by John Eberhard
Social media marketing is a challenge.. The trick is not to put up a presence on some of the sites (that’s easy), the trick is to figure out how to use that presence to market yourself and actually help your business. And the trick is also to not just spend a lot of time on these sites, but to make that time well spent.
The first thing to know about social media sites is that most of them are for the purpose of social contact with other people. In most cases, with some exceptions, they are not primarily for the purpose of marketing yourself or your business.
That doesn’t mean you can’t promote your business on social media. But you have to do it tactfully and you have to get a feel for each site and the general agreement level on how much it is OK to promote.
Let’s talk about some of the top social media sites:
Facebook and MySpace
Facebook and MySpace are similar in how to interact with them. The basics are:
- Sign up lots of friends. I first located a lot of my personal friends and business associates, then starting proposing being friends to people who had 20 or more friends in common. I have built up over 1,500 friends on Facebook in this way.
- Put up a corporate page for your business. Ask your friends to sign up as fans for the corporate page.
- Post something regularly (daily) in your status bar, including promoting your business. But work these promotions in between personal notes too, posting pictures, doing quizzes, etc. If you are just pitching yourself and your business every day it will turn some people off and they’ll turn off your posts or disconnect you as a friend.
Start an account on Twitter, start following people that you know and in your line of business. Then start building up lots of followers. You do this by posting things regularly (daily), especially about your work and what you’re doing. Observe how others use the site, especially those with lots of followers, and emulate their example.
LinkedIn is a business directory, probably the biggest among many. So start an account on there and start making connections with people you know and business associates. Then search their connections and connect with more people. Then post things regularly on what is happening with your business. Here it is a business directory so you don’t have to intersperse it with comments about your girlfriend or the movie you just saw.
YouTube is the biggest of many video sharing sites. So the first trick is get a video produced about your business, and then upload it to YouTube and other sharing sites. Your video can be simple, i.e. a slide show video. It is better to have a number of short videos than one long one. YouTube has a time limit of 10 minutes, so your video has to shorter than that. When you upload the video, make sure you add in keywords and your URL. Also make sure the end of your video shows your URL and phone number.
Squidoo and HubPages
Squiddo.com allows you to put up a “lens” which is basically a page, on pretty much any topic you want. You can enter anchor text into the text of your article, because guess what, Squidoo is “friendly” to using their site to market things.
When you create a Squidoo lens, it can contain an intro with picture, the main article, photos from Flickr.com, videos from YouTube, links to your web sites and blogs, a guestbook for people to leave comments, and a place to put your Delicious.com links. So you can put up a lot of content related to your main article.
HubPages.com is another site you can use to put up articles. Unfortunately, they are not quite so friendly to the guys from the marketing department, and they will shut down pages for being overly promotional if they contain more than ONE link to your web site or sites. On HubPages you can put up your article (with one link), photos, links, an RSS feed, news, comments, and a poll. So you can add a rich palette of content to these pages as well.
Social Media Directories
There are many social media business directories, such as Plaxo, HotFrog, FriendFeed, Xanga, Vox, Mashable, iKarma and many more (over 40). The idea is to put up a listing for your company, with a picture, company description, service or product list, contact info, and links to your web sites and blogs. Also include links to your other social media accounts on Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, etc. And the idea is to put it up on every single directory you can find. On many of these sites you can post regular updates on your activities and you should do so.
Social Bookmarking Sites
There are two purposes of social bookmarking sites like Delicious, Digg and StumbleUpon. One is to create an account and put in bookmarks to all your favorite sites, making it easy to find your favorite stuff. Another is to bookmark your site and various pages on your site, your blog, your social media pages and so on, and each of those bookmarks will count as a link to those pages. This helps with search engine ranking and it can help people to find those pages as well.
- Start accounts and corporate pages on Facebook and MySpace, then get lots of friends, then post regularly on your business, interspersed with personal posts.
- Start accounts on Twitter and LinkedIn, then post things to them on a regular basis.
- Get some videos of your business and post on YouTube and other video sharing sites.
- Put up article pages on Squidoo and HubPages
- Put up a listing on every social media business directory under the sun, moon and stars with links to as many of your social media pages as you can. Then post updates on your activities.
- If you can put updates on all these sites daily, that is ideal
If you do all that and post updates to these accounts on a regular basis, it will have quite a positive impact for your business.