Social Media: Why Bother?

Social Media can be defined as “participatory online media that utilizes the group to write and direct content, rather than a read-only media. Allows for direct contact between participants.”

Social Media dominates the lives of people in the United States on a daily basis. Whether you like it or not, Social Media is the present and the future, and there is no turning back. Your competition may already know that Social Media is a necessary component of marketing in today’s world, and they may or may not be taking advantage of that. Don’t wait to find out. Expand your web presence by starting a strategic Social Media Marketing campaign.

If that’s not enough to get you thinking, Google now significantly recognizes Social Media in its search algorithm that is used to determine a siteʼs search ranking. Running a Social Media Marketing campaign will benefit a companyʼs position on search engines.

No one can promise instant success, massive wealth, or millions of followers. If your market is online, they can be reached using Social Media. The rest is up to you. Expect the following:

  1. Increased website traffic
  2. More leads, brand loyalty
  3. Brand awareness

[One important disclaimer: Using these Social Media networks is free. Your time is not. If you do not have the time to market your business online, find a professional.]

It’s time to get the ball rolling! Make sure you’re not the guy who is sitting at the starting line with a flat tire after everyone has already taken off.There are 3 key Social Media networks to which you should pay special attention: Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.

Chapter 1: Facebook

According to Social Media Today, in April 2010 an estimated 41.6% of the U.S. population had a Facebook account. Since you’re reading this blog online, I assume you probably already have an account. Read on to find out what you can do with it.

INTERACT with Consumers

Facebook is a social networking service and website. It allows both people and organizations to create a searchable presence within the network, while also creating visibility via search engines (i.e. Google). A personal presence on Facebook is called a Profile, while an interest group, company, or other presence is called a Page.

Users can create profiles with photos, lists of personal interests, contact information, and other personal information. Users can communicate with friends and other users through private or public messages and a chat feature. They can also choose to interact with Pages.

HOST Content

Both Profiles and Pages can manage photos, videos, and text entries. These can be used for coupons, announcements, commercials, employee profiles, testimonials, and more.

Facebook has a built-in Review/Testimonial feature.With reviews, your fans and customers can leave honest opinions about your business. Reviews let your prospective fans know what to expect with you, and can influence people interacting with your business.

POST Links to External Content

Sometimes the best way to interact with your connections is to post a link to your company website or blog (for example, a contact form, product listing, or interesting video).

WHY DO I NEED IT?

  1. Reach a market by participating in discussions. Gain local visibility on the Facebook Places directory.
  2. Create brand awareness, and familiarity by appearing on the Newsfeed.
  3. Cultivate trust through building relationships with potential clients.
  4. Boost rankings on search engines through extra links.

Bottom Line:

Facebook is a real-time communication channel that allows you to easily INTERACT and keep in touch with people in your community. You can easily put photos, videos, content, and incentives right in front of your market. Contact us to learn more.

Chapter 2: Twitter

According to Twitter, here are the 7 things you can do with a Twitter account:

  1. Share photos and behind the scenes info about your business. Even better, give a glimpse of developing projects and events. Users come to Twitter to get and share the latest information, so give it to them!
  2. Listen. Regularly monitor the comments about your company, brand, and products.
  3. Ask questions of your followers to glean valuable insights and show that you are listening.
  4. Respond to compliments and feedback in real time.
  5. Reward. Tweet updates about special offers, discounts and time-sensitive deals.
  6. Demonstrate wider leadership and know-how. Reference articles and links about the bigger picture as it relates to your business.
  7. Increase loyalty. Retweet and reply to great tweets.

INTERACT with Consumers

Twitter is an information network made up of 140-character messages called Tweets. It’s a new and easy way to discover the latest news (“whatʼs happening”) related to subjects you care about. Twitter contains information your potential customers will find valuable. You can use Twitter to quickly share information, gather market intelligence and insights, and build relationships with people who care about your company. Often, a conversation about your industry is already happening on Twitter.

Twitter is estimated to have 200 million users, generating 200 million tweets a day and handling over 1.6 billion search queries per day.

