10 Social Media Secrets for Business and You

There is a nice article posted last week by Eric Brantner on DigitalLabz.com entitled 10 Secrets of the Best Social Media Users . It is a terrific list for businesses wanting to use the (less and less) alternative marketing conduit of Social Media. Most of it applies to individuals for promoting your personal brand as well. Here is the list:

1. Do Your Research- Every successful marketing strategy is based on good research. You can’t just blindly go to a social media site to submit your content and expect immediate success. You need to find social media sites that fit your niche. For example, if you’re trying to promote your medical business, you should find sites where health related articles tend to be popular.

2. Interact with the Community- The biggest rookie mistake in social media marketing is to completely ignore the community. It’s called social media for a reason. Take advantage of the social platform by interacting with the community. The closer you become with community members, the more likely it is that they’ll help promote your content.

3. Write for Your Audience- This is Writing 101, but many people tend to ignore it. If you want your content to go hot, it has to be tailored toward the audience on the social media site. When you’re interacting with the community, get to know their likes and dislikes. Also, take note of what type of stories tend to get the most attention. You’ll see patterns develop in the types of themes and content that consistently go hot.

4. Be Relevant- Relevance is the key to social media marketing. Don’t believe me? Just go to the front page of Digg or any other social site. The vast majority of the top content is related to late-breaking news. Be the first to break a story in your industry; or, give your unique insight on a hot news item.

5. Keep it Short- Internet users don’t like reading long passages of text. They tend to scan online content rather than taking the time to fully read it. For this reason, you need to accommodate their reading habits by keeping your content short and easy to scan. Brief paragraphs and bold, descriptive headings are great ways to make your content more scanner-friendly.

6. Focus on Design- When users come to your page to read your content, are they greeted with a clean, welcoming design? If not, they might just turn around and leave your site. Remember, it’s not just enough to have great content; how you present it is important as well. Use a design scheme that’s easy on the eyes and that assists the reader in scanning the content.

7. Stop Trying to Sell- Another social media marketing rookie mistake is to constantly try to sell your products. Sure, the ultimate goal of marketing is to promote your brand, but you’ll never gain any respect on these networks if you’re constantly pimping out your products. Instead, contribute useful content that the community can learn from.

8. Create Great Headlines- I don’t care if your article is good enough to be the cover story in Time Magazine. If it doesn’t have a great title, it won’t get any attention on these sites. Think about it- thousands of users are submitting content to these sites all day long. What makes someone click on a post to read more? An eye-catching title.

9. Help Out Others- This goes back to #2 and #7. If you want to become a top user on a certain social media site, you have to help others out. Don’t just submit and promote your own content. Find useful articles from different sources that your audience will enjoy. By promoting content that’s not yours, the community will begin to see you as a great resource for relevant information.

10. Convert Hot Content- One mistake many social media marketers make is to not capitalize on hot content. If you’re fortunate enough to have a piece rise to the top, you need to make that attention last. How can you do this? By creating another great post to follow the hot one. That way, when visitors come to your site to read the popular post, they’ll see you have new content. Ride that wave as long as you can!

And yesterday www.businessblogconsulting.com posted an article by Krishna De of BizGrowthNews called Why Blogger Is No Good For Business Blogging. What Krishna means by this is that companies should host their own blogs so that the links to their blog are also the links to their corporate web site and thus driving the traffic to their own domain.

She also sites Wordpress.com as being a "no no" for business blogging. She makes a good point about driving traffic to your corporate domain, but fails to acknowledge that companies can use both Blogger and Wordpress to host their own blog on their own site. And both have advantages.

Graham Jones of http://www.grahamjones.co.uk points this out in his comment on Krishna's article. At the same time, Graham illustrates "secret" #2 above, which is the importance of being an active participant in social media beyond just posting your own material. In his comment he not only made a good point, but also plugged his own business site thus generating a hit and a mention by me.

He also somewhat violates "secret" #7. But it's a passive plug and it was effective as mentioned above. I say that is not only allowed, but smart. And since I do it all the time, we'll let Graham get away with it too.

Views: 68

Comment by Des Walsh on October 15, 2008 at 7:21am
Craig
Last time I looked, wordpress.com sites were hosted by Wordpress. And if you study their Terms of Service you will see why it is risky (at best) to try and use a wordpress.com site for your business. A self-hosted WordPress site, using the freely available downloadable software from Wordpress.org (also available when you use a web/blog hosting service which will deliver a WordPress.org site set up for you), is another matter and there are not the advertising restrictions on a WordPress.org powered site that there are on a WordPress.com site. Krishna (she, btw, not he) does know her stuff.
Comment by Krishna De on October 15, 2008 at 8:30am
Craig - thank you for picking up my article - and yes as Des mentions I am not a he but a she!

I knew when I wrote the article that it may be contentious as some well known bloggers have done well with Blogger or unbranded blogs.

And of course given my area of interest I am going to comment about the online identity and branding of your business blog.

One of the key reasons I commented on as I wrote in my last paragraph of the original article and as you commented on:

'Investing a little in implementing a business blog that is hosted on your website not only makes you look like you take business blogging seriously as part of your online marketing strategy, it also means that every link to your great content is a link to your website.'

As you know, incoming relevant links are like gold when it comes to search engines.

Especially if you are business rather than a person blogging independently, why waste all those wonderful links coming to your blog and not also getting the benefit for your own corporate site?

As for small businesses and solopreneurs then I'd recommend that you develop your corporate website and integrate a blog for your articles using blogging software hosted by yourself such as Wordpress.org which you can then customise to have agreat look and feel and fulfil both accessibility and mobile website best practice guidelines with the help of a designer - I know a number of solopreneurs in professional services firms who have benefited from that approach.

On Kevin O'Keefe's blog which addresses blogging for lawyers who also ... a commentator mentioned that using platforms such as Blogger and Wordpress.com you are 'hostage to the host'.

Just this week I had someone contact me to let me know their Blogger blog seemed to have been taken down - though I don't know why.

And a while back one of my own Typespad feeds was 'infected' with content from someone elses blog - all due to an error by Typepad.

Graham does point out that you can integrate your Blogger blog into a website and shares some of his tips. However taking that approach you are still at the mercy of the platform you host on.

In professional services such as recruitment where you are demonstrating your thought leadership and expertise in your articles on your blog, for me having my content hosted on a free service which could be taken down overnight is frankly a risk I am not be prepared to take nor one that I would advise my clients to take.

I am sure this will run and run - thank you for facilitating the conversation.

And by the way if you don't know of Des Walsh I do recommend that you follow him - he is after al one of the early authors on the subject of business blogging and he DEFINITELY knows his stuff!
Comment by Craig Fisher on October 15, 2008 at 10:43am
Thanks to both Des and Krishna for their comments. And my apologies to Krishna for the misidentifying you as he. I have fixed that in the post. I liked your article and hope it is obvious that I agree with you. I was referring to the Wordpress.org restriction-free service available from many hosting services and should have made that distinction.

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