The concept behind Social Media Marketing (SMM) is simple!
Implement changes to optimize a site so that it is more easily linked to, more highly visible in social media searches on custom search engines (such as Technorati), and more frequently included in relevant posts on blogs. Here are some tips I use to help guide me through with conducting an SMM campaign for a client’s website.
- Increase your linkability – This is the first and most important priority for websites. Many sites are “static” – meaning they are rarely updated and used simply for a storefront. To optimize a site for social media, we need to increase the linkability of the content. Adding a blog is the first step.
- Make tagging and bookmarking easy – Adding content features like quick buttons to “add to del.icio.us” are one way to make the process of tagging pages easier, but we go further than this, making sure pages include a list of relevant tags, suggested notes for a link (which come up automatically when you go to tag a site), and making sure to tag our pages first on popular social bookmarking sites.
- Reward inbound links – Often used as a barometer for success of a blog as well as a website, inbound links are paramount to rising in search results and overall rankings. To encourage more of them, we need to make it easy and provide clear rewards. From using Permalinks to recreating Similarly, listing recent linking blogs on your site provides the reward of visibility for those who link to you.
- Help your content travel – Unlike much of SEO, SMM is not just about making changes to a site. When you have content that can be portable such as PDFs, Video and Audio, submitting them to relevant sites will help your content travel further, and ultimately drive links back to your site.
- Encourage the mashup – In a world of co-creation, it pays to be more open about letting others use your content within reason of course. Like YouTube’s idea of providing code to cut and paste so you can embed videos from their site, which has fueled their growth. Syndicating your content through RSS (I recommend feed-burner) also makes it easy for others to create mashups that can drive traffic or augment your content.
- Be a User Resource – even if it doesn?t help you Add value to users, including outbound links to areas that could help them with their goals and purposes. Deployed corrected, even if you link to competitiors you stand to gain as the communities first source of information finding. How will this help SMM? Folks will link to your social site and tag is as helpful or the ‘ultimate’ guide in that space. As this adds up, it will become more and more relevent in search engine results.
- Reward helpful and valuable users – Often helpful or popular users will be influencers and champions within your social site, devise ways to elevate them buy promoting their works on the homepage, or develop a rating system. Sometimes a quick email or note in private telling them you appreciate them can go a long way. Some folks have done that to me, and I do that as well. Only do if sincere. Perhaps this is not truly SMM, but it will help to keep the most valuable members of a community closer to your site.
- Participate – Join the conversation. Social Media is a two way street, lets not forget that. By conversing with the community you are creating awareness and prolonging your buzz. You are keeping it going and this often results in a snowball effect. Participating helps your message spread further and faster.
- Know how to target your audience – If you don’t even know your target audience you are in trouble. I would love to have everyone using my product too, but you need to be realistic. There is always going to be a certain audience you can appeal to and others that you can’t. So know your appeal and who it is appealing to.
- Create content – There are certain kinds of content that just naturally spread socially. It does not matter what industry you are in and what boring products you sell, there is always some kind of content that can be created that will work. Whether it is creating widgets, making people laugh, or writing a whitepaper, it can be done. Know what type of content can work for you and create it.
- Develop a SMM strategy – define your objectives and set goals. Be fully aware of what your desired outcome is as a result of performing these tactics. Reputation, sales, influence, credibility, charity, traffic/page views, etc.
- Choose your SMM tactics wisely – Be cognizant of what actions will influence the desired outcome with the most impact.
- Make SMM part of your process and best practices – As with good SEO, SMM tactics should become part of your organization’s best practices. Find ways to incorporate SMM tactics at the “template” level of document creation and as part of information distribution. Minor things like encouraging social bookmarks and rewarding incoming links as a standard practice across the organization can go a long way.
There are many other techniques. These are just some of the best practices Wittmann Web Weaving uses in their Social Media Marketing process.