Posts Tagged ‘social marketing’
At this week’s SWIM meet we finally had some serious Internet access and were able to exercise some tools of our social marketing strategies. In coming weeks, I’ll try to yack less and get everyone exercising their computers more.
Google Reader and RSS Feeds
Once we got online, we (nearly) all clicked over to Google Reader, looked at my list of folders and subscriptions, and saw how easy it is to follow lots and lots of blogs through this one interface—without ever having to leave Google Reader.
We used Google’s Blog Search feature to try to find useful blogs to which we could subscribe. Amazingly (but not surprisingly), many of the top-listed blogs for just about any search term are blog-like pages on commercial web sites trying to sell stuff. Surprisingly, it was actually quite hard to find blogs in the top 20 listings that had RSS feeds… or that had easy-to-access RSS feeds.
Everyone eventually found one blog whose RSS feed we could follow. We Right-Clicked the RSS feed button or RSS link on the blog page and chose Copy Link Location or Copy Shortcut from the resulting menu. Then we returned to Google Reader and clicked the Add a subscription button. In the resulting text box, we pressed Ctrl+V to paste the URL of the blog’s RSS feed and we clicked Add.
We’ll try this exercise again at our next meeting, but I encourage everyone to take a bit more time on their own to search for meaningful blogs and subscribe to their RSS feeds in Google Reader. The question came up: How do you delete a blog from Google Reader? We bumbled around for a bit and found Unsubscribe on the Feed Settings dropdown menu.
Twitter is One of Our Social Marketing Strategies
We looked at the Twitter interface that you interact with in a web browser. We reviewed “mentions” or “replies” where you address a tweet by typing an at sign followed by a user name: @cityslipper, for example. We reviewed direct messages in which you type a D a space and then the username, and we talked about lists and searches. Most importantly, being in the same room, we were able to follow each other easily and tweet a few messages around.
I admitted that I’m not skilled with the Twitter interface because I use the Tweetdeck client. So, I demonstrated Tweetdeck and encouraged everyone to download and install it. Tweetdeck is free software and you can find a link to its download site on the Web Social Marketing Links page of my Social Marketing Strategies web site: http://www.websocialmarketingstrategies.com/web-social-marketing-links If everyone installs Tweetdeck in time for next meeting, we’ll have another Twitter session to work on any outstanding questions. However, I encourage everyone to do the following before next meeting:
- Tweet to each other (and to me, please) about whatever… get used to sending mentions and direct messages.
- Set up Twitter searches for phrases that you think people use when talking about things that matter to you
- Follow some of the people whose tweets you find as a result of your searches
- “Stalk” people who are following people you follow, and follow a few of those people.
- At least follow @Leadershipfreak so there’s something in your Twitter stream (besides, he’s a good guy)
About this time in our meeting, Lewisburg’s parking meter attendant was putting tickets on cars. I’m so sorry… that just didn’t used to happen on Wednesday afternoons.
We wrapped up with a promise to get serious about keyword research at our next meeting. Until then, everyone should add to their lists (or start lists if you haven’t) of words and phrases that may find kindred spirits in Google searches. So, if you’re writing mostly fantasy fiction, your list of key phrases might include “fantasy fiction,” “dragon stories,” “fantasy adventure,” and so on. Think especially about words or phrases you would type into Google to find the kind of writing you prefer to do.
So, for next Wednesday:
- Subscribe to the RSS feeds of a few blogs that seem relevant to your writing interests
- Become more confident and practiced with Twitter (see the previous list)
- Bring a list of keywords and key phrases to “seed” your search for the ideal key phrase
- Bring your user names and passwords for Google Reader, Twitter, and Tweetdeck… and bring your laptop, of course
Please tweet, email, or phone if you need encouragement or if you have a question.
Finally, two weeks ago I mentioned some articles I wrote that explain how I decide who to follow on Twitter. Here are links to the articles; I’ll also post these on the links page in the next day or two. You don’t need to read the articles to succeed on Twitter, but they provide a reasonable foundation for maintaining a list of high-quality Twitter friends.
I look forward to seeing you all next week. I think it’s appropriate to mention: Marsha brought chocolate.