POST Links to External ContentSometimes the best way to interact with your connections is to post a link to your company website or blog (for example, a contact form, product listing, or interesting video).

WHY DO I NEED IT?

  1. Reach a local audience by capitalizing on local trends (popular keywords).
  2. Gain visibility by participating in discussions related to your industry.
  3. Create brand awareness, and familiarity by appearing in followersʼ feeds.
  4. Cultivate trust through building relationships with potential clients.
  5. Boost rankings on search engines through extra links.

Bottom Line:

Twitter is a real-time communication channel that allows you to easily AMPLIFY your online influence and keep in touch with people in your market, while showing yourself to be an industry authority. Contact us to learn more.

Chapter 3: YouTube

INTERACT with Consumers

YouTube is a video-sharing website on which users can upload, share and view videos.Both Google and Bing take Facebook “Likes” and Twitter retweets into account when determining organic search rankings. On top of that, YouTube has grown to become a powerful search engine in its own right.

HOST Content

Your channel is your home for broadcasting on YouTube. It’s the place to house the videos you make (“Uploads”), the videos you love (“Favorites”), and the videos you’ve organized (“Playlists”). You can easily embed any video from YouTube on any website.

Be FOUND

YouTube allows you to tag your video with specific keywords. Along with your username and video titles, this will have a defining role in determining your search ranking both on Google and YouTube.

WHY DO I NEED IT?

  1. Reach your market by participating in discussions
  2. Gain visibility by capitalizing on trending topics and searches
  3. Create brand awareness and familiarity with a library of industry-specific videos
  4. Cultivate trust through transparency and familiarity
  5. Boost rankings on search engines through extra links

If your customers know who you are before they need you, they will call you. If they trust you, they will feel comfortable doing business with you.

Bottom Line:

YouTube is a free communication channel that allows you to easily BROADCAST your brand and message to the online community. Contact us to learn more.

Bonus – Chapter 4: Social Media Landing Pages

WHAT CAN I DO WITH THESE?

For the sake of brevity, let’s just consider two of the most prominent social media landing pages: About.me and Flavors. [For personal professional use, Zerply is a great option as well.] If your website is not set up to effectively include links to your Social Media properties, or if you just want a simple, attractive hub for your stuff, read on.

ORGANIZE and SYNDICATE your Social Media Presence

Social Media Landing Pages are designed to give you something like a business card on the Web, where you can post a photo or classy design in the background, with links to your various Social Media properties in the foreground.

That also means that these wonʼt work if you donʼt use other services. Most people link to their Facebook and Twitter accounts. They support all of the major networks and services – Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, FourSquare, Flickr, YouTube, and more.

The service also lets you link to websites you may have elsewhere on the Internet, such as your company website. Ultimately, About.me brings in the best of the Web that you already own and control – regardless of whether you own or host it yourself – and shows it to visitors that you specify. When you give people your About.me or Flavors.me URL, youʼre giving them additional information about yourself that you want them to see. If you donʼt want them to see your Facebook profile, just remove it – if youʼd rather link to your own self-hosted blog, you can do that too.

Itʼs a simple way to expand your online influence. It will act as a funnel for your visitors and help to increase your number of visitors.

WHY DO I NEED THEM?

  1. Gain visibility through the About.me directory
  2. Create a central hub for your various Social Media efforts.
  3. Boost rankings on search engines through extra links.

Bottom Line:

Social Media Landing Pages act as a central “HUB” for viewing your various social media properties. Contact us to learn more.

Wrapping It Up

SEOmoz followed me on Twitter in June of this year. Also in June, the co-founder and Director of Innovation of RavenTools followed me on Facebook and Twitter. On August 16, I was at a Gigwalk Meetup, and was recognized by name by two attendees. The next day, I was at the SES Conference expo in SF and RavenTools’ Community Manager recognized my face in the crowd.

Your company name and brand image should be recognized in the same way.

Contact Sequoia at info@sequoiaims.com for more information.