EduCyber Presents on Twitter at Golden Chamber

Brian DeLaet of EduCyber will be presenting on “Twitter: is it Right for Business?” at Good Morning Golden for the Golden Chamber of Commerce on Tuesday, September 1 at 7 AM (yes, in the morning)

Brian DeLaet, founder and CEO of EduCyber, Inc. will be addressing Twitter in the business context and speak to many of the concerns that business owners have regarding the time required and the purpose of using Social Media Marketing tools like Twitter.

If you haven’t registered yet, contact the Golden Chamber at (303) 279-3113 or visit the Chamber web site.

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Leveraging Your Physical Network in Social Media Marketing

How can I leverage my physical network to help in Social Media Marketing?

The 4th Question in our 10 Essential Questions for Your Social Media Marketing Campaign is a bit counter-intuitive in that we leave the cyber world for a bit. In your business or in your life you know people. Whether you’ve thought of them as your network or not, they are.

Now it is time to look at this network of business colleagues and friends and see how they can help you in your social media marketing. There are three easy ways you can leverage them without losing a friendship:

  1. Invite them to join your fan (company) page on Facebook.  By getting them to join you quickly appear bigger and when they join, each friends’ network will also be notified so you have the opportunity to connect with even more people. Having fans on Facebook is very much akin to having subscribers to your email list: they give you one more opportunity to get the word out.
  2. Follow them on Twitter. Most folks will follow you back. When I see a friend or colleague retweeting someone I’m not associated with, I’ll often check out their profile and end up following them. This gives you the opportunity again to be in front of more people. The next time you tweet about a special or event related to your business, more people will hear about it. Just make sure you return the favor by following your friends’ friends.
  3. On LinkedIn you can join the same groups. I connect with lots of folks on LinkedIn through shared groups and a natural group for me to belong to online is the same one I belong to offline: the West Chamber serving Jefferson County. I can see who else is in this group and if I know one of my connections that is a chamber member but not on the LinkedIn group, I reach out to them and encourage them to join. By helping them in the cyber world, I further cement our relationship in the physical world.

So as you enter into the Social Media Marketing world, don’t neglect your physical relationships and especially don’t neglect leveraging those relationships to take you further faster.

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Social Media Marketing: How Much Time Does it Take?

The third question in our 10 Essential Questions to Answer for Your Social Media Marketing Campaign series is “How much time am I able or willing to spend on marketing?”

The best answer I can give to that question is to use the swim teacher / coach analogy. “Coach, how long is it going to take?” you might ask. If you are nine years old and taking swimming lessons, three hours a week will probably be more than sufficient for you to learn the basics of swimming and put them into practice. If you are Michael Phelps however, the answer might be closer to 10 hours a day.

Basically the answer to this question depends on your answer to question #1. If your goal is to make a lot of money online, you will spend considerably more time than if your goal is to sell five books a month through your web site. Having said that, there are FOUR rules to keep your time productive:

  1. Plan to spend more time up front to set up your account, learn the ropes, and build out your network.
  2. When setting up your profile in Facebook or LinkedIn, create a separate document (in something like MS Word) to keep track of the different parts of your profile. This will save time when entering into new networks.
  3. Log in at least THREE times a week to update your status and add new connections.
  4. Keep your goals in front of you as you engage. There are some very interesting but non-productive facets to these networks that can draw you in unless you stay focused on why you’re doing it in the first place.

Use these rules and stick with it. Those who engage in Social Media Marketing usually end up spending more time on it (not less) as they go because of the benefits.

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Finding the Best Social Media Sites

What media (or sites) are best suited to my goal?

Once you have determined what your goals are, it is time to determine which social networking sites will best help you meet those goals. There are literally hundreds of social networking sites available to you. Outside of three or four though, they all are designed to serve specific niches. The major sites that are available are:

Facebook: Until recently we recommended Facebook primarily as a Business to Consumer web site for Social Media Marketing purposes. No longer. You can create your own “Page” for your business and invite your connections to become “Fans”. When they become a fan, it appears on their profile which can get others to join and so on. Once established, you have the ability to interact with your fans, through posts to the page, events, importing your blog feed, and starting discussions.

Facebook can also be very good if your business targets consumers. One colleague who runs a travel company simply posted on his account about an upcoming overseas trip and got several new customers. The power of searching and matching makes Facebook powerful indeed. The matching comes in when Facebook suggests people you might know or other things you might like. As a business, you can target that matching by the kinds of content you write about. You can also try the Facebook Ads to target consumers.

LinkedIn: This site is definitely a business to business web site. If your goal is hiring people, LinkedIn could be a very good resource. It can also be a great way to connect with people in your industry or market so if your goal is to stay abreast of trends and innovations in your market, LinkedIn could be a good fit. We have found LinkedIn to be a very good way to stay on top of trends but also to connect with potential clients and with power partners. If extending your network beyond your physical reach is a goal, then this would be a good way to attack it. Basically, LinkedIn is an ideal social media site if your target is other businesses. It might also be within your goal if you need ot interact with others in your market segment.

Twitter: Twitter is still just a baby but is growing quickly. As such it is difficult to have long term goals for what you want to accomplish via this site. Having said that, we recommend it for both B2B and B2C purposes. If your goal is to get more exposure and learn of the latest trends it can be very helpful. If even 1/10 of the folks who claim they’re making millions on Twitter are close to the truth, it can fit into a goal of increasing sales to consumers as well as reaching out to businesses and consultants that need your goods or services.

