Category Archives: Social Media Promotion

Social Proof: The Glue That Holds Social Media Marketing Together

This strikes me as an excellent explanation of a phenomenon that I’ve seen but haven’t yet been able to label:social proof blog post  Social Proof: The Glue That Holds Social Media Marketing Together:

“When a new prospect encounters your business or marketing for the very first time, there is one factor that will always give you unparalleled influence: social proof. This can come in a variety of different ways like product reviews, client testimonials, video testimonials, videos of you speaking in front of large crowds or on stage, showing how many Facebook fans and Twitter followers you have, etc.”

This is why businesses want to establish social media personas and keep them updated and relevant. A few tweets a day, a few posts a week, and good content of interest to your target market — that, over time, becomes social proof. 

Post author Melanie Dodaro offers more explanation, and some details, on that source post at topdogsocialmedia.com.

10 Business Social Media Mistakes to Avoid

Everybody involved with business social media (or flirting with it) ought to read 10 Ways We’re Being Rude in Social Media and Don’t Even Know It by David Spark. Here’s his list (explanations are either mine, or in quotes):

  1. Friend collecting. David makes the point that friends and followers aren’t necessarily a measure of engagement or value. You can buy them. You can collect them with software-driven scripts and special tools. 
  2. Asking people to “like” your content-free Facebook page. What’s to like when there is nothing there? Put the content up first, then engage. 
  3. Requiring app installation to consume a message. For example, that greeting card that requires you install something. 
  4. Auto DMs on Twitter. He’s referring to the practice of setting your Twitter to automatically send a direct message to every new follower, thanking them, or — worse still — asking them to buy something from you. 
  5. Happy Birthdays on Facebook. David says: “Only typing ‘Happy Birthday’ is truly the least you could do outside of doing nothing.” And he adds that there is no extra credit for remembering when Facebook is reminding you. 
  6. Sharing without consumption. “We all have the ability to share any piece of content without looking past the headline.” Read it first. 
  7. Photo overdose of your kids and your wedding. “Your kid may be cute to you, but you’re the parent and that’s how you’re supposed to feel. The rest of us are not supposed to feel that way.” 
  8. Posting bad photos
  9. Follow Fridays. Hmmm. Honestly, I’ve been follow Fridayed and I’ve liked it. I thought of it as mutual back scratching. The #FF in a tweet followed by listing handles is a recommendation to your followers that they follow the people you list. But David points out that it’s really about getting the attention of the people you list. I think it’s kind of faded as a behavior anyway. 
  10. Automatically cross-posting contentless information across social networks. This should be higher on the list, in my opinion. Having foursquare post when you check in, or Spotify post what you’re listening to, for example: That’s just clutter. That stuff gets in the way. Don’t do that. 

A Good Social Media Business Case Example

One of the things we almost always recommend in a social media business plan is a proactive thoughtful promotion to generate engagement from your strategic target market. Give something those people want. Ask them to engage with you to get it. 

This morning I posted about this on Up and Running. But it also belongs here. 

It’s about Intuit’s Small Business Big Wishes promotion going on right now. It ties into social media engagement, small business, and even the holiday season. Write about your business wish, win the vote, and win a $5,000 grant. 

It’s one winner a day for … (quoting the rules):

… a wish that Sponsor [Intuit] is legally able to grant and is reasonably feasible to grant for your small business (that is valued at approximately $5,000 or less) and how it will transform your business in five hundred (500) characters or fewer. 

And it’s neatly designed to develop Intuit in social media. To win, aside from your 500-character text, you also have to …

…visit www.loveourlocalbusiness.com and sign into one of your social networking sites, including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Google +.  

And …

You will also be required to complete a registration form including your first and last name, email address, business name, and other details about your small business. 

So look at what this promotion does: 

  1. It addresses a specific target market: Small business. 
  2. It motivates people in that target market to take engage over social media. 
  3. It gets attention (I’m posting about it; you’re reading that post).
  4. It connects them with specific target market businesses. 

