Keys to Social Media Marketing Success
By Pam Lontos
Social Media Marketing (called SMM) is certainly the newest buzz in the PR
and marketing realm. And as with any new publicity tool, people have lots of questions on how to best utilize it.
SMM takes viral marketing to the extreme. Just as you can send friends your
favorite jokes via email, with SMM people can spread your message for you
with a simple click of a button. Itís a good type of virus that you hope
your message gets infected with.
But in order to ensure that SMM works for you in a positive way, you need to
employ some keys to success. The following guidelines will help.
Put your message on the right sites
There are literally hundreds if not thousands of social media sites today.
You need to determine where your market is and post your messages on those
sites. You donít want to get on the wrong site, as that would waste your
time and possibly hurt your credibility. If your topic is business growth or
personal fitness, for example, you donít want to be on a SMM site that
caters to people interested in cake baking. That simply doesnít make sense.
With SMM, being anywhere and everywhere is not the answer. Be strategic and
target your market for the best results.
Also realize that your market might change. Just because a certain SMM site
attracts your market today doesnít mean it will tomorrow. People are fickle
in SMM and they get bored easily. For example, LinkedIn almost fell out of
existence in November 2008. If they had not moved themselves to where their
market had shifted, they would not be here today. Now they are back to being
the biggest business SMM site. But they had to make a huge shift in the
services they provide because their market moved on them. And once the
market moves, it tends to go in mass. So if you are not watching where your
market is, it may leave the social site where youíre sending your messages,
and now your messages are going to the cake bakers again.
Understand the purpose of each site
Just as you want to post to the right SMM site, you also want to know the
goal or focus of each of the various sites. Most people, even those brand
new to SMM, have likely heard of the Big 3 SMM sites: LinkedIn, Facebook,
and Twitter. They are the most common ones out there.
LinkedIn is the leading business networking site Ė think of it like a
corporate boardroom setting. Facebook is for keeping tabs on personal and
business contacts Ė if you use it for business, think of it like
entertaining clients in your living room. Twitter is for short sound byte
updates Ė think of it as your companyís billboard message.
A couple of others you may not have heard of but that are useful for
business are Naymz and Plaxo.
Naymz is a reputation site. By registering, you are essentially doing a
background check on yourself and posting it to the Internet. Itís a well
respected site among corporate decision makers, who often use Naymz to check
people out. If you are well respected on Naymz, it goes a long way for the
Plaxo is a hub site. It allows you to link and connect multiple Internet
resources in a single place. People can go there and find their way to
everything about you, if you choose to allow that. It was one of the two
that was about to knock LinkedIn out of the top last year.
For business purposes, you may want to stay away from MySpace, as MySpace
often leaves a bad taste in the mouth of corporate America. Why? Because there have been more internal corporate scandals and sexual harassment suits
in the past year over things that have been posted on MySpace than any other single social networking site. If you currently do have a MySpace page, hide
Think in sound bites
Anyone who has done any type of PR in the past Ė print, TV, or radio Ė knows
the importance of the sound byte message. The same rule holds true when
doing SMM. You want your sound bite message to be original, useful,
valuable, fun, problem solving, and interesting. And you have to encapsulate
your message in 140 characters or less. Realize thatís 140 characters, not
words. Therefore, your message must be succinct.
That 140 character limit is not a random number. The fact is that 140
characters is the convention for text messages to cell phones
internationally. Remember, your goal is for people to take your message and
pass it along or to have it forwarded to their cell phone when your message
comes out. You donít want the ending of your message cut off because it was
too long for the cell phone to display. And donít think you can take your
long message and split it up into two or more feeds. Thatís called giving a
double message or a split, and people get annoyed by such a tactic. Do that
too often and youíll quickly lose all your followers.
Post your messages responsibly
A common question is: ďHow often should I be posting messages onto these
sites? Daily? Twice a day? Hourly?Ē Unfortunately, many people post too
often and abuse the airways. They send too many messages, which has two very
negative effects. First, you become an interruption rather than a welcome
interlude. People who are following you and having your messages forwarded
to their cell phone are constantly being interrupted by you. Now youíre a
The other problem is that search engines are designed to ignore these 140
character messages. However, there are strategic ways around that rule so
that your 140 character messages become the alerts. The problem is that the
search engines only allow a certain number of alerts per source, and it
varies per search engine. If the search engines see too many messages coming
from you during their standard interval period, they could flag you as a
search engine spammer and lock you out. So the best posting interval right
now is posting something every 48 hours, as thatís how long it takes for a
message to go through the Internet.
Take Your Publicity to New Levels of Success
SMM is the wave of the future. And when you combine your SMM efforts with
your traditional PR avenues, you can create a publicity campaign that gets
you noticed by prospects, clients, and key decision makers. The sooner you
put SMM to work for you, the more profitable your business will be.
Pam Lontos is president of PR/PR, a public relations firm based in Orlando,
Fla. She is author of "I See Your Name Everywhere" and is a former vice
president of sales for Disney's Shamrock Broadcasting. PR/PR has placed
clients in publications such as USA Today, Entrepreneur, Time, Reader's
Digest and Cosmopolitan. PR/PR works with established businesses, as well as
entrepreneurs who are just launching their company. For a free publicity
consultation, e-mail Pam@prpr.net or call
407-299-6128. To receive free publicity tips, go to
www.PRPR.net and register for the monthly
e-newsletter, PR/PR Pulse!