The more that CNN shows Rick Sanchez’ Twitter feed,
The more that TGI Friday’s asks you to become Woody’s friend,
The more companies you will find they want to get started in social media.
BLOGS – The largest time commitment within social marketing is in running a blog. Not only must you create the content, but you also need to moderate the comments and evangelize it across other blogs and social media channels. Typically, I only dissuade people from having a blog when they do not appear to want to make the time commitment to their social media presence and online community. Twitter, Facebook, Digg, etc are all useful for companies, but are not nearly as effective as a blog that you are giving your full attention.
FACEBOOK – Facebook fan pages are simple for companies to start up. They’re simple to advertise – eg. an in-store sign that reads “Fan us on Facebook http://facebook.com/ericpratum.” That is where the simplicity ends. Facebook is a closed system, so you cannot search it from the outside. As well, if you want to find mentions of your company across Facebook, you cannot; for the most part, you can only see what goes on on your page. Another difficulty of Facebook fan pages is content creation. Once you have your page published, you have to post status updates, messages to fans, new photos, new videos, links, and more frequently enough that news items about you pop up in your fans’ news feeds often. You don’t want them to forget about you, do you?
TWITTER – Twitter is a great channel for initially connecting with people, for sharing news items, and for scanning what a small portion of the web says about your brand or its competitors. It also requires very little time to manage and is very easy to set up. One of the major frustrations with Twitter though is getting more Twitter followers. Any time you use Twitter for your business, make sure that your account has a personality. There’s nothing worse with Twitter accounts than when you feel like a company is just using it as another broadcast channel, has no interest in interacting with its followers, and does not follow mentions about it or replies to it.
TUBEMOGUL – “TubeMogul?!” you say. Yes, TubeMogul. If you’re already on YouTube, Viddler, Vimeo, any other video site, start using TubeMogul. You can upload to a number of video sites at once; track the views, comments, and ratings; and manage your overall video inventory all in one place. If you’re not using video sites, ask yourself if it makes sense for your company to have a video presence. Do you produce video content? Do the customers in your store film video now and then that could be attached to your presence? Or, should you instead just search these sites periodically to see what people post about you?
DIGG, REDDIT, STUMBLE, FRIENDFEED, & ALL THE REST – Syndication and news aggregator sites are great for sharing you blog posts and other content, but in general, here is my advice: Do not bother with these until you master the rest.
LISTENING & MONITORING – As soon as you start your social media presence – and maybe even before – you should be listening to what people are saying about you, your brand, and your industry. Use Google Blog Search, Search.Twitter, Digg search, etc to find what is said during different time periods. When you want more robust listening and monitoring, upgrade to Radian6, Visible Technologies, Techrigy, Social Radar, etc. You’ll be able to monitor blogs, forums, Twitter, news sites, video sites, photos sites, etc, but you’ll also pay a pretty penny for that convenience.
Up Next – I’ll follow up this post with a more in-depth look at why or why not your company might want to have a presence in each of these areas, so comment below (or tweet me), let me know what you want to hear about and what your questions are, and check back soon for more…or better yet, hit the subscribe buttons at the top or bottom of this page.