I suggest you think about how you might apply the same kind of thinking to your own business and its presence in social media. Maybe you can’t afford the $5,000 per day that Intuit is investing, so offer something you can afford that interests your target market. And give that away for social media engagement, including names and contact information. 

Very slick. 

Social Media Action Plan

(Note: This is taken almost entirely from the Industry Word blog on the SBA Community site where I first posted how to make a social media business plan. I like social media action plan better, though, because too many people mistake the phrase ‘business plan’ for a static document that is hard to do and gets forgotten. To me a business plan is about business planning. It stays flexible and becomes the format for regular review and revision. For the sake of not arguing about it, I’m calling this an action plan instead. Tim.)

Online buzz about social media for business owners seems to be moving from “Should I” to “How do I?” I’ve been working on this a lot lately as part of my work on planning, and I’ve developed this process for a specific social media plan for small business:

Start with strategy

Define how your social media serves your business. Usually that’s in the marketing area of the business related to branding and awareness at the top of the marketing funnel, but it can also be focused on other business functions. For example, airlines are using Twitter for customer service, food trucks are using it for delivery by tweeting locations, and consultants use follower and like counts to validate their expertise.

Strategy is focus, so you need to sort through the different social media options. Community management expert Megan Berry of LiftFive in New York says, “Facebook tends to be more personal, so if a product is fun and consumer oriented, then Facebook is really good. Twitter has the advantages of public searches, and business searches, so you can see how much a given topic matters. Google+ is mostly techies, photography, and people who work at Google.” I think of LinkedIn as more about careers than specific businesses, and Pinterest as great for photo collections. You can’t do it all and the fastest road to failure is trying to please everybody, or do anything.

For purposes of illustration, my examples in the rest of this post focus on Twitter and use the terminology of Twitter. That’s just to make the narrative easier to follow.

Add specific tactics

The strategy means nothing without specific tactics. In social media that means making some practical decisions. For sake of illustration, imagine a manufacturer of environmentally better construction materials selling to a local market looking at Twitter. Here are some tactics to work through:

  • What accounts to follow: In our example, of course we’d follow people tweeting about homes, green construction, construction materials, architecture, and the building industry. Maybe also small business, small business management, and local business. Gardening, landscape architecture? We should also follow people representing the old-fashioned methods our green construction replaces, and yes, all of our competitors. And we’d definitely want to follow industry leaders, the best blogs, and media people for our industry.
  • What content to tweet and retweet: In our example we’d tweet about green building, construction, architecture, and homes for sure, to build a content stream that would attract like-minded people. We’d probably also tweet about local events, local businesses, and local people to attract local connections. But we would never offer content promoting the old-fashioned ways or our competition. We would set up programmed searches for hashtags like #green and #greenbuilding, #homes, and #greenhomes.  (Hashtags are a Twitter feature people use to aid searching for topics. People offering content include them in their tweets, so people searching can find them).
  • What to watch out for: We should set up searches to catch any mention of us especially, of course. Also, mentions of our competitors, substitutes or competing products, and (as much as possible) local building issues.
  • When to reach out: We’d want to watch for media people and issues that could create media opportunities for us, like interviews with the founder, or reviews in blogs or trade magazines. Reaching out in Twitter means either tweets mentioning specific handles or direct messages to specific people.
  • How to reach out: We’d want to reach out correctly and respectfully, only for specific cases and specific people. Direct messages should ever look or feel or act like spam.

Add Specific Metrics, Milestones, and Tracking

Your strategy and tactics are of no use without concrete specific steps, measurements, and tracking.

In our Twitter-oriented green construction materials example, we’d want set objective and trackable numeric targets for how many:

  • accounts to follow
  • new follows to add each month
  • tweets per day, week, and month
  • retweets to send
  • retweets we want to receive
  • followers we expect to add per month
  • leads we should get
  • web visits tracking from our tweets, retweets, and Twitter profile

And for our review meetings, we’d want to start with actual numbers for each of these measurements. Then we’d review these results and discuss changes to the metrics, tactics, and strategy.

And that, all together, is a plan.