NOTE: A technical issue - social media sites are not built as a vehicle for marketing. Making fake profiles for marketing purposes is against most Terms of Service. One of the ways that they catch “social spammers” is by capturing their IP address. Most company networks typically use a single IP for the entire system. If 20 people using the same IP address suddenly become active, their software will suspend or delete these users. A few suggestions to counter this issue is to utilize a number of different IPs, usually through a proxy, or to connect from mobile phones, or from different locations.
WHAT: Facebook is the single largest social media site in the world and has the highest potential for growth. Search for SEO keywords, and identify similar pages and special interest groups. These groups can be utilized to link back to your domains. Even if you have an established Facebook Fan Page, all "public writers", i.e., any personalities that you use online, such as spokespersons, story-line characters, etc., should have professional profiles and Fan Pages as well. All staff should be fans and actively participate on your company's fan pages. Writers should post links to their latest stories.
WHO: 110,278,000 registered users visited Facebook this year, a 278% increase over last year. Facebook has earned more than a 45% market share, with 52 Billion page views/month. The average time on site is over 20 minutes. In 2007, Facebook eliminated its reporting of political views, but information from then indicates that 2.8 million identified as liberal, 1.9 million as moderate and 2.2 million as conservative.
- Enhance your Company Fan Page.
- Develop giveaways that can be downloaded for user pages, such as widgets, badges, etc.
- Develop an API construct such as a poll, game, etc. that links back to your web site (preferably to a targeted landing page that amplifies the interaction while pointing to other parts of your site for demos, downloads, product information and sales.
- Friend people of similar interests by joining groups, searching for interests, etc.
- Check in on Birthdays on the homepage (extremely high CTR).
- Respond to any comments on your wall.
- Post at least one status message daily.
- Share at least 3 interesting updates you find.
- Comment on at least 7 updates or status messages.
- Leave a message on 2 fan pages.
- Leave a message on the walls of 2 people.
- Respond to any event invitations by leaving a message.
- Recommend at least one person to your contacts.
- Add at least one update to your Group / Fan Page / Business page.
WHAT: LinkedIn is the top most visited professional social network site in the world. It is the best platform to raise questions on your industry, recruit staff, talk about industry issues, etc.
WHO: LinkedIn receives over 14 million visitors a month on average with 42.9% from US alone. Visitors has been increasing at the rate of 3.75% on a monthly basis between April 2009 and April 2010. Their audience is between 25 to 54 years old, with 35-44 as the largest group on LinkedIn. Over 9 million of its members have a college degree and over 4 million have a post graduate degree or above. An average user views 8.45 pages on LinkedIn and spends over 6 minutes on-site.
LinkedIn Company Profile for Your Company
In order to have a brand presence on LinkedIn, you must have a company profile. To start one now, visit: http://www.linkedin.com/companies?didentcompy=. It gives your company a face and the visitor an overview of what you’re all about without having to visit your website. This will give your online presence a boost as well as bring in curious visitors.
Network with Thought Leaders and Potential Strategic Partners
LinkedIn groups are one of the best places to network with thought leaders in your industry and listen to what others are thinking and saying about in your industry. You’re allowed to join 50 groups on LinkedIn but don’t join all the groups in your industry. Find similar people in groups that are peripherally connected to what you do.
- Do market research and get feedback
- Depending on how active the people are in each group, the individuals should be sent links to blogs and articles on your web site.
- Asking questions in the LinkedIn Q&A Section can generate content as well as a community discussion. They can be asked what their take is on a particular subject with a link back to the original article or post.
- LinkedIn Polls will allow you to get sample data from your professional network as well as publicity on various issues related to your company and industry.
Once you volunteer to answer questions in the Q&A section of LinkedIn, you’ll have a chance to become an “expert”. You can monitor questions by subscribing to related topics via RSS feeds. Depending on how often you answer and how you answer questions, it may take a while before someone marks you as an “Expert”. It’s worth your time if you can answer things the right way, and really think about the answers. If you’re an expert in your area already, you won’t have to think about it much. Besides, you’ll be getting good LinkedIn karma by helping someone out, and others will contact you if your answer is interesting enough.