What other sites should you consider? Do a search for social networking websites and you’ll find plenty of places to start but some other large ones include Plaxo, MySpace, Meetup and Ning. Another class of social media is social bookmarking. Sites to consider for bookmarking are StumbleUpon, Digg, Reddit, Delicious and Technorati.

You can just jump in to Social Media Marketing but if you first determine your goals and then determine which sites will help you reach those goals, you will be more successful.

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10 Essential Questions for Your Social Media Marketing Campaign

Everybody is all abuzz about Social Media Marketing Campaigns whether it’s Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or some niche site that fits their needs. But we keep getting the same questions from customers and we basically turn the questions back around to ask them. Here are the questions that you should think through for your needs as you develop your plan. And of course, if you need help, give us a call at 303 268-2245.

Social Media Marketing Campaign Questions:

  1. What are my goals (What do I expect to get out of this)?
  2. What media (or sites) are best suited to my goal?
  3. How much time am I able or willing to spend on marketing?
  4. How can I use my physical network of contacts to help in Social Media Marketing(SMM)?
  5. What tactics will help me accomplish my goals?
  6. What niche social networking sites might be useful for my goals?
  7. What tools are available to make my time in SMM more efficient?
  8. How personal does the SOCIAL part need to be?
  9. How does my company reputation fit into SMM?
  10. How can I evaluate my SMM campaign?

By thinking through and writing down your answers to these questions, you’ll be able to keep a laser like focus on what you want to accomplish. It is important to do this so that  you don’t get sucked into the social vortex and find yourself spending all your time chatting with old high school friends or getting lost in the college daze.

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Twitter Success Story?

We resell the hosting services of a company called HostGator. We have used them for a couple of years and generally have found them to be quite good. We also talk about how to use Twitter for reputation management and customer satisfaction. So it was no surprise that I was following @hostgator on Twitter.

We recently finished a larger site that gets a lot of traffic and makes numerous calls to the database with each visit. For the first month, the site ran like a charm, with no errors. Then suddenly about three weeks ago, I came to work on a Monday and had an upset customer because none of the images were showing up. So I went to HostGator, they “resolved” the problem and, because of my questions and concerns, assured me it wouldn’t happen again.

And it didn’t happen again. Until the next weekend. On Monday I had a customer getting less patient with us. I turned to the HostGator online chat again and after they resolved the issue again “Oh, it was a different issue this time but we have definitely resolved it.” I was told. And it stayed resolved. Until the next weekend and on Monday, as I was going through the online chat, I also sent a tweet about my unhappiness with hostgator.

Soon I had a Twitter reply from @hostgator asking if they could be of assistance. After a couple of exchanges with @hostgator, I sent my ticket number. Within an hour I had both an email and a phone call from a level 3 technician at HostGator. He quickly helped me identify that the problem had not been resolved and that it was a coding issue that I needed to fix. I had asked, in each of my three chats with HostGator, if there was a problem on my end and had been assured that there was nothing I could or should do. Once I knew there was something I could do, I did it and had the issue fixed within a day.

This is definitely a Twitter success story. When working through normal channels I was not able to get my problem resolved. A few tweets later I was talking to someone who could actually identify the problem and point me towards a solution. Twitter is awesome and this is another example of how any company can use Twitter to monitor and maintain their reputation. But I have to say that HostGator let me down. I shouldn’t have had to start tweeting about this in the first place and I find it odd that I couldn’t get the support I needed from HostGator through their normal channels. Yet when I sent out a tweet, I was able to cut through the red tape and get right to the solution.

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4 Steps for Twitter Beginners

We’re going to skip over the what is Twitter questions and all the theory and get right down to how to do it.

1.       Create an account at optical amplifierhttp://twitter.com. This will only take a few minutes. You’ll need a username. I recommend using your name like firstnamelastname all run together. Alternatively you could use your company name like we do at http://twitter.com/educyber. You’ll also need your Full Name. That’s what folks will see. You don’t really need to use your name. I do for my personal account but I also added SMM so that other folks who do social media marketing can find and connect with me.

2.       Once you’ve created your account, make sure you are logged in and click on Settings. Set your Time zone, enter your web site (this is where people will go to learn more about you) and in your one line bio, be sure to use key words / key phrases that will help people of similar interests find you when they search. Some folks put goofy answers I the Location box. Resist the temptation and put your location. I went very specific and said Wheat Ridge, Colorado. I could have gone with Denver, Colorado and been just fine. Click Save.

3.        Make sure you have a good picture of your self ready to go and click on the Picture tab under Settings. Browse to the picture and save it. This might take a bit of tweaking to get the right size. Putting up a real picture of yourself helps people determine whether to follow you or not. “Is the Brian I met? Oh yes, I see his picture and it is.”

4.       Go to http://search.twitter.com and search for key phrases that interest you. Look through the results and click on the profiles of people that sound interesting. Once you’re on their profile, click the follow button if you’d like to follow them.

Don’t worry about following everybody that follows you. You don’t have to but you certainly can if you want (you’ll get an email from Twitter every time someone follows you unless you turn off this notification).

Follow people you know or are interested in knowing. I like to listen first and then join in once I understand what’s happening. I recommend that with Social Media like Twitter as well.

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