Tools to Improve Your Social Media Marketing

Question 7 from 10 Essential Questions for your Social Media Marketing Campaign: ” What tools are available to make my time in SMM more efficient?” can be answered in different ways.

There are tools and then there are tools. Every day there are thousands (yes thousands) of blog entries and tweets about all the wonderful tools available to help you leverage your Social Media Marketing time to maximum advantage.

This isn’t another one of those messages. Instead, let me tell you about two that I use and point you in the direction of finding others.

The tool that I use to tie things together is Friendfeed. Friendfeed lets you tie your various social media accounts together in such a way that you can post once to one account and the post will automatically be updated across all your accounts.  What does “all your accounts” mean? Friendfeed can talk to your blog, to Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and YouTube to name a few. If you use pictures, it can talk to Flickr and to Picasa. If you are into bookmarking and news, it will talk to delicious, StumbleUpon, Digg and Google Reader. In fact, there are currently 58 different sites that can be tied together through Friendfeed.

That sounds a bit overwhelming.  It doesn’t need to though. You can start with just a couple and still save time by using Friendfeed. Then when you’re ready to add, you can do so and tie them into Friendfeed as you add them to your repertoire.

The second tool I use and like is TweetDeck. While it sounds like it is just a Twitter application, it actually ties into Facebook and MySpace as well, allowing you to post once but push it to all those accounts. I only use it with Twitter but even then it helps. I have a personal account twitter.com/edubrian and a corporate account twitter.com/educyber and I can post to either or both at the same time through TweetDeck.

The power of TweetDeck comes from being able to create groups. I follow more than 1400 people but it works its power even if you follow a handful. For example, you can create a group called “My Industry” and add the people from your industry into that group. You can create a group called “Customers” and add your customers to that group. And so on. The simplicity of that makes life easier and will likely encourage you to follow more people because the flow of Tweets becomes more manageable.

What else is there?

Here are just a few links I found:

42+ Social Media Marketing Tools

4 tools for easier social media management

35+ Social Media Tools That Make Life Easier

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Finding a Niche for Your Social Media Marketing

What niche social networking sites might be useful for my goals?

Question 6 from 10 Essential Questions for Your Social Media Marketing Campaign brings some interesting insights that you might not have contemplated. Everyone knows about the big sites:

But what about the little sites (or even not so little sites) that might be tailored to your needs?

Authors, for example, should take another look at Amazon and see how they can use their author account to generate more buzz around their book right on THE site for book selling.

Other sites that you might find useful (not as big as the ones above but still pretty well known) include:

Each of these sites has its own orientation and purpose. For example, flixter.com is designed so you can share your movie review with friends. Depending on your business and what you are trying to accomplish, this could be a great way to connect with customers or vendors and share information.

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Developing a Tactical Approach to Social Media Marketing

What tactics will help me accomplish my goals?

The 5th Question in our 10 Essential Questions for Your Social Media Marketing Campaign sounds pretty straightforward. Because it is. And yet how many of us dive in without thinking of how we want to get where we’re going?

Let’s say your goal is to drive more people to your site where they can learn about your incredible service offering. What tactics will help?

Provide links that make people think. For example, I might post on Twitter and Facebook a link like this for a site we are launching: “Yellow page advertising not working anymore? What’s the next step? http://advancemy.biz” Curious aren’t you? That’s the goal. Make people curious enough to click through.  A network customer of ours, Denver Tux, might post something like “Guys, worried about what to wear to prom? www.denvertux.com”. Think about how you might do this for your business.

What if you’re selling a product? Tactics might include:

  • Post a video showing the product being used or installed to YouTube or Facebook.
  • Create a slideshow demonstrating how to use the product and upload it to www.slideshare.net.
  • Creating a Facebook fan page for just one popular product and inviting people to become fans.
  • Developing a routine so that every nth (9th or 5th or whatever seems right) post to your social media accounts is showing a different feature of your product.

Without developing your tactics beforehand though, you might find yourself adrift as you go from site to site trying out different things.