SWIM is a group of writers that meets in Lewisburg in central Pennsylvania to learn social marketing strategies. The name SWIM came to me in a weak moment: I put together a silly acronym for Susquehanna Writers’ Internet Marketers. (Sorry.)
Sadly, the highlight of this week’s meeting was the lack of Internet access at our meeting place. Because we weren’t able to get connected, we couldn’t work together on our laptops to see technology in action. Rather, we all were victims of technology inaction.
Literary Agents Validate the need for Social Marketing Strategies
In helping two participants who missed last week’s gathering catch up, a brief review provided opportunity to clarify several topics. It was very helpful that most of us had attended the Susquehanna Valley Writers Workshop this past weekend where some literary agents reinforced the importance of Internet marketing for writers. The most compelling admission (I thought) of one of the agents:
When she reads a book proposal, she Googles the proposal’s author. If there is virtually nothing online about the author, the agent feels that the author may not interest a publisher. An attractive author has a following and recognized authority in the subject matter covered by the proposed book. A strong online presence suggests that the author will be useful in promoting the published work.
A second very compelling observation from the writers workshop: After you sell your book, it’s simply too late to start marketing. You need to market your book while you’re writing it… perhaps even before you start. (This is exactly what SWIM is about.)
SWIMmers Make Progress with Social Marketing Strategies
Participants acknowledged that they had registered on Google to be able to access Google Reader. So far, Google Reader might have stymied us, but when we can all work together online to add a few blogs or other media streams to Reader, I think everyone will catch on very quickly. Still, I encourage everyone to tweet with questions… let’s not try to do Google Reader over the phone until we’ve had a chance to work it together at a meeting.
We reviewed “Building an Internet Presence Lite through Social Media.” The premise is that you create a blog and post on it regularly. You also identify other similar blogs, visit them, and leave comments. Interact with the bloggers, promote their efforts, and invite them to examine your blog posts. Also, you participate on social media such as Twitter and Facebook with people who share your interests so you can learn more from them and invite them to learn from you. These are all components of the full-bore Internet Marketing skills that we’re learning… but decent SEO (search engine optimization) can dramatically increase the quality and reach of your Internet presence.
We reviewed Twitter and expanded on its capabilities. Our emphasis now is to use Twitter to learn what people are talking about with regards to the things we want to write: What are they saying? To whom are they saying it? Do they have blogs? It’s important to understand the “market niche” or niches in which we work or would like to work. Some important points:
- When you simply type text and send it on Twitter, the message goes to the general Twitter stream. Anyone can read it, and it goes to no one in particular. So, someone following a lot of people might miss such tweets if they happen to scroll past in a long list of tweets.
- If you want to be sure someone specific reads a tweet, send a “mention.” The simplest way to mention someone is to start with @ and append the recipient’s Twitter name. So, to be sure your tweet makes it to me, start by typing @cityslipper, then a space character, and then the message. You can embed @cityslipper anywhere in your tweet, and it will find its way to me.
- If you want your tweet to be invisible to all but a single person, send a “direct” message. To do this, start by typing the letter “d,” a space, and then the recipient’s Twitter name. So, send me a private message by typing d cityslipper message for Daniel.
We reviewed Twitter lists, but we couldn’t look at how to create them. You can assign people you follow to lists. When you view a list, you see tweets only from people you’ve included in the list. One cool use for lists: you can add people to a list even if you don’t follow them! So, if you want to learn more about someone before you decide to follow them, add them to a list and review their tweets for a few days.
We talked about Twitter Groups and that there are independent web sites where you can register with groups. Groups are self-organizing topics of discussion on Twitter. If you want to find other writers, look for a group that calls itself writers. Two web sites to visit and explore to find and join groups:
Finally, with regards to Twitter, we talked about hash tags. The hash tag is the mechanism by which you track what people are saying within a group… and the mechanism that reveals your tweets to people in a group. If you want to know what writers on Twitter are talking about, follow the hash tag #writers. If you want writers to see your tweet – even writers who don’t follow you – include the #writers hash tag in the body of your tweet.
