As a recruiter I have gone through a journey. Gone are the days where I could solely rely on newspapers and company websites to find and attract talent. Although these methods are still used, with the growth of the Internet and social media combined with a competitive market, I recognise that social media recruitment is an essential tool to finding top talent. Not only do I recognise this, I am excited by this!
How do we know this?
A global social recruiting survey completed by LinkedIn found that more than 50% of jobseekers now use social media to assist them in their job searches. With this in mind, it is important to understand and develop a social media recruitment strategy. Not only is social media an important recruitment tool to attract and source top quality candidates, it’s also an exciting opportunity to create and develop your digital presence.
Nowadays, most social businesses don’t use their capacity to their advantage. It’s easy to employ a marketing company, spend a lot of money, and not see any results. A friend of mine has a successful optical instruments online business and decided to outsource his Google ads campaign to a marketing company. After 6 months of paying high management fees he decided to end it and he saw no difference in his sales or website visits. This is why I went out there and studied SEO at the University of Salford as you are never better served then by yourself.
Maybe now is the time to mention that this blog is written by a glamorous blonde, and so will not be full of complicated words and non-understandable long statements about how you can go in the back end of your website and change every small details and correct mistakes. Time to employ a descent IT professional. However, there are still many things you can do by yourself.
So, to get back to how you can make a massive difference in your business, social media is a great opportunity. You’re probably thinking that I’ve lost the plot, that everyone uses Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin and other social websites; but do you use them the appropriate way? Probably not or you wouldn’t be reading this post.
For a start, pay attention to what happens on the social media. Listen for what social media users are saying about your company, your competitors, and your products, why they love them, why they don’t. Don’t start guessing or thinking you know what people want, because honestly you never know what’s in anyone’s head. You can also find future trending topics, and maybe even spot new markets and products opportunities. Isn’t this great?
Now that you’ve done this, you can start populating your social media content. The great thing is by listening to others, you will now have a better idea of what to post, what will be shared, talked about and even referred to. Be the first to post an interesting and relevant news and gain more customers awareness.
To make your customers connected with your brand you need to engage with them, make them feel they matter to you. The hardest thing is that you might sometimes get negative feedback as you can’t always have happy customers, but the way you deal with them will be crucial for the rest of your social network. Breathe in, stay calm and never step out of place. The customer is –unfortunately- always king.
As you don’t get anything for free these days, social ads is a great way to spend your money. Social ads are those ads that are displayed to users who have friends that are fans of the advertised business; they aren’t excessively expensive and can draw more attention to your business and target a specific part of the population.
After you’ve made so much effort in putting yourself out there don’t forget to measure your success. By doing this every so often, you will be able to see what works and what doesn’t and with time it will become easier to use social media and you will always be the one knowing all the gossip – and hopefully spreading a few- in your industry.
I guess you are at least half way into your bottle of wine by now, so as a last note here are a few tips. Have a strategy, plan what you want to post every week or month so you don’t forget to do it. Social content needs to provide value and encourage action, your post isn’t just here to look good but also to be shared. By using social media wisely, your customers will sell your brand for you, and the best is that social media will help your business dominate the first page of Google.
If you ran out of wine by now, don’t hesitate to have a browse on here http://tour-de-belfort.com (free delivery all over the uk).
Cones as you may have realised aren’t interesting, they’re not funny, sexy, or appealing in any way, how then do you market one to the general public?
As a manufacturer of traffic management products we’re not exactly on trend, or in high demand. Basically cones are boring, and as a business to business company we didn’t think social media would benefit us in any way. After starting the Search and Social Media Marketing course though I thought why not try setting up a twitter and see where it gets us.
Before I set up the account I looked into other social media campaigns for boring products. The most successful one I could think of was Will It Blend?If you haven’t seen the videos, they’re advertising blenders but instead of just blending food or showing you a picture of a blender, they blend tablets, phones, toys, marbles, and a big mac, almost anything you can think of to show the power of the blender. The campaign really took off and the guy behind it all became somewhat of a minor celebrity in America. There’s also the Got Milk? campaign, Milk has got to be the most boring product imaginable but the campaign was so successful that it has been running for over 20 years, there’s been celebrity endorsements and even merchandise, who knew an advert for milk could be so successful!
Another really good social media campaign is that of Vitamin Water, they asked people to tweet them with what’s currently boring them, then Vitamin Water would come back with a response to make it brilliant. They even went to a town In Oregon called Boring and put on loads of events and gigs, the whole thing went viral and there followers on twitter went up 100%.
There was more of online presence in our field that originally thought, so we set up our twitter account, @MelbaSwintex, designed the page around our theme from the website, followed the relevant people and waited for a miracle, but as we quickly realised, planning needed to go into running a social media platform.
