Our Director of Internet Marketing Greg Finn knocked another Search Engine Land article out of the park today. Titled 12 Social Media New Year’s Resolutions for 2010, the piece focuses on twelve things Greg would like to see social media work on in the coming year. I thought I’d add some more resolutions to be mindful of; after all, what’s 18 resolutions when you’ve got a whole year to work on them? :)
- Explore other social sites besides the big 3. Everyone chirps about Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn, but take some time to look into other social media sites to see if there’s a good opportunity for your business. Sites like Yelp and Foursquare are great for local establishments, and Ning allows you to set up your own social network. There are tons of sites out there, and even if they aren’t as huge or popular as the heavy hitters, they might provide more value and ROI to your business than a Twitter account would.
- For crying out loud, train your employees! Okay, admittedly this one was on Greg’s list of resolutions but it’s so important that it needs to be said twice. A recent example is the “Director of Social Media” for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch who got a school employee fired for using a profanity in a comment on the newspaper’s blog. The backlash was immediate and fierce, and the director attracted severely negative attention to both the newspaper and to himself (if you search for “Kurt Greenbaum” in Google, you witness a pretty ugly reputation management issue). A knowledgeable, experienced social media employee probably would have handled the situation differently, and this incident is a sobering example of how quickly something can escalate and attract negative attention to your brand if you leave it in the hands of someone who’s inexperienced.
- Plan, plan, plan your social campaigns. If you’re looking to launch a contest or viral campaign via social outlets, don’t expect to “set it and forget it,” thinking that your audience will just take the content and run with it because that’s how social media works. You need to set aside ample time to plan your strategy and figure out what your campaign is, how you’ll promote it, which sites you’ll promote it on, how you’ll build buzz, etc. Planning is especially important if you’re new to the social sphere — you need to be familiar with the sites you’re pushing on and make sure that you’re getting the most value for your marketing attempts.
- Complement your site to the social platforms that work best for you. Consider creating social website-specific landing pages, and don’t just slap every single share button that exists onto your pages in hopes of casting as wide a net as possible. If your audience flocks to a certain social site or if you’re finding great success with a particular social profile/platform, carry that momentum over to your main website and ensure that you’re cross-promoting logically and appropriately.
- Don’t let a few bad eggs ruin the bunch. There’s been a lot of talk about snake oil social media marketers, but as Jordan Kasteler points out, there are bad eggs in every industry. A lot of people are rushing into social media marketing like it’s the California gold rush, so be mindful that not everyone is an expert and that proper research and vetting are required when you’re looking to get advice or hire a consultant.
- Stop dilly-dallying and start thinking social! Social media marketing isn’t a fad — it’s not the slap bracelet of marketing (although those were pretty cool). Sure, the term “social media marketing” is pretty hokey and a lot of people roll their eyes whenever they hear it, but don’t get turned off by the verbiage. Don’t let a few hucksters shy you away — social media marketing is becoming an important and integral part of marketing on the Internet, so to avoid or shun it altogether would be shortsighted and could leave your competitors with a clear advantage. As marketing adapts and mutates to reflect changes in technology, so too does your marketing campaign need to shift. Whether your goal is to manage your company’s reputation, strengthen awareness of your brand, or sell blue widgets, there’s a way to integrate social media at least partially into your overall marketing efforts. Make an effort to learn a little about social and how it can help you out — you’ve got a whole year to dive in and explore!