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10 tips for social marketing

Social marketing is commonly accepted amongst savvy marketers as an important element in the marketing mix. Not only do Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and LinkedIn offer efficient and wide-reaching ways to communicate with a global audience, but their use also can help your brand’s presence on Google, and perhaps improve the rank for your core site on the search index.

With tools like Hootsuite and Tweetdeck making it easier to disseminate content quickly across multiple outlets, the temptation is to just blast as much as possible, as often as possible across all your touch points. However, communication needs to be handled sensitively if you want to maximise your results. These tips should help.

Twitter is not Facebook is not LinkedIn

You may have written a great blog article or added something cool to your website, and it’s tempting to post the same thing across Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and other sites like Digg or Delicious. The audience for each site is different so you should tailor your posts accordingly. LinkedIn is a professional network, whose members will appreciate information but will not appreciate you endlessly talking about being on a train or watching Big Brother in your pants. Facebook is more of a collective of your friends, so the kinds of things you say there may contain more in-jokes, more rudeness and more day to day silliness, whereas many people on your Twitter list won’t know you at all, and they won;t appreciate you cluttering their Twitter home page with incessant replies to people they don’t know where they don’t know what you are talking about.

Avoid linking Twitter to LinkedIn, or Twitter to Facebook

Don’t be tempted to link your Twitter account to your LinkedIn account or your Twitter account to your Facebook account for a number of reasons. First, for the reason stated above, the audience of each is different. Second, the style of posting on each site is different. You can say so much more in a Facebook status update than you can in Twitter, so use the space available. Tweet something short with a URL that is bounced on to Facebook and you miss the opportunity to expand on what you are posting.

Remember, your company’s reputation is on the line

When you post on social sites, if you are identifiable as an employee of a company, remember you are also representing that company. You could adversely affect your company’s reputation if you start behaving in an odd or offensive manner. Likewise, you could damage business if you share information about meetings with clients that should be kept confidential. You may think it’s cool to say you have just been doing consultancy for Microsoft but Microsoft might not want the world to know.

Be informative and entertaining

If people find what you say useful, or enjoyable, they will welcome your posts. If you simply post rubbish a lot of the time, or appear to post just for the sake of it, you are as likely to lose them as followers as you are to gain their loyalty.

Quantity, not quality?

80% of Twitter users apparently update their status from a mobile device. It’s tempting, in the age of the smart phone, in a cafĂ©, in a shop, in a meeting or on the toilet to just type a quick message and tell your followers what you are doing. DON’T. In a professional environment it is annoying to most people. We all eat stuff, go places and pick our nose. There’s nothing special about telling everyone about it all the time.

Use popular topics and keywords

If you want to be noticed and have more people follow you on Twitter, comment on popular topics; reply to “tweeps” with big lists of followers in the hope they will acknowledge you; mention subjects in your sector that will attract followers of similar interests who are likely to then share the things you say. On LinkedIn, you can gain visibility by using the Answers facility to answer questions, or asking your own, in a subject area.

Be unique, but share good stuff

You are more likely to have your posts forwarded by others if you give them unique content – your own discoveries, news no one else has yet promoted, interesting observations – than if you just forward things from other people. Sharing and “re-tweeting” other people’s content is a good way, though, of staying visible, being active on your friends’ pages and passing on things people will, hopefully, thank you for sharing. Don’t just rely on rehashing other people’s content though. Be original where you can.

Automatic for the people

Some people like to have as many friends and followers as possible – thinking “the more the merrier” and that quantity will generate more income. Auto-following is a popular ploy (you automatically follow on Twitter anyone who follows you). Many tweeps also like to auto-reply to people who follow them. Again, choosing who you follow rather than being controlled by a desire to appear popular will bring better quality relationships. Some tweeps refuse to follow people who don’t care who is on their lists.

Mind your manners

Treat social networks like real life. In a group of your closest friends you might relax your manners, be jokey and rude, but in public you would behave with a little decorum. At a business networking event you would be polite and friendly. Behave online as you would off, and don’t fall into the trap of thinking, because you are talking to a screen, people will excuse you being more aggressive, dismissive or impatient.

Most of all, remember your core business

Most importantly, if you are using social networking as a business tool, remember your core business. Your marketing and your social media communication should all feed your offline goals. There is a temptation to do things just because everyone else is doing them. If everyone else is doing them, there is a good reason they are doing them, but you still have to understand your own reasons for doing them and what you want to get out of doing them.

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