Posts Tagged ‘twitter’

Web Social Marketing Strategies for Writers Week 5: Market Samurai

Recent Web Social Marketing Strategies blog entries have summarized the meetings of Susquehanna Writers Internet Marketing (SWIM). This group of writers meets weekly in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania to learn techniques that can build Internet presence and promote their works online.

I can’t overemphasize the importance of this fundamental social marketing strategy: TWEET!!! Writers’ Digest’s recent issue has a whole bunch about social media… the writing industry is catching up with us. As the word gets out and more writers break away from traditional approaches to getting attention, it will be harder and harder to build a presence that stands apart from the crowd. WE SHOULD ALL HAVE our presences well-established before the writing & publishing industries figure all this stuff out!!! In 15 minutes a day, you can seriously build up a social network on Twitter and make a place for yourself online. So, TWEET! (Please?)

Questions About Social Marketing Strategies

A few questions had come up from one or another participant through the week. We talked about them as a group in case anyone else had run into the same issues:

Spam Robots: Terrible Social Marketing Strategies

The more involved you are with Twitter, the more likely it is you’ll attract spam robots. A spam robot is software programmed to watch the Twitter stream for specific key phrases. If one of your tweets happens to contain a phrase for which a robot is watching, the robot may follow you. In some cases, a robot doesn’t follow, it just sends an unsolicited suggestion of a link it wants you to follow; that’s pure spam and it’s good practice to report such activity.

You can report spam quietly if you follow @spam on Twitter (go to http://www.twitter.com/spam and click the follow button). @spam will follow you back. Then, when you receive a spam message (someone you don’t follow sends you a link), report the spammer by writing a direct message to spam. I usually write something like this:

d spam Please review activity of @spamrobot Looks a lot like a spam robot to me. Thanks!

If the robot follows you without spamming you, you’ll be able to tell fairly easily. Consider the checklist I published in “Why I Didn’t Follow You Back” You can usually spot a robot simply by the “New Follower” email message you get from Twitter. But sometimes you might need to click through to the new follower’s Twitter page and evaluate the twitter stream to decide if you’ve been followed by a robot.

I argue: Ignore the robot. Let it follow you unless its Twitter stream is morally objectionable. Having more followers than people you follow isn’t a bad thing. If you don’t want a particular follower paying attention to you, you can block that follower.

Spam robots must work or there wouldn’t be so many of them; what’s so bad about them? You’re building a SOCIAL network so you need to be a real person. Real people tend not to care for spam robots. You want people to get to know you and your work, not some software-produced drivel.

Keyword Versus Key Phrase?

What’s the difference between a key word and a key phrase? The number of space characters. I’m afraid I use the terms interchangeably, as does much of the Internet marketing industry. However, when you’re starting a web site or blog, these days you’re most likely not going to find a one-word key phrase on which to optimize. It would be terrific to be in position 1 on Google for a word such as faith, happiness, writing, or whatever, but getting there could require life-time commitment and prove very expensive.

So… in searching for a key phrase for which we’re more likely to rank well, we start with a very broad idea that may be just a word. Then we ask Google for suggestions and research those suggestions until we find a good phrase or two or three that meet the established Internet marketing targets.

Those targets, again, are:

  • 80 or more people each day click a link in Google as a result of a search for that key phrase.
  • There are fewer than 30,000 web pages on the Internet that have the exact phrase in them.
  • There is decent correlation between the “phrase match” and the “broad match.” That is, when people search using the words in your search phrase, do they use the exact phrase, or do they use a phrase that simply contains the same words?

Our big push for the day was to download Market Samurai and use it to do some key phrase research. We had some problems, but eventually three out of four computers had new installations running. People had brought candidate key phrases and we plugged these into the software to see where they’d lead. I’m not publishing key phrases here, but I will reveal that we each were searching in distinct areas. No one found a clear winner on Wednesday, but I hope everyone became comfortable with Market Samurai so they can continue their research at home.

Market Samurai Procedures

Start a project – We entered a key phrase for the project in the keyword box, and accepted the default project title and file path (which Market Samurai filled in when we typed a keyword. Then we clicked Create to start a new project.

