In this article you’ll learn the following:
* How to leverage Pinterest, Digg and more to grow your biz
* Important tips to get the most out of your social marketing efforts
* Google+ marketing benefits revealed
Most people know about popular social sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. However, there are many underutilized sites that are on the tipping point of popularity. Continue reading below on how to use those sites for marketing purposes.
First, some clarity on the differences between various ‘social’ sites:
Social bookmarking, news and tagging are sites like Digg, StumbleUpon, Reddit, Delicious, and Pinterest. These websites allow users to ‘bookmark’ things they like such as content, images, videos, websites plus allow others in the community to see what’s been bookmarked and ‘follow’ if they wish. This is the epitome of viral marketing and community interaction. When groups of people are like-minded, it’s fun and easy to share in the feedback of things that are common in interest. For business purposes, it’s also a strong way to bond with your audience through content, news and images that are synergistic, and to leverage those interests for increased website traffic and more.
Social networking is communities like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google Plus. It’s a way for groups of people to meet and stay in touch with each other, for personal and professional purposes. People can friend, follow or fan someone based on affiliation or interest. Another new site is Quora.com, which is a social question and answer site. Users can view by category and post questions or answers on virtually any business related topic.
Social media refers to sites like Youtube, Flicker or Tumblr where groups of users share media content such as video, audio or pictures (photos). There are also new sites like Spotify.com, which are social music sharing sites, where users can listen to mp3 files as well as share with their friends via Facebook.
The following are some social marketing and bookmarking sites that you may want to include in your online marketing mix as well as some other tidbits you should know.
Pinterest.com is a social community where users ‘pin’ (think of a bulletin board) things that they like. Quite simply, it’s a virtual pin board. Users can re-pin (which promotes viral marketing) or follow someone with the same interest. Pinterest is a fun site because it focuses on the visual element. You can utilize content (when you add your descriptive text to your ‘pin’) as well as include a back-link, but Pinterest primarily leverages graphics, images (pics) and videos pictures.
NOTEWORTHY: For marketing purposes, you can use Pinterest to promote your business or websites related to your business, such as landing pages, squeeze pages, product pages and more. What’s important to know is that if your website, or the webpages you’re thinking of pinning are flash webpages, you will be unable to ‘pin’ it, as there are no static images on a flash page for Pinterest to ‘grab’ for posting.
Flash-based websites have lots of eye candy, but in marketing there is danger around the corner. It’s very hard for search engines to ‘crawl’ the page, for the very same reason Pinterest can’t ‘pin’ it … because it’s dynamic. Something to think about for those using search engine marketing and optimization!
So if you’re thinking about testing Pinterest in your social marketing plan, make sure to pick websites or modify your own webpages to be graphic, image or video rich. Also, like any marketing tactics you’re testing, make sure it’s in sync with your overall marketing plan and target audience.
If your target audience is an older crowd, then this may not be the best website, or channel, to reach them.
Quora.com is a great online resource community of questions and answers. If you want to reinforce yourself as an expert, you can search questions related to your area of expertise and post responses that are useful, valuable, and actionable. If you have a legitimate question about any topic, you can post by category and view replies from others who may be versed in that field.
NOTEWORTHY: It’s important to keep a steady presence on Quora. Stick to your areas of expertise (categories and topics). Make sure you have a keyword rich descriptive bio about yourself and include back-links to relevant websites. All of these things help with credibility and bonding. In addition, Quora’s pages are indexed by search engines and do appear in the organic search results listing pages (SERPs). Therefore you can expand your reach and visibility, which can lead to traffic to your website, which can then be parlayed into leads or sales.
Digg.com is a favorite content bookmarking site amongst millions of users. You can upload content ‘snippets’ or news nuggets. The site will also pull in any images as well as back-links appearing on the same page as your content. Content can be given a ‘category’ so that the right readers will find it. The more popular your content (number of ‘diggs’), the more people in the community it gets exposure. Viral marketing and traffic generation (to the source website in the ‘digg’) are typical outcomes from this website. Reddit.com is a similar site which allows users to upload content excerpts (article, video, picture) and link to the full version. This is a great site to increase your market visibility and extend reach. It’s also a powerful platform to drive website traffic.
NOTEWORTHY: Pick content that is useful, valuable and actionable – something newsworthy and/or interesting to your target reader. It’s very important to have a strong, eye-catching, or persuasive headline that people in the community will want to read. There’s so much background noise on Digg that you want your content/headline to jump out at the reader. Also, include a back-link in the body copy you are uploading. With Reddit, excerpt space is limited, so make sure to pick content that will not only resonate with the target audience, but also include a headline that screams out to the reader to ‘click here’ to read more.
Google+. Google Plus is Google’s attempt at social networking. It’s not as popular…yet…as behemoth Facebook (900million uses as of April 2012), but it’s got ‘teeth’, at around 90 million users. And because it’s Google, there’s some great search-friendly benefits built right in. For example, it’s indexed by Google, so your messages can get found faster. This helps with search engine visibility and website traffic.
NOTEWORTHY: For business purposes, you can share relevant information and personalize your ‘social’ circles, thereby targeting your message better for each group. It’s easy to share and rank (a combination of Digg and Facebook) content such as posts and messages. And there’s also a variety of sharing options like content, video, photos (similar to Pinterest, Flickr, and YouTube).
With social marketing, it’s a matter of matching the content type to the most synergistic platform and audience. Social marketing may not be for every business. But I believe it’s certainly worth a strategic test. Just remember an old copywriting rule of thumb, which is ‘know your audience’. If you know who your target reader (prospect) is, then you can craft enticing messages and pick social platforms where those prospects are likely to congregate.
Most any social marketing site can be leveraged for marketing and business purposes. But make sure to keep your messages fun, entertaining, engaging and interactive. Because after all, that’s what the ‘social’ in ‘social marketing’ is all about.
All of your advertising should be consistent – your TV, print, radio, messages on hold, and online ads should reflect the same ideas.