Monthly Archives: September 2011
This week has seen the roll out of ‘Lists’ by Facebook. This is in response to Google+’s ‘Circles’. What it essentially means is that you can separate your contacts into different lists (they won’t know which one they are in) and then send updates only to certain people. For example you might have Family, Friends and Acquaintances lists. You would update your status with a photo of a family get together to only your Family list, so that people you don’t really know aren’t let in on your personal life. Users can now also ‘subscribe’ to your feed without you having to become friends with them (like Twitter).
This is all part of Facebook, and social networking sites in general, trying to improve user’s privacy. As mentioned in our previous blog: Location-Based Social Networking: Friend or Foe? privacy is an on-going issue for social networking sites and they know they need to make their users feel comfortable with the information they are sharing if they are going to continue to use them.
However, that said I would still err on the side of caution with anything you post to the web, in any form. Even after deleting posts they can often still be cached and found in the websphere. Assume that, even if you believe you are posting to a private list, that anything you post has the potential to be seen by anyone..
At the moment these changes shouldn’t have a major effect on how organisations use social media to communicate. Facebook has already restricted organisations’ use of it by pushing them to set-up ‘Pages’ rather than as groups or people. This already came with its own restrictions before they brought in yet another change that pages will no longer be able to message ‘likers’ directly from 30th September.
Google+ still doesn’t have a place for organisations to set themselves up and will close down any accounts that are not personal. The only place that seems to, at the moment, be embracing the use of its platform by organisations is Twitter by differentiating itself as an information sharing network rather than a social network.
Maybe it is time for a new social network to take centre stage…
As with all forms of marketing, being able to measure the success of what you are doing in social media is essential. Success can come in many different forms though; do you simply want to increase your number of followers/page ‘likes’ , do you want to push traffic to your website/blog or do you want to better engage with your customers and keep your business in their mind?
Yes, having a lot of ‘followers’, ‘connections’ or page ‘likes’ can potentially help your message to be spread further, but what is more important is the quality of those in your network. Are they going to spread your message, engage with you and, ultimately, become a loyal customer…
The key to success in using social media for marketing is to build a network of quality followers, a smaller amount of people who are genuinely interested in what you are saying is much better than loads of people that really don’t care.
Make sure all posts are tagged and linked. This is how you can measure the effectiveness of your conversations. A post with no tagging or linking is a bit like shouting into thin air, especially on Twitter. If you use bit.ly to link to your blog/website, or wherever you want to send people, you can then track how many times you got people to go there.
As in our previous blog : The Three Kings of Social Media Marketing: Content, Timing and Engagement - Engagement is what social media is really all about. You can use tools like Klout to find out how much you are engaging/how influential you are – but the easiest way to measure this is to analyse your social media platforms yourself. Are you constantly posting and not getting any comments/interaction? Maybe look at what you are saying, are you engaging in conversation or are you just shouting about what you want people to hear?
You can easily use social media to market your business if you concentrate on the three principles of; having good content, sending that content at the right times and remembering that it is a two way process by engaging..
If you want people to ‘like’ your Facebook page or not stop following you on Twitter you need to make your content (your status update or Tweets) interesting to your followers. People will have generally ‘liked’ or followed you because they are interested in what your company does so make sure that you content is always true to what you do. For example, if you are a wine shop then post content about new wines you are stocking, deals you have on and little gems about the wine industry. Don’t moan about customers or talk about having to leave early to get your car fixed!?! A great way to regularly update interesting and relevant content is by linking to your own blog or a relevant article that someone else in the industry has written.
This is currently a hot topic in the world of social media and there are even tools such as WhentoTweet and TweetStats that can help you see when your followers are most active and time your updates so they have the best chance of being seen. Best practice says that you should be looking to update your Facebook page 3 to 4 times a week and your Twitter 3 to 4 times a day. The reason you need to be on Twitter more is that the feeds move faster to you have more chance of being seen. However, if you tag your posts correctly they should be getting seen by the right people anyway.
This is probably the most important part of using social media properly. If you are not engaging you may as well not be using these platforms as a form of marketing. You need to be checking all of your sites at least once a day to see if anyone has posted on your wall or mentioned you in a Tweet and you should ALWAYS respond in some way, even if it is just to say ‘thank you’ or suggest taking things offline it is a complaint (so that the rest of your followers know that you haven’t just deleted the complaint or ignored it). You should look to respond as quickly as possible and as a minimum within 24 hours.
If you start with these basic principles of social media there is no reason why you cannot become successful at using it to market your business or organisation. And, as with anything, the more you use it the better you will become and it will all soon seem like second nature.
- Melanie on Why you need a Content Strategy to make Social Media work
- Keith Osborn on Why you need a Content Strategy to make Social Media work
- Why you need a Content Strategy to make Social Media work - Social Monkey on Social Media Workshops
- Social Networking - Why Face-to-Face is still important on Norfolk Tweetup
- Melanie on Norfolk Tweetup