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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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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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Social Media Marketing Explodes

Whew! I actually have been so busy I haven’t posted on my blog in awhile. But I have been busy with social media. Have you been keeping up? It’s no surprise if you haven’t. Social Media has literally exploded.

Twitter grew by 131% in March. Yes, in the month of March. Not January through March and not in 2008 but just in the month of March.  In the last six weeks I’ve gone from about 100 followers to nearly a 1000 and growing rapidly.

Facebook continues its incredible pace of growth as well, adding 23 MILLION new users just in the United States this year.  And the numbers are interesting in that people aged 26 to 44 are the fast growing segment of Facebook users in the US, according to Facebook’s own numbers.

LinkedIn also is growing rapidly, doubling in size last year and reaching nearly 16 million users in the US.

Three quick observations:

  1. A few years ago, companies felt obligated to have a web site because, well, because everyone else had one and it was needed for competitive reasons. The same is rapidly becoming true for companies on social media sites.
  2. These social media sites are fun. No doubt about it. But if you’re doing it for business reasons, identify what those reasons are and then proceed accordingly. This will keep you from getting bogged down in areas that aren’t helpful for your business.
  3. When you create an account or profile, by all means jump in head first. But remember to listen first then speak. If you barge into the middle of a group and start “spraying” your wisdom around without first understanding where everyone is coming from, you might actually hurt your reputation.
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5 People I Follow on Twitter and Why

  1. PublicityHound (twitter.com/PublicityHound)
    Joan Stewart is the queen of getting publicity and has developed quite a following. For any business looking to get more and better publicity, Joan provides a lot of free and low cost tips. On Twitter she mostly stays on task -focusing on Publicity, with just enough personal info to make life interesting
  2. Mashable (twitter.com/mashable)
    Pete Cashmore is so on top of what’s happening in Social Media and Social Networking that you’d be crazy to follow him on Twitter.
  3. Copyblogger (twitter.com/copyblogger)
    Brian Clark is seriously into social networking but he also posts great quotes like this recent one “I have no particular talent. I am merely inquisitive.” From Albert Einstein
  4. Schwarzenegger (twitter.com/schwarzenegger)
    The Governator actually has harnessed the power of twitter for good – using it to disseminate information and links useful to Californians. While not a Californian myself, I’d like to see more elected officials make the attempt to use new technologies to help them better communicate and stay in touch.  I guess twitter.com/govritter should get mention as well since I live in Colorado.
  5. MattCutts (twitter.com/mattcutts)
    I’ve been a fan of Google since they started at Stanford – for real. Matt is a great public face for Google on Twitter. He lets you know what Google is up to and provides some really cool information such as how to link to a specific point in a YouTube video.
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10 Key Social Media Tools for Small Business

Social Media Marketing, promoting your business through internet social media, is a good idea for any business. One of the questions I’m asked most often is “How much time does it take?” and the companion complaint I hear is “I don’t have time for that.”
My response to that is, what business is doing so well they don’t have to take time to market themselves? So, if you’ve made the decision to spend the time, here are 10 tools you will find quite helpful:

