What is your social media strategy?


What is your social media strategy?  Are you a bigmouth? A “like” weasel?

I was reading a Social Media Dudes post called “5 Types of Social Media Strategies” and they have really hit the nail on the head about the varied types of approaches that are taken to Facebook marketing.

1)      The bigmouth. The bigmouth never shuts up about themselves. This is the company where every post is a one-way broadcast of marketing messages. This means non-engaging posts about new products and content that includes links to watch your new commercial.

A great example is the Hyundai page, whose idea of engaging content is “High-five your screen if $0 down, plus bonus cash savings on Sonata and Sonata Hybrid sounds awesome.” Huh?

Don’t be a Bigmouth!

2)      Like Weasel. This is the company where every post is a “like if.”  This is the most shallow way to share your message.  Sure you may get people to fall for it, but the result will not build lasting engagement.  I can see using a like-grab every so often, but you need to dedicate your page to creating value, not to generating hollow likes. If your content is good, you shouldn’t have to prompt people to share it.

3)      Promotion. Hotels.com can’t shut up about the deals they are offering.  How about building a little engagement so people don’t stop following your page, like I did?

Don’t be a social media hoe!

4)      One Hit Wonder. This is the prompt that says “help us get to 1,000 fans” or “help our video take off.” The problem here is that you are getting clicks based on getting your fan count up.  What then? Are these people going to buy from you? Probably not.  You haven’t created any bond between customer and company. You’ve become a social media hoe!

5)      The ones who do it right. Please read this great post from Valeria Maltoni.  A quote: “Getting started in this way of thinking is simple: put a big post-it next to your workspace that says, “how does this help the user kick ass?” and then ask the question about everything. Every feature consideration, every paragraph, every slide. Never quit asking. You will begin to know when you have deviated into something that makes YOU look like YOU kick-ass, because your justification will sound weak even to you :)”

There are a lot of ways you can create value for your user, which I have gabbed about endlessly in previous posts. You don’t need to tell them how great you are if you’re providing value, they’ll figure it out. Now shut up about yourself!

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Optimizing and boosting your YouTube Rankings


Figure 1 – check out all of the search terms people used that landed them on a tennis instructional video. Expand your keyword!

Heidi-ho friends!

I was reading this article by Chris Sietsema about optimizing your YouTube content. I think the author is mostly right on, but I’d like to augment his ideas with a few tips of my own. Remember, YouTube is searchable, and anything that is searchable can be optimized!

1)      Make entertaining content. I think entertaining is the wrong word here; it conjures up painful images of corporate suits ordering the marketing department to create a “viral video.”

I think a better word to use is relevant.  Make your videos relevant.  Every business has knowledge to share. It’s just a question of when and how you share it.

A good example is this video about the odds of filling out a perfect NCAA bracket. This video was released just before the 2011 NCAA tournament and got the majority of it’s views around that time.  Now, you may be thinking, “Hey, this video only has 5,000 views.” However what you are not noting is that this video will be relevant every March, anytime someone searches YouTube for “perfect NCAA bracket.”

Sietsema also cites the ingenious “Will It Blend?” video series, which manages to make product demonstration entertaining.

The “Will it Blend” series is a great example of entertaining YouTube marketing and it costs almost nothing to produce. The videos are brief, informative and entertaining. Plus, they provide tangible product benefits.

Find some bit of important knowledge that your business can add to YouTube and start to plan not only what you will release but also when would be the right time to put that content forward.

One more note – keep it brief. I would keep your video at three minutes or less if possible.

2)      Find your keywords. This is absolutely essential in order to get your video noticed.  Whenever you upload a video, you have the option of adding keywords.  Think of any possible search term that someone interested in your video might use in the YouTube search box.

Take a look at the search terms people plugged in that brought them to this instructional/promotional video about tennis lessons (figure 1). The video profited from those searches by adding in keywords like Serena, Roddick and Sampras.

