How to use Facebook, Twitter and a lot of social sites for marketing or branding reasons became also a trend. You can find a lot of books, blogs and web sites talking about that, but... as I mentioned in my previous post, there are a lot of implications and considerations on it.
I like to talk about my experience on blog comments.
I'v been receiving spam comments on this blog, and I also saw a very big amount of spam comments on other blogs. Comments like " hello I just want to share my site with you" , then you click the link and you find out an arbitrage links page or some other garbage stuff. But there are some other comments that you find useful and these are also part of a marketing effort. what is the difference? The famous "join the conversation" and not the "screwed the conversation"
Today it is easy to find who is talking about us or topics related to our brand / services or content, and we can add value to that blog, video, twitt, forum, etc if we do it right, but do we have to track ALL and post in all of them? the answer is obvious so here are some personal recommendations for this practice.
1.- How is your destination?
We work too much some times in promoting our content, but the experience on our sites is very poor, so the first task is easy, be sure that your site, landing page, destination its great (focus always in three things: utility, usability and likeness)
2.- Identify your keywords / topics
Like SEO, a very important activity for web 2.0 linking is identify the right keywords and topics, these will be the base for you to look for the right conversations in where you want to join in. Define specific keywords and sentences, avoid general things, this would just make you more inefficient on your conversations searching process.
3.- Search the conversation
You can search blogs / articles on blogger, google blogs, technorati, google news, digg, etc. When you look for things always focus on looking for very specific results and then, be sure that you just focus on those written on the past 5 - 7 days (not more than that). When looking for video content, look for videos posted on the last 30 days and when twitts or other real time platforms, posts from the last 3 hours.
4.- Second filter, site popularity
After identifying those relevant blogs, articles, twitts or videos. It is a very important task to select the most popular ones. You can see their total views (if you are in youtube), the # of followers, the # of diggs or the # of visits (you can find out part of this info on Alexa or using SEO digger tools). Once you know that you just found a very well written, popular and recent social media post... then you can proceed starting or participating on their conversation
5.- Undersand very well the content
Once at the blog, video or other, read very well, very, very, very well what they are talking about, what they are looking for with the content.
After you understand, then you are ready to participate: Start writing your understatement of their publication, tell them what was valuable about their post and finally GIVE, deliver value to that post, do not just post your link, enhance their conversation, either with a reference from you, or your point of view and access to go dipper on the topic, either through you directly or your customer services channels, but be sure that you GIVE VALUE to them
7.- Always be you
Do not hide your self thinking that the audience will read better a 3rd person. that could work once, but it is not honest and once some finds, the consequence could be the worst (loose your clients trust). If you have to sign in order to post something, post with your name or your brands name and your position
The join participation process is not about volume, it is about value. Learn how to do this and then slowly and step by step, start growing this, either to more comments, from more representatives, etc
Finally, remember that it is more important to listen and answer, that just post words that do not give value to anyone
I'll keep a continuous improvement process on this and some other web 2.0 marketing practices and every month me and my team analyze the results (customers reaction and goals achievement)