Saturday, September 19, 2009

Promoting your content on social media it is not just making comments...

Social Media increased the number of content creators. Now we also see new platforms in where we can publish in different ways, for different purposes, different kind of messages, etc.

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.

6.- Participate
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)

Thanks!

Friday, September 4, 2009

Social, social, social... ok, but...

It has been a while since I do not write on my blog. This time I have some thoughts that I like to share again.

During the past years the digital marketing opportunity became more active (which is good). The web communications keep growing and growing and every day we see more brands and companies participating on-line.
But... during the past months all of them or almost all of them want to do something related to social.

I like their excitement about that, but... do they know what to do? do they have a real strategy? or we are starting to build just based on buzz?

How many brands are doing social web experiments right now, but they just are "doing" something, but they are not developing a strategy. How many brands are going to fail and they wont try to do anything else in the future years, because they tried, and they did not have any result as they expected?

Now we hear that they want to be on Facebook, Twitter, Youtube or they want to build their own social platform, but just because they want to be there or build their own social network and not because they can enhance the client experience (better product, better service, support, marketing...)

Their main focus must be first in their own product, then on how to communicate it to their own targets and then build a relationship and YES they can support their commercial funnel using social platforms but only if it is necessary. Nowadays we can see that we can be part of a group, fan or follow brands and products that we might use, but our relationship with these brands do not motivate us to have an ongoing communication with them, or we do not want to share our private spaces with them or we do not want to share with others on sponsored platforms.

My point is:
1.- Brands. Please focus first on your product
2.- Based on your marketing strategies define what is the best medium to do awareness about the products or services
3.- If the brands want to have a conversation with their targets "maybe" the on-line platform could be part of the solution, but identify if your brand has a personality like the one the targets want to get in touch with or if the product / service or brands is only a commodity to their target or they do not want to see it next to their friends or interests.
4.- All on-line destinations could be the solution, but it is important to define what to say and then where to say it. I could follow the latest bargains to fly to a vacation destination, but that (to me) do not mean that I want to be a fan, be part of a group, enroll in a sponsored social networking platform related to an airline. I want to follow a topic, not an airline.

I learned that all implementation should focus on
Utility
Usability
and Likeness

All your communications should be useful for your target. Your website, your keywords, the comments on a blog, the posts on social platforms, display ads, etc...
Then all of the them should be on the right context. Maybe a social platform or maybe a lot of them, but also maybe just distributing your content on Non social sites, but highly related to your topic and audience. Think how usable your message would be on the environment you are planning to share it
Finally... work on the best way to show it (the best possible copy, image, etc...) if the message is the right one, on the right medium, but it is not attractive to your audience, then you could fail

I wrote all of these, because the web YES it is for everybody, but the social / web 2.0 platforms are not or at least you should think how to participate, maybe is just analyzing the content and not building a YouTube mimic site for your brand or company. There are more options that could give your better effectiveness.

Finally.. work with people who have real experience and not people who just finished a web 2.0 book or always read TechCrunch or other blogs. Work with agencies who understand the medium not who says they know how to do. It is incredible the amount of "consultants" who claim to know about this, but they just have good intentions, but any experience.

I know a company who wants to do something, leverage the power of the communities, but they want to build something and it is kind of obvious that their audience do not want to be in a brand sponsored environment... The real opportunity it is the connection development between the brand and its audience, but not having a site and track visits

Anyway these are just my thoughts and I wanted to share it with you