Nurturing and Generating Leads
The contacts you gain through LinkedIn will give you email addresses as well. They can be sent an canned welcome email on whether they’d like to subscribe to company newsletters or alerts. Personalizing the email will be seen as a personal invitation to subscribe and not as spam.
Host a Group on LinkedIn
Make a group for dialog between people who are concerned about issues and concepts related to your company and industry. Invite those individuals who are already in other related groups. Most groups have few members because there is no dialog or activity within the group. The right audience will be already there since they’ve joined other similar groups. Being a part of a larger group with a personal invite also means that they can engage in conversations that they’re have an interest in already.
- All authors, staff, and board/advisory members of your company should have a profile on LinkedIn. They should accept any invitations that make sense to accept.
- Enter any recent business cards to invite them to LinkedIn or connect with them and point them towards your group.
- The dialogs from a conference can start and continue online through group discussions. The group should also link back to videos of panels.
- Recommending colleagues and partners is a must. Provide 1 recommendation every few days and be honest.
- Update your status at least once a day or tie in your status with Twitter.
- Make at least one introduction/recommendation to those with similar interests.
- Industry keywords should be highlighted as one of their interests on LinkedIn. The Linkedin group should also be prominently displayed in their profiles.
WHAT: Top micro-social blogging site in the world.
WHO: Twitter had over 21 million registered users in the last year, spending an
average of seven minutes per session, with 6.57 page views each.
Goals in Using Twitter
- Generate Traffic
- Engage with users, readers, fan base, and even the critics -- controversial topics will spark more discussion.
- Reach a wider audience who might be following influential twitter people.
- Search for SEO keywords and respond to those tweets as appropriate.
- Have a Google Alerts set up for related keywords for news and articles.
- Retweet 7 things and reply to at least 5 people, with FULL replies.
- Recommend 1 person you admire (#followfriday).
- Follow back at least 10 people.
- 10 minutes of polite 2 way chit chat goes far.
- Tweet 3 business related Tweets.
- Tweet 2 personal related Tweets.
- Ask at least one question that requires answers.
WHAT: Community saves and shares web bookmarks.
WHO: 2 million registered users; 2 million visitors / mo. Somewhat young,
technical and web centric, but growing in reach, Del.icio.us has a broad audience,
but skews toward people interested in media and blogs. Visitors tend to average 3
minutes per visit with an average of 3.36 page views per visit.
WHAT: Community submits and votes on news stories.
WHO: 18 million visitors/ month; 4 million registered users, 94% young males (88% are 18-39 ) working in technology. 64% have an income of less than $75,000/year. 39% blog.
- Post articles as soon as they are live on the site in the correct category.
- Broadcast post and encourage digging them up.
- If it’s already been posted, vote it up.
WHAT: Community submits and votes on web pages, then people visit pages based on the number of votes.
WHO: 4 million registered users; 1 million visitors per month, (people use the service without visiting website) averaging 4:40 minutes per session, with 6.5 page views per visit.
- Reply to at least 5 comments on your blogs.
- Comment on a couple of your commenters’ blogs.
- Stumble or socially bookmark your commenters’ blogs.
- Write the occasional blog post promoting another blog.
- Email a synopsis of recent posts at least once a month.
- Find 2 new blogs to comment on each day.
- Reply to at least 2 threads every day.
- Post one new thread.
- Make a point of thanking people who reply to you.
- Accept any connections that make sense.
- Recommend a member’s blog or website and say why.
NING, Buddypress, Kickapps and Posterous are DIY social network builders. Any person can setup their own network online devoted to a topic of interest. Your company can build its own network and tie in to other existing groups to drive like minded individuals back to your web site. Ensure your site has targeted landing pages to address each online group's individual needs and their content interests.
Tie in to other social media more powerfully - use the interaction from other sites as adjunct content - let your readers also be active writers - enable them to upload content to the site. Make your use of SHARE buttons for social media much more prevalent. This makes them more loyal to you as well, and ask them to recommend you to their friends - this has the highest clickthrough rate potential you can get.