What is Social Media and how can it benefit an online marketing campaign?
Why would you waste your time messing around with Facebook or Twitter?
Isn’t that the site that the kids use to talk to their friends and to post pictures?
There is an assumption that is prevalent – particularly here in New Zealand – that LinkdIn is the only social networking site “professionals” would use. The other sites are spammy or for following celebrities or just plain juvenile.
And this is in no way bagging LinkdIn. It is a very effective platform for networking and creating connections that could lead to business opportunities.
But… and I will go out on a limb here… the real business growth comes from three massive social media platforms!
What are they?
Twitter, Facebook and Youtube.
Facebook has 700 million users, Youtube has over 300 million account holders, and Twitter is rocketing up the rankings with 190 million users.
Yes, big numbers, but how does that help business if these websites are full of piano playing dogs, movie stars going to the shops or teenagers posting weekend party photos?
The reality is that these sites have been used successfully to promote businesses for some time now. And the outcomes are extremely impressive.
With a potential market of millions and many consumers and business people around the world realising how effective social media is to market a business, product or service you would seriously be crazy to miss this boat.
So how does it work?
As each of these sites are highly interactive they rely on you as a user making use of the sites as they were intended, while making as many connections as possible. And it doesn’t matter whether we are talking about subscribers, friends, followers, fans or any other derivation here – the numbers do matter!
This is not about ego either.
Having a huge following on Twitter, a large number of fans or friends on Facebook and big subscriber and friend numbers on Youtube work in your favour in a number of ways.
To be totally honest this is where most NZ business social media campaigns fall flat.
I am going to focus on Twitter here as this is the one that so many get horribly wrong! I will look at Facebook and Youtube in future posts.
I see many Twitter accounts where the person tweeting is sending out messages many,many times every day. Then I look at the number of people following this account and the numbers are low…
…very low! Anywhere between zero in some cases to maybe 500 followers is really wasting your time if you are serious about this game. People do not see your tweets if they are not following you…period!
And because Twitter is truly international remember that people on the other side of the world may well be asleep when you send your miniature piece of brilliance out. Or they may be on Facebook or Youtube or any other of the thousands of large Web 2.0 sites!
For some reason many think that the message is going out to millions of people just by being on Twitter.
And sending the same message with a link to your website over and over again is not going to get you results either. You have to know how to engage people with your copy and establish your business as one to watch out for in the Twitterverse!
Having a highly interactive Twitter account with large numbers of engaged followers has several advantages.
Firstly, when you manage it correctly Twitter is a magnificent traffic source which brings interested, targeted people to your website. As a source of targeted web traffic it is really hard to beat.
Basic principles apply – no spamming, keep posts interesting, have a unique and interesting personalized background, make sure your profile is complete and professional, reply and thank anyone who mentions or retweets you.
Oh, and a special note!
Do not abuse people even if it is in mentions. Do not criticize other businesses or people…ever! Anyone can follow a conversation thread – even the person you are talking about – nothing is secret or private.
Secondly, Twitter has massive influence online. This means that your active account has the potential to feature in the search engine results pages. A large Twitter account will get you top page rank for your name but that is not all. In most cases it will outrank even Facebook pages on Google.
Google is beginning to index individual tweets when you use specific targeted keywords. I am seeing page one results for Twitter accounts we manage for one solitary tweet with the correct use of a keyword. This is really powerful – but you need the Twitter influence quotient to achieve this.
The other remarkable benefit is that a link directing people to your blog from a post on Twitter is often treated the same as a comment or a “pingback” at your blog. This is valuable in search engine optimization terms – high quality back-links are always welcome.
Whether it is more web traffic you are seeking, or a big growth in sales, or perhaps you are wanting to boost your SEO results Twitter can never be underestimated. The tragedy is the number of businesses which try it for a while, get it wrong, and then abandon it as ineffective. I see so many Twitter accounts where some enthused person got stuck in for a couple of months then…
They may have left the company and their replacement had either no knowledge of social media (or interest!) or perhaps because the account wasn’t being utilized correctly the sales were not happening and it was given up on.
“It doesn’t work. All hype!”
Yet, take the example of one of our clients who was somewhat skeptical about social media. We created a purely social media based marketing campaign, which saw this client’s online and offline presence grow to such an extent that they achieved their biggest ever November for sales.
Then they went on to record their biggest ever December and their biggest month for sales ever.
In a recession! Reversing a two year downward trend for their business!
It is all about the “how”.