As companies grow their confidence and familiarity with the social web, there’s a bit of a mental hurdle they pass in accepting that it makes sense for their organization. It’s not unlike 10 years ago when companies finally started to “get” the need for a company web site. And just like a web site, building it doesn’t mean “they” will come, so the logicial next step is:
“Once you start a social media effort, how do you promote it?”
The reason for a company or brand’s social media participation, the audience they’re trying to reach, budget/resources and the actual social platforms being used will all flavor how a social media program can and should be promoted. This can be resolved with a few key questions that should be a part of a social media strategy:
- What is the primary goal? Secondary goals?
- Where does the target audience spend their time on the social web and what do they do there?
- On what social platforms is your company already participating?
- What existing resources can be repurposed or adjusted and what new resources will you need to forecast and budget for?
As a tactical example, let’s say a fan page has been created on Facebook to promote a specific brand / product. The promotion of that fan page could be accomplished through:
On – Facebook:
- Facebook advertising
- Contest or giveaway promotions that encourage fans to share links back to the fan page
- Participation in groups and other fan pages that reach the audience being targeted
- Leverage mailing lists of other group or fan pages for the same brand
- Creation of a widget that provides the ability to interact, offers value and invites users back to the fan page.
Off – Facebook:
- PPC on major search engines to a landing page
- SEO and link building to landing pages
- Press release optimization & promotion
- Email promotions to segmented lists
- Cross promotion to Facebook fan page from other social media properties
Another example might involve a newly launched company blog. A blog should have content when it goes live, so anywhere from 5-15 posts can provide a good kickstart. Those pre-launch blog posts are great practice to iron out everything from creating an editorial schedule to familiarity with the blogging process itself for contributors.
Getting attention to a new blog with content can involve both active and passive blog marketing tactics:
- Make valuable comments on other relevant and influential blogs with a similar target audience. Comment forms often include the opportunity to link back to your blog.
- Link out to other influential blogs from your own blog posts and/or a blog roll. They’ll notice.
- Leverage other social channels that you’re participating in (such as Twitter) to promote particularly useful blog content.
- Contribute posts to other blogs. This builds your visibility to a new audience and links back to your blog.
- Include the blog URL everywhere you post your web site address: online AND offline.
- Have employees add the blog URL to their email signatures as well as online profiles (LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter)
- Write great content on a regular basis. There’s no substitutre for attracting attention than publishing content worth sharing and linking to.
- Contact existing customers, marketing partners and industry peers and let them know you’ve launched a blog. Profile them in a blog post to give extra meaning and incentive to pay attention.
- Promote your new blog and the value of its content via email to prospect or customer lists.
- With PR efforts such as media relations pitching of journalists or press releases, include a link to your blog in those communications
The key to answering the “how do we promote our social participation” question is directly tied to goals, audience, tactics and resources. Promotion will impact awareness, buzz and traffic directly and indirectly. Analytics and monitoring need to be in place from the start as well as ongoing to track progress and refine just like any other digital marketing effort.
For other social media Q and A, check out “Answers to Social Media Questions You Should Know“.
Do you have questions about Social Media, SEO or Digital PR? Send them to firstname.lastname@example.org and we might select your question to feature in our next post.