Additionally, Sietsema notes the importance of the YouTube Keyword Tool.  This is a great, free resource that allows you to see the top search words that have led people to videos on that topic.  You can also past in the URL of a video and see the search words that brought people to that video.  Try it now – and then incorporate the phrases that have garnered the most searches into your keywords.

Don’t worry about making the most polished video in the world. Just make something that is interesting, brief (three minutes or less), authentic and – hopefully – entertaining.

I encourage you to check out the rest of Sietsema’s article, where he goes into detail about optimizing video on your website. More so, I encourage you to think about ways you can create optimize your YouTube presence for improved marketing.

Until next time…

How to become a social media pop star


This is a must read Hollywood Reporter article about homegrown pop phenomenon Austin Mahone.

Mahone has transformed his bedroom into a bank vault, selling 10 minute Skype chats to tween girls at $50 bucks a pop. That’s in addition to his concerts and merchandise.

He did it without an agent or record label, and he has built his career on solid principles of social media success – ones that can be duplicated for any business, not just pop singing.

  • Go where your customers are! Mahone has 762,000 Twitter followers, 482,000 Facebook fans, 350,000 Instagram followers and 74 million views on YouTube. He is engaging fans on multiple platforms.
  • All of your web and social media efforts should support each other – none are a solo act. Mahone started out on a YouTube channel with 800 followers from a previous venture.  he notes, “I promoted myself on Twitter and Facebook as hard as possible, nonstop.”  This is a great example of engaging using your successful social platforms to boost your other vehicles.  This may be your website or, in Mahone’s case, your YouTube presence.
  •  Be social, stupid!  The article notes: “’People started realizing that if they commented on my videos, I’d reply to their comment, so I started getting a lot more views and comments.’ In two months, he was up to 20,000 subscribers.”  Social media is not a one-way broadcast channel. It’s a conversation between brands and fans.  They are agreeing to give you a piece of their valuable social time, so you need to acknowledge and reward that effort.
  • Content is king! Mahone posts relentlessly, ensuring that his momentum doesn’t slow down.  In the social network world, attention is currency. You have to be entertaining, relevant, and produce enough content to keep fans coming back.

I’ve never heard any on Mahone’s music, but I sure can appreciate his marketing smarts! There are a lot of college grads who could learn a  thing or two about social media marketing from this high schooler.

Until next time…

 

 

Make it easy to socialize your website


By now, we all know that social media is the place where most companies are now focusing their efforts.  That means that your website needs to be equipped for social sharing.  Attention is the currency of the internet, and you can’t get attention without word of mouth.

Image 1 – Puma’s social sharing

In image one, you can see how Puma all0ws you to socially share their products, encouraging you to post the image on Pinterest, to “Like” it and to Tweet about it.  This allows the customer to share things that they are passionate about.  Puma is not scared of you using their copyrighted images on Pinterest, they are encouraging it.  That’s because they will reach a much bigger audience through social sharing than they ever could through traditional advertising.  What’s more, the message is more trustworthy because it is coming from one of your Facebook or Pinterest friends.

While clothing is a great product for social sharing, this can be applied to many types of businesses. At your next brainstorming session, have a discussion about what items on your website would be good targets for social sharing.  I’d be interested to hear the results.

Another great item for social sharing is news.  If you put any type of news on your site – press releases, articles, blog posts, whatever – make sure it has social sharing functions attached.  Not only will this share your content, but it will also allow you to track the sharing via Google Analytics.  Keeping track of which items generate a lot of shares can give you a better idea of what appeals to your readers.  This is what you call Actionable Analytics.

Image 2 – This news article from Stanford University encourages social sharing.

In image two, you can see some social sharing links, which you should incorporate into any type of “news” that you put out.

(A side note: I’m of the opinion that you should put out news as much as possible.  Anything that happens at your company.  Cast a wide net, see what people like, and then start crafting your messages to meet the audience’s tastes.)

Showing the number of Tweets and Likes helps encourage sharing by showing the reader that others are doing it.  Adding your page to StumbleUpon will also help people find you (more on StumbleUpon in the future!).