Keyphrases: Foundations of Social Marketing Strategies
Before we start blogs, we will identify the best possible key phrases for the subject areas about which we write. To that end, we’re guessing what key phrases our potential readers might use to search for us. Then we’re doing Google searches, looking for forums on Yahoo, Google, Craigslist, or wherever and following discussions there. We’re searching Twitter and following promising tweeps, and (maybe) playing with the Google Adwords Keyword tool. The keyword tool will be much easier to understand when we look at it together, but here’s a link to it:
Homework for the Week
- Actually really get on Twitter, follow me, and send me a “mention” so I know you’re there. I’ll compile a list of twitter names and make sure everyone in the group has the list.
- Use Twitter to search on relevant topics, to identify interesting people to follow, and start following some of them.
- Build a list of candidate key phrases. Use Google searches, Twitter searches, the Google Adwords tool (which I just noticed is going away soon), Blog searches, and other resources to find out what’s going on in your “niche,” who is already established in your niche, and how people talk about your niche to each other. You’ll become more savvy about your market and you’ll come up with plenty of candidate key phrases.
Next meeting is on October 20. I’ll tweet the new location to everyone who has found me on Twitter by then, and I’ll back it up with an email so I’m sure everyone gets the information.
At the October 20th meeting, we’ll do some tweeting… maybe we’ll even engineer a Twitter Chat. Everyone who attends should become comfortable with Twitter’s capabilities.
Other Topics for the Next Meeting:
Google Reader – We’ll have a short review. We’ll each find one or two blogs of interest, locate the RSS feed URL, and use it in Google Reader to subscribe to the bog’s feed. When we do this together a few times, I think the procedure will stick. We’ll also briefly review how to navigate within Google Reader to speed your research and keep up with what’s happening in your niche(s).
Tweetdeck – This is a Twitter client, meaning it’s software that loads on your computer and offers a different interface than the one on Twitter. It provides some advantages over Twitter’s native interface.
Market Samurai – This is a vital tool for researching keywords. We’ll have a detailed walk-through to prepare everyone to find the perfect key phrases to promote their own blogs. There’s a link on the Web Social Marketing Links page of this site to Market Samurai, but please don’t follow it until we’re absolutely ready to finish our keyword research.
I’ll be in touch as soon as I find a decent meeting place. In the meantime, I hope to see all of you on Twitter.
On Wednesday, October 6, a group of writers in central Pennsylvania met at Zelda’s, a coffee shop in Lewisburg. Our purpose is to learn social marketing strategies to promote our writing. We’ll meet weekly for an indefinite period as all participants build Internet presences. Our goal is for each participant to find an audience.
The techniques and tools we’ll apply represent classic and cutting edge SEO and social media marketing. For the forseable future, this blog will chronicle activities of our group. Here’s the upshot of the October 6th meeting:
Overview of Social Marketing Strategies
We covered a lot of material very quickly addressing the following main questions:
- Why develop an Internet presence?
- Where do you start to achieve the best-possible Search Engine Optimization (SEO)?
- What are the components of an Internet presence?
- How do you get traffic to your web site?
This meeting provided a sky-high overview of what we’ll be doing in the next many weeks, so we weren’t as “hands-on” as we typically will be.
Build Savvy to Establish Internet Presence
We looked at one potentially useful tool: Google Reader. To understand Google Reader, we learned what an RSS feed is and established that a blog must have an RSS feed to which visitors can subscribe. Then, we looked at Google Reader in action and we subscribed to an RSS feed. With regards to Google Reader, I ask that everyone sign up for a Google account, go to the Google Reader page, and use it to subscribe to several RSS feeds relative to their areas of interest.
To find blogs that you might subscribe to, simply search in Google using keywords you imagine people would use to find you. If your area of expertise is Young Adult Fiction, what words do you think people use in a Google search to find Young Adult Fiction pages? Keep track of the key phrases you think of… especially phrases that bring up articles you’ll eventually produce. Remember: the point of reading other blogs (and so, the point of subscribing to them), is to learn what’s going on in your niche… in a sense, to learn about your competition (though there’s nothing devious about this).
A Tool to Build Internet Presence
After Google Reader, we looked at a vital service that everyone must learn: Twitter. Twitter will be our gateway drug to social media. As silly as Twitter seems when you first learn about it, it forges an enormous number of emotional and business relationships very smoothly. We (unfortunately briefly) looked at how to search within Twitter for tweets about your areas of interest. Then, how to click through to someone’s Twitter stream and “follow” them.
