Following on from our last article about social media – social media is just one more tool for your online marketing – I thought the following summary of how it all fits together was worth posting, having spoken to a couple of clients. I was explaining to someone how using Twitter and other social media websites could help promote their site, as in the past they have only focused on their Google ranking. During our discussion I said that I use a set of rules that I apply when publishing content, be it on our web site, blog, Twitter or Linkedin. These rules are based on my perception of permission granted to me by the person who is viewing the content and can help you provide a more rounded experience of the business.
The rules enable me to set objectives around each channel and ultimately lead to a level at which the reader has effectively given me permission to pitch at them. The diagram below shows some – but by no means all – methods I use to market the business and the objectives are represented by the target; but notice the outer edges of the target aren’t as warm as the central area.
So what are the rules and how do I use them?
- NEVER sell on your blog.
- Distribute information using micro blogs like Twitter.
- Maintain relationships using more specific portals like Linkedin.
- Sell on your main website.
We don’t currently use FaceBook for promoting the business, but have plans to in the not too distant future. However I do use it personally to maintain my social network and as a result have a different criteria. I personally don’t agree tweeting late at night and keep my content professional. I know many social media gurus advocate building up a more rounded picture of yourself, but remember this is your professional persona and you are representing your business.
How to apply these rules
Each business will use these rules in slightly different ways, so I have provide two simple examples that should give you some idea of how you might implement them within your business.
- A villa rental business might use their blog to provide additional information about the geographical area they operate within. It could help readers prepare for their forthcoming holiday and also attract valuable feedback. Twitter / FaceBook could be used to promote “special offers”, “new properties”, “late availability” or information about events that could effect travellers (including their customers) to the area.
- A wine merchant could use Twitter / FaceBook to let people now about “bin end deals” or “special offers”. Their blog could talk about specific wines and link to their web site where readers could purchase them online. I have always liked the idea of suggesting wines for meals, e.g. great wines to have with venison.
You need to define a set of rules for each channel and these will vary from business to business, but make sure you measure the effectiveness of each channel using tools like bit.ly to monitor click through rates. You’ll need to adjust your rules / objectives / approach once you have some results, in the same way you should your web site optimisation or indeed any other form of marketing.
Fitting it all together
Twitter will feed traffic through to your blog via links and in turn, it (your blog) distributes information using Really Simple Syndication (RSS) feeds to other social media sites like FaceBook and general blog collections (such as blogspotter). In fact, you can even get them to automatically update your twitter feed using Google alerts and other tools. It is worth having a look at RSS Graffiti – a FaceBook App – that takes the fuss out of updating followers / fans with the latest news from your web site, twitter and blog. Don’t forget that this web of content is being constantly picked up by the search engines and in turn giving you greater exposure on the search engine rankings.
This is such an enormous area, we’ll re-visit this in more depth over the coming weeks and explain how various tools can help bring it all together.