  1. Twitter: Found at twitter.com it is called a Microblogging web site. You have 140 characters per message (the message is called a tweet).  You can follow anyone and anyone can follow you. It’s a great way to connect with people in your industry, in your neighborhood, or even to see what the competition is up to.
  2. TweetDeck: Once you get into twitter, the twitter.com interface won’t be robust enough to manage the people you’re following. TweetDeck lets you categorize and segregate people you follow and makes it easy to reply, forward, or send direct messages.
  3. Facebook: Facebook.com started as a way for college students to connect but it has become big business and is a great way to connect with friends, colleagues, and potential clients. You can create a page for your business and collect “fans”. This provides a great way to communicate with “your” community.
  4. LinkedIn: LinkedIn.com started as a way to connect with others in a business environment and has rapidly begun to grow into a site that lets you form business groups and connect with people in different ways.
  5. StumbleUpon: StumbleUpon.com is a great way to track and share web sites that you come across. Instead of bookmarking them with your browser, bookmark them with StumbleUpon and you can access them from any browser. It’s unique point is being able to “stumble upon” sites that others with your interests have found.
  6. Digg: Another social bookmarking site, Digg is more focused on news kind of things but is a great way to share your sites and find out what others are “Digging”
  7. FriendFeed: Much like dogpile.com brings results from different search engines together in one interface, FriendFeed.com lets you bring all your social media sites into one feed.  You can also take your feed and import it into your accounts – I get facebook comments on my tweets because FriendFeed pulls them into my account.
  8. YouTube: I’m so keyed into the written word that I sometimes overlook the visual. But when we were not having good luck repairing my son’s iPod, he looked on YouTube and got step by step instructions. And that is why businesses can benefit – show step by step instructions on how to use your goods or services.
  9. MySpace.com: As sites like FaceBook and LinkedIn morphed to fit the changing needs of its members, myspace has grown into a “big boys” site with networking opportunities and connections similar to their more business-like counterparts.
  10. Craigslist: OK, its not really a social networking site but it is a key site to find or advertise things on and it’s pretty simple to figure out and use.
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Are you Linked In online?

LinkedIn is one of the largest business networking sites out there. Based on the premise that if I have 10 connections (people I know and network with) and each of those has 10 connections, I’m only one relationship away from 100 people.  If you have 100 connections and they have 100 connections each, well, you do the math.

So what all can you do on LinkedIn? You can connect with people, join virtual groups, many times they are virtual versions of physical networking groups. So this can be a great way to communicate between physical meetings. You can send or post reminders, share announcements and more. The benefit of doing this online is that you can reach a wider audience that might otherwise not know of your group.

If you’re looking for work, LinkedIn can be a great way to find the right job for you. There are hundreds of jobs posted but also by working your LinkedIn network, you can find opportunities that you would never know about through other ways. Through recommendations you can also let or encourage others brag about you.

Speaking of recommendations, this is another way to promote your business. Why “toot your own horn” when you have friends, customers and colleagues who are often more than happy to tout your benefits or service or value. Let word of mouth marketing work for you.

Spend a few minutes a day – literally just a few minutes, and you can build your network over a couple of weeks to the point where it can start working for you.

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Social Media Buzz

So you’re trying to grow your business and you keep hearing about Social Media and how you ought to be using it. But how? And how much time will it take? And what kind of results will you get?

Like most things in life, you get out of it what you put into it.  But let’s back up and talk about what Social Media is.  Essentially, Social Media is all about networking but doing it online instead of face to face. With that simple definition, you can see how things like blogs and forums can be classified as Social Media. But there is a classification of web site that is dedicated to this online networking amongst which we find sites such as: Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and even CraigsList.

Over the next several blogs we’ll take a look at these four and how you can use them for your business. Let’s start with one of my current favorites, Facebook. With Facebook you can build and maintain your brand. One easy way to do that is to create a Facebook Page for your business.  You can invite customers and potential customers to interact with you on your page. If you have any kind of event, you can invite others to the event all right through Facebook. Just like you have a physical brand with a sign or a logo, you can foster that brand through your own page on Facebook.

One of the major goals of any online campaign is to drive people to your web site. Once there, no matter what reason they clicked through to your site, you have the opportunity to connect them with a service or product that meets their needs. Since we’ve begun helping our customers with social media marketing, we’ve also “practiced what we preached” and are seeing a large increase in traffic to our site which translates to more business for us. Through Facebook you can send more people to your web site, reaching an audience that might not have know of you without Facebook. And this is true even for people that are right in your area.

One of the most exciting and amazing things is how you can connect and reconnect with others on the Internet. I might want to meet your accountant, for example, but not know that she is YOUR accountant.  We could know each other for a long time and that would never come up. But on the Internet I can click on your friends and see who they are and either ask you for the introduction or just connect with them directly. To some that sounds a bit scary. But it’s not. Its how social networking works.

So get started at Facebook. Looking for someone to connect with? I’ll be your friend. Look me up at http://www.facebook.com/people/Brian-DeLaet/1133345182

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