Most people will follow you back if you follow them, but it’s important to understand that there are a lot of “robots” or automated responders that aren’t worth following. So, when someone follows you, I encourage you to review their Twitter profile, read their most recent 20 – 40 tweets, and click through the link that shows at the top of their Twitter page. If they are legitimately interested in the things that matter to you—and not merely a commercial entity—then by all means follow them back. But don’t be in a hurry to get all chatty. I recommend that you lurk for a while and see how conversations develop on Twitter before you insert yourself into them.
The second assignment for participants is to sign up on Twitter, follow me http://www.twitter.com/cityslipper, tweet hello, and find some folks specifically in your area of interest to follow. Make sure you complete your profile on Twitter, and upload an image as your avatar or profile photo. We are all going to become accomplished tweeps, so please get started on Twitter immediately and at least tweet with me. If I can identify you as a member of our group, I can point you to each other as well, so we’ll all be following each other.
More Social Marketing Strategies for Writers
We agreed to continue meeting at Zelda’s on Wednesdays at 12:30. I’m sorry we couldn’t come up with a time to accommodate everyone interested; this meeting time seems to work for the most people. Also: Zelda’s seems very enthusiastic about having us there.
Next Wednesday, the 13th, we’ll start by reviewing each others’ progress with Google Reader, and explore whether people actually find the tool useful. Then we’ll spend a bit more time with Twitter to see how it’s working for you. We’ll learn a few more tricks about finding good tweeps to follow and we’ll explore using Twitter and other tools to identify the key phrases that will be most useful in building your own Internet presence.
The menu item, Web Social Marketing Links, at the top of this page, leads to links that will become useful in the next many weeks. Please don’t rush to follow all the links there; we’ll talk about them as they become important in building our Internet presences.
I’m sad that I haven’t yet received tweets from everyone in the group… so please get cracking! I look forward to next Wednesday’s gathering. Bring your wi-fi-enabled laptops; I’ll bring an extension cord and a power strip!
If you’re incorporating Twitter into your social marketing strategies (you should), I encourage you to mind this list of Twitter “don’ts.” While many Twitter marketing “experts” tell you to do at least some of the things I believe you shouldn’t, for truly social Twitter users, these are complete turnoffs.
“Social Twitter users?” Well… it’s a social network, not an I’m here so you can sell me stuff network. When you offend the social members of the network, they’ll take action. They may share annoyance about you with their followers, or they may report you as a spammer. What they won’t do is read your sales pitches and buy your products or services.
Six Don’ts for Marketers on Twitter
- Don’t be obsessed with how many followers you have. Sure, having a lot of followers means you have a lot of marketing reach. However, having 700 followers who share your passion for your market space is better than having 12,000 who are followers just because.
- Don’t let your obsession with your follower count lead you to tweet about it. It’s so distasteful to read “I’m only two followers away from 1,000! Who else will follow me?” Tweet something like that and you sound needy and whiny; that’s an awkward position from which to start a meaningful relationship. A corollary to this problem: don’t boast when you hit some target number of followers; that’s so high school.
- Don’t use a “system.” Yes, Twitter offers a terrific opportunity for marketing… and I’d bet more Twitter users are in it to promote something than are in it for a pure social experience… but you don’t endear yourself to people by gaming them. If you or your company is already famous, followers will flock to you because they can. If you’re trying to become famous, do so by being interesting and interested… not by running a game.
- Don’t follow someone back just because they followed you first. People may judge you by your followers, but they’ll judge you far more by who you follow. When you follow every random “person” who follows you first, you end up following the number-obsessed crowd, people who are tweeting purely to sell stuff, people who hope you want to look at naked people, and automated accounts that magically build up followers for their owners. If you run with that kind of crowd, that’s the kind of crowd you can hope to attract.
- Don’t chum for followers. By this I mean don’t start following someone with the sole intent that it will get them to follow you back… and then dump them because they don’t follow you back. This is really crass behavior. There are at least 50 tweets I’d be following today had they simply continued to follow me after they first started. I generally review new followers and decide who I’ll follow back every two-to-three weeks. In that time, chummers who start following usually stop. When I see this, I assume the followers were never interested in me or my twitter stream; they started following only so I’d follow them back.
I’ve seen “people” follow me four times in a three week period. This means they followed, dumped me, followed again, and so on. If it was so important to them for me to follow back, why didn’t they just tweet me about it?
