Conversations about your brand are happening – whether you partake or not. What are customers and competitors saying? How can you differentiate your company from all that chatter? Where, online, are these conversations happening?
Mambo has chosen ten social media techniques as business-critical for today’s marketplace.
1. Listen to Conversations on Social Media. Run a social media monitoring program to keep tabs on chatter about your product or company. Discussions and opinions are happening on forums, Facebook, blogs and a slew of other sites – hear what they are saying so you can respond strategically.
2. Join Other Thought Leaders. Set-up a personal and company profile on Linkedin.com. Contribute to “Groups” and “Answers” discussions. This builds awareness for your company, establishes your brand voice, and most importantly, positions your personnel as thought leaders in the industry. LinkedIn participation also boosts SEO presence and raises awareness in your industry.
3. Build Credibility by Posting on Third-Party Sites! Start a Delicious page dedicated to your company. As a social bookmarking site, Delicious is an excellent service to house your press releases, company news, analyst reports and other raves all at one location. Deliver a custom, comprehensive picture of your brand to prospects, experts and customers. Then drive traffic to that dedicated Delicious page.
4. First Impressions on Google matter. Google your company or product. Follow all the links on the first page. That’s what customers and analysts first see. Investigate which links rank highest. What do they reveal about your company? Is it positive or negative? Live or dead? Corporate or competitor? Counteract with Search Engine Optimization (SEO) tactics.
5. Try a Team Blog! Start a company blog, authored by leadership or a spokesperson, and commit to write one entry per week. Host guest bloggers or better yet, have a team of experts impart their subject matter expertise. Intel created an entire ad campaign around their engineering blog, https://blogs.intel.com/csr/tag/engineering. Blogs are a great way for customers to learn about your company and movements in the marketplace. Be sure to add a RSS function to build a captive audience.
6. Make it Easy for Brand Advocates to Find You. Create a “fan page” on facebook.com. Include links and information for the diehard and update your “wall” regularly. In all likelihood, consumers won’t visit your website each day. But they are visiting facebook.com many times a day! To see a famous example, check out President Barak Obama’s facebook page: https://www.new.facebook.com/home.php?ref=home#/barackobama. They even list his favorite books and musicians. Very Cool.
7. Build Brand Persona by Tweeting. Start tweeting; share information, links, pictures and insights about your industry. Follow any and all connected to your business or expertise. Use established hashtags, or create your own. Hashtags are just a simple way to search for categories or topics on twitter.com. Tweeting adds color for small businesses (https://twitter.com/ltwersky), local businesses (https://twitter.com/jackpotrecords), customer service (https://twitter.com/comcastcares), and big brands (https://twitter.com/mkreflections). For the first time, Web 2.0 has given consumers access to executives or decision makers at companies, so offer up principals (https://twitter.com/quixotic).
8. Get Viral, and go Meta. Add your top social media links to signature lines in emails and to your corporate homepage. Example: Follow me on twitter.com to get updates. Remember, your target audience may not visit your website every day, but they spend time on social media sites regularly and are receptive to your message.
9. Wikis Afford Companies Control of Content. Wikipedia is a mainstay of online authority. Is your product or company in the world’s only encyclopedia created by everyone? If not, draft an entry. Submit it to wikkipedia.org, but be sure to read their submission guidelines. Avoid marketing language, and just detail the facts about your company.
10. Visualize your Company. Start your own YouTube channel, Slideshare account or Flickr page. Post visual assets – video, photos, or presentations, respectively – to each page. A viewer can follow your contributions on the site by marking a channel a “favorite.” All can be leveraged for viral marketing: a fan sees your worthy contribution, and shares it with their network. Without spending a dime, 20 people have learned about your company!
Where to begin? Start small.
Experts at Mambo’s The Beat suggest becoming proficient at just one tool. Build a stellar fan page on facebook.com or create an editorial calendar for your next month of tweets. Dedicate yourself to blogging about one product, with input from staff or influencers. Any one of these activities improves your Search Engine Optimization (SEO), especially if you link back to your website.
Web 2.0 affords your company multiple ways to nurture a relationship and a create dialogue with customers and prospects, allowing you to build an audience that leads to selling and profits.