Posts Tagged ‘blogs’

Social Marketing Strategies for Writers: Blog Platforms

Susquehanna Writers Internet Marketing (SWIM) meets in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania. We have met four times since my last post on their progress. Several of us have installed blogs, the core components of our web social marketing strategies. More than that, we’ve posted our first blog entries and Google has already indexed them. We’ve gotten in deep!

Because we’ve done so much, it’s not practical to include all the details in a single post. So, over the next and weeks, I’ll try to write several short posts that report on specific tasks we’ve performed. These posts will both chronicle our progress and serve as “cheat sheets” for class participants.

Hosting Our Blogs

Four meetings back, we signed up with hosting services. I recommend hosting with a company called Hostgator for many reasons. The most important of those reasons is that when you use a paid host, you can install a WordPress blog and still add other components to your web site. The WordPress installation on a hosting service is very flexible; it can handle whatever plugins and themes you feel are appropriate for your presentation.

Alternatively, you can create a blog on a free service such as Blogger or WordPress.com. For SWIM, I asked people using a free service to stick with WordPress.com so their blog control panel will be similar to control panels of folks hosting their own WordPress installations.

I’m very confident about getting excellent Google ranks for blogs we build on our own domains using the WordPress software. We can also succeed with a free WordPress.com blog, but it’s likely to take longer.

Social Marketing Strategies Include Good SEO

We’ve been learning to work with social media in parallel to learning how to lay a great foundation for Search Engine Optimization (SEO). As we deploy blogs, our goal is to position them to get great Google love. We’re also going to participate on social networks to invite people to our blogs.

Through brilliant social networking, you can build a huge loyal following and this may be all you need to be successful online. But a well-tuned blog could draw as many visitors from search engines as you can attract through social media sources. Happily, working with social networking sites is an important way to tune your blog in the eyes of the search engines. In other words, there’s considerable overlap between SEO and Social Media Marketing.

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Beyond Social Marketing Strategies: Is Your Company Ready?

While this blog is primarily about social MARKETING strategies, I’m a great fan of exploiting social media wherever it can improve business processes. Of course, as a business analyst, I’m a fan of improving business processes… using whatever tools fit the need.

One of the conundrums of delivering technological solutions to business process problems is that the very “best fit” products—even custom-built products—sometimes fail miserably. The reason, quite often, is corporate culture.

Internal Uses of Social Media

In ten minutes of brainstorming, your managers could probably think up three dozen ways your company could benefit from using social media internally: Wikis could store customer-support solutions, maintenance procedures, manufacturing techniques, and design histories. Discussion forums could track planning, design, conflict-resolution, progress, and more. Blogs managed by various functional areas of the company could replace the internal corporate newsletter and keep employees better informed about the company’s activities.

However you imagine using social media internally, your company needs to come to grips with the question: can your corporate culture handle it? It’s possible but unlikely that when you enable social media, everyone will jump onboard and your company will zoom into overdrive. More likely, you’ll hit dozens of road bumps and, it’s quite possible things will go very badly. You can probably think of at least one company where management is so incompetent that unleashing social media would result in calamity.

Please consider your corporate culture carefully before jumping into social media. This link leads to an article that will help evaluate whether your company is ready to deploy social media for internal use:

Can Your Corporate Culture Handle Social Media?

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Join the Conversation

If you’re looking for social marketing strategies, you probably already understand some advantages of social networking. Ask social marketing experts where to start, and you’ll get dozens of answers. Most of those answers are probably good ones, but don’t take any of them lightly.

While it’s a huge business blunder not to incorporate social media in your marketing plan, it’s an even bigger blunder to do social marketing badly… and there are plenty of bad ways to do social marketing. Even if your budget allows for only the tiniest initiative, you can find effective social marketing strategies.

The Fundamental Strategy

Whatever anyone tells you about social marketing, the single most important strategy to employ is this: Join the conversation. What conversation? It’s almost certain that somewhere on the Internet, people are talking about what you sell. They may not know they’re talking about it, but they are… and your business will benefit when you find those people and join their conversation.

If you can’t find a conversation in progress, you can start one yourself and, if you make the conversation interesting enough, people will join in.

Three ways to join a Conversation

Some places to start

Forums: Forums abound on the Internet. Some companies manage forums having very involved memberships. Check out Microsoft’s technical forums for a decent example of a well-managed corporate presence; if your business involves managing Microsoft products for others, you can get valuable exposure by visiting these forums and answering questions posted by other visitors. Check out Yahoo Groups for conversations about just about any topic.

Blogs: This is self-serving, but please visit my blog Your Small Kitchen Garden. It’s just a year old, but it gets a lot of traffic. Visitors are participating more and more by leaving comments and finding me on Twitter. It’s a reasonable example of a blog that encourages conversation while providing useful information for its participants.

Social Networking: If you’re not yet on a social network such as Facebook or Twitter, tread lightly. Go ahead and sign up, but spend some time lurking before you jump into the conversation. I’m very active on Twitter as @cityslipper, and I invite you to follow me. Understand that my use of twitter is one of my social marketing strategies to become established as a garden writer and foodie… most of my conversations on Twitter have to do with gardening.

Forums – Before there was Web 2.0 there were on-line forums. Once you join a forum, you converse by answering questions of other participants and by asking questions to which you don’t know the answers. By answering questions accurately and politely, you establish yourself as an expert, and participants may ask you for more information—or even for specific attention to their problems. To help people connect with you, most forums let you publish a link to your own web site, or at least include contact information in the messages you post.

Blogs – Precursors to Web 2.0, blogs are directed conversations: the blog owner sets the topic, and followers chime in with comments. Very animated exchanges can ensue in which the blogger responds to reader comments, readers respond to the blogger’s comments, and readers respond to each others’ comments. Of course, a blog’s owner typically becomes established as an expert on the blog’s topic… which suggests one great reason for a company to sponsor its own blog, but we’ll talk more about that in upcoming posts. For this discussion, the simplest social marketing strategy related to blogs is to read blogs that talk about the types of products or services you sell, and participate by leaving constructive comments.

Social Networking Sites – Look especially at Facebook and Twitter. Twitter provided a simple interface that lets people converse smoothly with selected friends and with the general population of Twitter users. Facebook has features that also make conversation easy, but it’s a bit more daunting to get started and use effectively. Twitter has a search feature that lets you find everything anyone tweets using specific words or phrases. Facebook isn’t so smooth, but it lets people organize into groups or create pages dedicated to specific topics.

Yes, there are other ways to join conversations on social networks. Learn a few and represent your company through social media. Upcoming posts will explore these and other social marketing strategies in greater depth. Please join this conversation: Leave a comment to tell me whether you found this post useful or to suggest specific topics you’d like me to address in upcoming blog posts.

I hope to hear from you.

 

 

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