What items on your website have you made sharable? What website items are you thinking about adding social sharing to?  Please let me know in the comments below!

Until next time…

Balanced web marketing


We often discuss using social media to support your website, driving visitors in. While the social should support the website, the website must also support the social.

I view the website, social media and email marketing as a triangle – each element should support the other two and none should be seen as the be-all-and-end-all.  Your email marketing should have social media and web links in it, your website should contain an email sign-up and social media links and your social media channels should contain some links back to your site and the opportunity to sign up for email communications should be offered occasionally via social media vehicles.

Your online marketing needs balance!

The underlying strategy should be to build as many communications bridges as possible to your

customer, building trust and affinity. That means sending useful information in your email and social media channels, not just mindless marketing broadcasts.

Above all, all of these mediums should provide people with useful information.  If it is all sales broadcasts the audience will tune you out.  Content is king – make sure yours is worth the customer’s time.

It’s the content, stupid! Content creation and curation.


Content is king!

When addressing the issues with their web marketing, the first idea is often, “we need a new website.”

Rather than spend thousands on a website redesign, the truth is that many businesses can use sound web content strategy to make their site appealing to visitors.

No matter how beautiful your site is, if the content sucks, the visitors will not come. And, if the content never changes, they won’t come back. The same is also true for social media. People won’t follow your Facebook page just because it’s there – you have to inspire then to visit, interact and share.

Where can I get content?

Generating a consistent flow of content can be a daunting task. Here are some ways to make it easier:

Where does he get that wonderful content?

1)      Curate: The web is full of mofos like me, spewing out tips and opinions. Whatever industry you are in, you can find tons of people writing about it: education, healthcare, pest control.

I recommend finding a few relevant bloggers that you like and subscribing to their email lists.  Then you will get content delivered to your inbox every day, and you can choose what to share with your readers. Also, Twitter is a great place to find a lot of good articles.  Follow some Twitterers in your field of interest and check in daily for some good ideas.

This is not stealing; it’s an accepted practice to reprint other people’s blogs as long as you note where the information came from.

What I often like to do is use ideas/quotes from someone else’s article and then write my own thoughts on their viewpoint or topics.  It’s a good way to get inspired when the idea well is running dry.

2)      Create: Look around the marketplace and find that which would help customers and which you can create.

Say you are an accounting service.  You may want to create videos about tips on deductions (maybe “5 Big Deductions You Might Be Missing”) or a list of tips to keep from exceeding your holiday budget.

These are actual, helpful pieces of information that your customers can use.  And remember that when you create content, it may be cited by other bloggers and people in your industry, establishing you as an expert.

And remember, a content calendar can help you plan out what to say when. This will help you find content that is more relevant to your customer at the right times.  Relevance = timeliness and proximity. Ex: If you are offering tips to eat smarter on vacation, plan to use it in the summer.

With the variety of platforms out there now, like YouTube, Pinterest, Flickr, etc., there is no limit to the types of content you can create and curate.  You are only limited by your ambition and imagination.

Until next time…

 

From Mashable: YouTube ‘Suggested Videos’ Now Favor Longest-Watched


I just saw this article and thought it fit nicely with the article I posted on Tuesday about crafting successful online videos.

YouTube ‘Suggested Videos’ Now Favor Longest-Watched

By Lauren Indvik

YouTube has altered its suggested videos algorithm to favor videos that are watched for the longest periods of time.

Previously, suggested videos — which appear as related videos on watch pages, or recommended videos elsewhere on youtube.com — were served up based on the number of people who clicked on those videos. Now, YouTube videos that trigger the longest viewing times will be prioritized.

In a post, YouTube said the change was instated to serve up better and more relevant content to audiences. But it also seems to penalize those who create shorter videos.

A 30-second video that averages 25 seconds of viewing time is less likely to be recommended than a four-minute video that averages 28 seconds of viewing time — which makes us wonder if this isn’t more about delivering impressive engagement numbers to advertisers than bettering the experience for YouTube visitors.