Generate key phrases – We clicked the Keyword Research button on Market Samurai’s main screen…

…and then clicked the Generate Keywords button on the Keyword Research screen. Market Samurai prompted with a captcha dialog, and after completing it, we watched the keyword list box fill with suggested key phrases.

I encouraged you to pare down the list of key phrases; eliminate phrases that obviously don’t suit your intentions. I like to get the list down to 30-to-50 phrases. You remove a phrase by clicking the X to the right of the phrase. If there are phrases you want to include in your list but Market Samurai hasn’t suggested them, type them into the box labeled Add Keywords. Type one phrase to a line, and when you’ve typed all that interest you, click the Add Keywords button below the box. When the list of key phrases feels right, click the Analyze Keywords button at the bottom of the Market Samurai window. Market Samurai presents a second Keyword Research screen:

Evaluate the key phrases The box near the top of the Keyword Research page reveals settings that determine what data Market Samurai will load into the list box below. There’s already some data in that list box, but we wanted a bit more. The settings I like are as follows:

Note that I had to check the Total Searches box, change the SEO Traffic box from 80 to 0, change the Phrase-to-Broad box from 15% to 0, and change the SEO Comp box from 30000 to 3000000. Once you have the settings the way you want, click the Analyze Keywords button. It may take a few minutes, but eventually the list box fills with data:

To see items in order from highest traffic to lowest traffic, click the header of the SEOT column. Scan down this column for numbers greater than 80. In the adjacent PBR column, look for a number that is 15 or greater. In the SEOC column, look for a number that is 30,000 or lower. When you find all 3 in one row, the associated keyword may be a keeper.

Find more key phrases If you don’t find a key phrase that meets these criteria, use a few of the big SEOT key phrases to open a new tab in Market Samurai. To do this, click the key to the left of the keyword in the keyword list. Then click the new tab to activate it and use the first Keyword Research page to search for more, different key phrases that might meet the criteria.

You can save a project (pull down the File menu), but in my experience Market Samurai saves automatically, so you never have to save.

For next Wednesday, everyone should have a short list of very promising key phrases they’d be willing to use in their blogs. We’ll use Market Samurai to research the competition for those key phrases and decide whether we’ll be able to “beat” the competition’s Google listings if we do our SEO properly.

Technorati Tags: , , , , , , ,

Web Social Marketing Strategies for Writers Week 4

Recent Web Social Marketing Strategies blog entries have summarized the meetings of Susquehanna Writers Internet Marketing (SWIM). This group of writers meets weekly in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania to learn techniques that can build Internet presence and promote their works online.

So many social marketing strategies seem silly at first, so at today’s meeting I wanted to encourage everyone to work through that feeling. I described some of the acquaintances I’ve made through social media, and I explained the nature of those relationships. I exchange thoughts from time-to-time with fellow gardening enthusiasts, writers, editors, publishers, television producers, and even television personalities. All of these people participate on Twitter at least in part to connect with people who share their interests… and they help each other out.

I pointed out some of my acquaintances who have gotten jobs through their online affiliations. My hope is that by hearing these stories you’ll be inspired to get to know Twitter well and to find some interesting people to follow. I encouraged everyone to find at least one new person to follow each day, but don’t be afraid to follow more than that.

To help identify people of interest, we looked at www.twittgroups.com and www.twibes.com. I was underwhelmed by twittgroups. Though it had been vital two years ago, it was nearly unfathomable today. Twibes, on the other hand, looks very polished, and I encourage you to spend some time searching the web site. Find some appropriate Twibes and join them, and follow people who are also members. As I’ve suggested in the past: when you find someone who is very established in your niche, have a look at the people they follow. These may be good candidates for you to follow.

You Must Tweet!

I’m encouraging everyone to move beyond merely lurking. First, I suggested that you tweet your status. Tweet at least a few times a day about what you’re doing: “Starting chapter x in my book about yadda yadda.” or “I finally came up with the right illustration for the fifth page of my latest picture book.” You don’t have to get personal, just put it out there that you’re doing stuff in your niche. Yes, it seems silly. It seems very, very silly. However, these few status updates begin to build a story about you on the Internet… a story that you hope will interest other people.