- Don’t expect anything from your followers. If you choose followers because they tweet about things that interest you, let that be enough until you get to know each other. If they really do interest you, you’ll follow them even when they don’t follow you back. If being followed back is so important to you, don’t chum. Rather, follow and engage: tweet a few replies to their tweets; re-tweet something they tweet; tweet an introduction that explains why you’re following… when they see how interesting you are—and how interested you are in them—they’ll probably follow you back.
Here are links to articles that explain my approach to engaging followers on Twitter. The first, Before I Follow You, reveals the work I do before deciding to follow anyone on Twitter. My goal is to meet people who will be interested in what I have to say… and those are most likely people who say things that interest me. The second article, Why I Didn’t Follow You Back, lists the things people do on Twitter that guarantee I won’t be following them.
While more and more companies adopt social marketing strategies to lower costs and improve the quality of their outreach, even more companies are completely missing the opportunity. I read a want ad recently placed by a continuing care facility, and it motivated me to write the following response. The ad made no mention at all that candidates for the advertised position should be familiar with web sites let alone with social media. My response applies as well to nearly every business looking for a marketing specialist:
You have advertised a marketing position for a continuing care community. You’re looking for someone who is personable, creative, and flexible and who can represent your organization well. You ask for candidates having computer skills so they can produce advertising materials such as brochures, newsletters, and press releases. Wouldn’t you like to do better than that?
While traditional marketing approaches are still important, particularly for reaching a local audience, companies that are not developing on-line social marketing strategies are losing to their competitors. With 418 people joining Facebook every minute, people are getting to know companies through social networking before doing business with them. We’re quickly reaching a time when a company will not be effective at attracting customers if it doesn’t have a strong presence in online social media.
But, you object, people looking for continuing care facilities aren’t so computer-savvy; they’re not shopping on-line for a business like ours. This objection reflects your bias, but it doesn’t reflect reality. According to a recent Pew survey, the fastest-growing segment of Twitter users over a nine-month period was people aged 55 to 64. As you’re already aware, many aging Americans involve their offspring in making major life decisions… and those offspring rely increasingly on the Internet and their social networks for guidance.
From your ad, it seems as though on-line social marketing strategies are not in your thinking. That’s a shame. The continuing care facilities that hire social marketing strategists and get started on-line are going to thrive. Continuing care facilities who do not adopt social marketing strategies will struggle to understand why they can’t compete.
Best of luck!
In central Pennsylvania, I’ve seen IT professionals, government representatives, and technology policy-makers express disinterest in social media. This troubles me because these leaders of local business and industry are the people who should be encouraging businesses to employ social marketing strategies.
Social media are very rapidly transforming the business world. To appreciate why this matters, consider one dramatic difference between business today and business ten years ago: Google.
Some Useful Information about Google
Ten years ago, when you lacked information on a subject of import, how did you acquire the information? Well… you might have checked Google, but chances are you didn’t find what you wanted; the Internet wasn’t particularly evolved ten year ago. It’s more likely you assigned someone the task of getting the information for you, and they made phone calls or visited the library to consult reference materials.
Today (and by today I mean on the day you read this), Google answered more than 300 million requests for information (I know this because I Googled it). Google has become the default starting point for finding information, and with a little practice nearly anyone can solve problems quickly if they have access to the Internet.
What Google has to do With Social Marketing Strategies
Of the 300 million Google searches requested today, how many of the results led to your company’s name or web site? Here’s where social marketing strategies enter the picture.
A Google search is not a social activity and it does not exploit social media. However, if you leverage social media properly, you’ll increase the frequency that Google searches lead to your company. That alone should matter to anyone wanting to succeed in business.
When you employ social media in a coordinated and responsible fashion, you extend your company’s representation throughout the Internet. Your company emerges as an industry expert, it develops a reputation as a problem-solver, and it encourages customers and prospective customers to become involved with your company’s products and services: to participate in your company’s mission.
Participating in social media may not be enough in itself to increase your visibility on Google. However, when you coordinate your social marketing strategies properly, you encourage Google to boost the ranking of your company web site. If you’re going to compete effectively in a world where Google fields 300 million questions a day, you need to make sure Google knows your company is the answer to some of those questions.