my Digital Marketing Tutorial Blog gets some great, timely content.

From a Digital Marketing perspective, when it comes to blogs and blogging, it’s not just about starting your own blog, it’s also about contributing to other, related blogs. One of the very best ways to market yourself and your products/services is to be a regular contributor (“commenter”) to individual blog entries. Make sure you include a footer with each comment that gives your name or screen name and a link back to a page on your Web site.

How do you know when there’s a new posting on your favorite blog – if possible, sign up to receive each new blog posting as an email and/or sign up to receive that blog’s RSS feed.

Click on the following link to learn much more about blogs, blogging and additional uses of this social media application including a bit of information about both Twitter and tumblr: Digital Marketing Blogging

User Reviews – Whether you sell products or services, make sure that your Customers can comment on those products/services on your Web site. Why? Because the opinions your potential Customers value most are the opinions of your existing Customers!

How do you do this if you’re a small company, for example, a re-seller of CD’s and DVD’s? One way is to become an eBay member and open a store front (or Amazon) and allow your eBay members/Customers to vote on your performance. It will cost you money in the short run (fees to eBay or Amazon), but the continuous voting by your Customers on your performance will provide invaluable positive comments and even favorable ratings in a formal rating system, for your company. Click on this link to see how eBay does it.

Wikis – I think this is one Web 2.0 application that does not lend itself to working as a Customer-facing application in the “real” business world.

Why? Remember the first sentence in Wikipedia’s definition of a wiki – “A wiki is a website that allows visitors to add, remove, edit and change content, typically without the need for registration.” Although I love the concept of a wiki, and I obviously think Wikipedia, itself a wiki, is a great resource, a “Customer wiki” in which anyone can “add, remove, edit and change content, without the need for registration” could never work.

The way I do see wikis working as a useful business application is as an intranet (private business network) application. In that mode, contributors from around the world can collaborate on projects in a wiki because, again, as the Wikipedia definition states, “this ease of interaction and operation makes a wiki an effective tool for mass collaborative authoring”.

Where wikis also work for digital marketers is as a potential advertising medium. Many wikis are supported by advertising that appears on their Web pages, so the effort from a Digital Marketing perspective, is to find those wikis whose content most closely aligns with the interests of YOUR potential Customers, and then advertise your goods or services on those wikis.

Also, you can contribute to a wiki’s content, and that addition can in some way also highlight your goods and services, but be careful! Make sure you read the rules for adding content before you do so! You don’t want your first contribution to be universally panned by the existing wiki community because it’s too commercial!

Forums – As noted earlier, forums (also known as web forums, message boards, discussion boards, electronic discussion groups, discussion forums, or bulletin boards) are probably the oldest Web 2.0 application, having first come to life in the 1980’s.

A great example of a forum is Webmaster World (WMW). Once on the Webmaster World Home page, click on any link in the LEFT column. Each of these links starts with a question posed by a WMW subscriber and is followed by the answers to that question by other WMW members. Each of these “conversations” is called “thread” and each forum on WMW has multiple threads.

How can a Digital Marketer make use of forums? As discussed at the top of this page, there are 3 basic ways:

  1. You could add a forums section to your existing Web site that centers on discussions about the products/services your company offers.
  2. You could advertise on a forums Web site if your products/services are related to the “conversations” in that forum. For example, look in the top right corner of each Webmaster World Web page – ads rotate thru this location.
  3. You could find forums whose discussions center on products/services like those offered by your company and post answers or comments to questions being discussed, while in a non-marketing way adding a bit of information about how your products or services could help.

Podcast – A Digital Marketer can make use of podcasts (digital audio files) in 1 or more of 3 ways:

  1. Produce podcasts that discuss certain aspects of the products/services your company offers, and distribute them via your organization’s Web site. These podcasts could be self-produced and feature employees speaking to your “audience”, or production could be farmed out to a company that specializes in creating this type of media, including providing professionals to record the podcasts.
  2. Advertise on podcasts produced by other organizations if your products/services are related to the content of those podcasts. For example, the publisher of a trade journal in your industry might be producing and distributing podcasts by “industry experts” that your organization could “sponsor”.
  3. Members of your organization could be the “industry experts” mentioned in #2 above.

Social Networks – A Digital Marketer can make use of Social Networks in a number of ways – three are listed below. However, before beginning any type of marketing activity in a specific community, it’s a good idea to join that community in order to understand how community members like to interact with one another. Let’s use Facebook as our social network example:

  1. Add a Facebook Business page to your Web presence. Why? Because Facebook is THE most visited site on the Web with almost 700 million active members visiting the site each day and an incredible amount of “site stickiness”. The odds that at least some of your potential customers are on Facebook is very high, and the younger the customer, the more likely s/he is to also “Like” your business page if it provides him/her with useful information related to their business. How do you add a Facebook business page to your Web presence – click here for all the details from Facebook.
  2. “Like” other Web sites’ Facebook Business Pages that are in your business’s sphere of influence. These other organizations will typically “like” your Facebook Business Page back thereby creating an avenue for like-minded Facebookers to find and like your business page. And better yet, these new visitors to your Web presence might actually buy one or more of your products!
  3. Share a link from one of your business friends on Facebook – either a Facebook post or an interesting story on that friend’s Web site. Before you know it, they’ll be posting links to your press releases, Web site updates or recent Facebook posts.

Mobile Web – These days this topic is almost endless, and how the mobile Web can be used in a business, especially B2C enterprises, is equally limitless!

But let’s start with the basics – get your smartphone out and open this site, the Digital Marketing Tutorial, in your smartphone’s browser. Notice anything different? That’s right, when this site is viewed in a smartphone browser, it is served in a format that is optimized for smartphone viewing. Scroll to the bottom of any page and you’ll be given the choice of viewing the site optimized for mobile (small screen) devices or view it in its original format for larger (laptop, desktop computer) screens.

And that is where ALL B2C Web sites MUST start – make it easy for your Web site visitors (also known as potential customers!) to view and use your site on their mobile devices, especially smartphones, if that is how they access the Web.

This process is fairly straight forward. For instance, on sites using WordPress as their content management system like this one, there are “plug-ins” (the one I use is called WPTouch)  that give most WordPress themes (this one is an adaptation of “A Dream To Host”)  the ability to recognize what type of device is accessing the site and serve different versions of the site based on that info.

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Social Media (Web 2.0) Marketing– Back to Part I