Find Folks to Follow

I’m also pushing you to find interesting people to follow, and participate with them. You don’t need to say anything to someone just because you follow them. However, I promise that the more you engage appropriate people, the quicker you’ll make friends and discover opportunities—both to get help from others and to help others. Asking questions is a great way to get to know someone. If they tweet about a writing project or a book project, why not ask what they’re working on? Of course, don’t forget to review their last 20 to 40 tweets and their blog (if they have one) before asking questions they’ve already answered. In my opinion, you come across as a little silly when you ask a question someone has answered in their Twitter profile or in their most recent tweets.

Key Phrases for SEO

We reviewed fundamental strategy for finding a key word or phrase on which to build your Internet presence. Yes, I know people whose only online presence was a Twitter account, yet they became well-recognized within a niche and eventually found jobs through their Twitter connections. We’re going farther and creating a website that supports your Twitter activity and becomes a focal point for all other marketing activity related to your web presence.

You’ll get help from Google if you start with a good key phrase. Internet marketers look for phrases that have favorable search parameters:

  • 80 or more people each day click through to a web page found in a Google search using the phrase
  • The “phrase match” appears on fewer than 30,000 web pages

We looked at Market Samurai so we’d be familiar with how it works. The features that matter to us: Keyword Research and SEO Competition.

The Keyword Research module generates a list of key phrases and then lets you compare their stats. The SEO Competition module lets you compare Google’s top 10 web sites that use the key phrase you’re researching. Stats include the Domain Age (how old is the web site), the Page Rank (how authoritative does Google consider the web site to be), the Pages Indexed (how many pages does the web site have), and the number and types of back links to both the web site and to the main page of the web site. The SEO Competition module also reports whether the key phrase you’re researching appears in the right places within the web site—the URL, the site’s title, the site’s description, and the site’s header. When we install your blogs, we’ll make sure the key phrases are in all the right places. This can give you huge advantage over other web sites that may already be in Google’s top 10.

For Next Week

I asked everyone to build up the list of folks they follow on Twitter. Specifically, I asked everyone to find at least one person of influence in their niche—an editor, publisher, producer—and follow that person. There’s no need to strike up a conversation if doing so doesn’t seem appropriate. Watch and see whether you can learn from this person.

I also asked you to think about key phrases in terms of what you have to offer an audience. You need to find the intersection of what people are searching for, and what you can write (and want to write) to hold their attention. I asked you not to download Market Samurai until we can all work with it together. There is a free trial period for the software, and I want everyone to be ready to take greatest advantage of the trial period… so please DON’T DOWNLOAD Market Samurai. When you have a few decent possible key phrases to research, we’ll get to the software; let’s not start the clock ticking before then.

Believe it or not, we’re almost blogging. Finding the right key phrase is the biggest hurdle: lots of thought and research. Once you have it, you can set up a blog in about 10 minutes.

 

Technorati Tags: , , , , ,

Web Social Marketing Strategies for Writers Week 3

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:

  1. Tweet to each other (and to me, please) about whatever… get used to sending mentions and direct messages.
  2. Set up Twitter searches for phrases that you think people use when talking about things that matter to you
  3. Follow some of the people whose tweets you find as a result of your searches
  4. “Stalk” people who are following people you follow, and follow a few of those people.
  5. 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:

  1. Subscribe to the RSS feeds of a few blogs that seem relevant to your writing interests
  2. Become more confident and practiced with Twitter (see the previous list)
  3. Bring a list of keywords and key phrases to “seed” your search for the ideal key phrase
  4. 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.

Before I Follow You

Why I Didn’t Follow You Back

I look forward to seeing you all next week. I think it’s appropriate to mention: Marsha brought chocolate.

Technorati Tags: , , , , , , ,

Web Social Marketing Strategies for Writers Week 2

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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:

http://www.twittgroups.com

http://www.twibes.com

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:

http://www.google.com/sktool/#

Homework for the Week

  1. 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.
  2. Use Twitter to search on relevant topics, to identify interesting people to follow, and start following some of them.
  3. 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.

 

Technorati Tags: , , , , , , ,

An Ugly Twitter Presence

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

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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?

  6. 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.

 

Technorati Tags: , , ,

Help Wanted Ad Reveals: No Social Marketing Strategies

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:

HR Recruiter;

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!

Daniel Gasteiger

Technorati Tags: , , ,

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.

 

 

Technorati Tags: , , , ,