We currently have three people with access to our twitter, a designer, a sales rep and me, so a wide variety of people, luckily we all have our own personal twitter accounts, so we knew the basics, we just didn’t know what to tweet about! Firstly we laid down the rules of what can and can’t be tweeted, we decided to discuss tweets before we posted them so we didn’t get any repeat tweets and so that non of the tweets were offensive, spelt wrong, or incorrect. For us humour seemed to be the best way to go with, nobody wants to follow someone on twitter who blurts out facts about the first road cone or how to properly lay your road cone on the road. After only a couple of tweets we had a council ring us up and want to start a 2 year contract with us, just because I’d followed them on twitter, which is very encouraging.
Currently we’re tweeting about new products that we have coming soon, innovative design ideas that we are pursuing, particular tools that people can use on our website, and re-tweeting local news. We’ve currently got 31 followers, which doesn’t seem like many but to be fair it is a twitter account about cones. According to our Google analytic’s profile, the twitter account is already generating more views to our website. Hopefully this will generate more interest in us as a company!
Thanks for reading and if you need any cones Melba Swintex is the place you need to call!
As a Marketer working at Magma Digital Ltd, a PHP Web Development agency building bespoke business critical systems, the power a Community has, is becoming increasingly apparent . One of the greatest aspects surrounding the programming language, PHP, is the Community that it has created – across the world there are many user groups organised to support PHP Developers.
Magma Digital play a key role in the organisation of the annual PHP Conference in Manchester, PHP North West (PHPNW). The Conference is run by developers, for developers, the aim of the Conference is to improve the web industry through new innovations and the improvement of developers skills. PHPNW is one of the largest PHP Conferences in the UK alongside PHPUK in London and PHPNE in Newcastle.
We gain a large amount of kudos through the recognition of our efforts for the PHP Community. This enables Magma Digital to further reach our audiences through our various social media channels. Many of you may wonder how reaching out to more Developers may benefit us? Well, Magma Digital have recently embarked on a significant growth plan, where we have been on the lookout for talented PHP Web Developers to join our team. Many of our followers on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Google+ have shared our jobs with their followers which has enabled us to reach our target audience by doing nothing more than putting the time into creating the social messages.
As one of the least ‘geeky’ people within Magma, I often find myself getting excited by the results of our social media communications to the point that many of the Developers in the office have labelled me as ‘Data Nerd’. To ensure you really see the return you’re getting from your social communication, track anything and everything possible. At Magma, we use the URL shortener bit.ly to shorten our links (less characters, yay!) but this also enables us to track the amount of shares and clicks for any particular link.
When we first embarked on our growth plan, we needed more developers and created the ‘Magma Hiring’ bit.ly link. The first broadcast of this link over social media saw a return of over 200 clicks in the first two days. Over the last two years we have used this link for all our job advertisements and have seen over 2,000 clicks. There are a number of ways to check the statistics of a specific link, the first which I find the most simple is to add a + sign to the end of your bit.ly link. So in this example it would be http://bit.ly/magma_hiring+.
Since we began to use the bit.ly hiring link in December 2011, we have recruited nine new developers most of which have come from our social media. In addition to the recruitment success, we have seen several recommendations to adopt projects that have come from other developers within the PHP Community.
We believe that supporting the communities we are involved in by giving a helping hand, has enabled us to make Community count! Our communities have seen the effort we put into making the web a better place and consequently they want to do their bit to help us out.
When you’re engaging on social media don’t forget that if you help people, they are more inclined to want to return the favour when you need it!
ABOUT Heather Taylor
Heather is Marketing Executive at Magma Digital Ltd specialising in business critical systems to help improve business processes and efficiency. Some examples of systems include payroll systems, pharmacy systems and legal trade systems.
On Saturday we were all treated to the new teaser trailer for Sherlock Series Three, which created quite a fan frenzy on Twitter about Sherlock’s return to the small screen.
Hashtag Frenzy (Picture: YouTube/BBC)
After the bloody end to series two that saw Sherlock Holmes (Benedict Cumberbatch) fall to his death, audiences have been waiting in anticipation for his return. The first teaser trailer concentrated on the reactions of a moustached John Watson (Martin Freeman) and Mrs Hudson (Una Stubbs) as he returned to Baker Street after his faked death. But this new 30 second trailer focuses on the fans and the Twitter frenzy rather than juicy plot details. Read more…..
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and Social Media Optimisation (SMO) are no longer an optional choice for many organisations competing for the increasingly internet savvy consumers. Do you have a digital strategy and a social media policy? Do you know that if you don’t manage your social media presence chances are your customers will manage it for you and not always in a most favourable way.
As part of the University of Salford’s commitment to delivering the best digital training available, Salford Professional Development have developed a one day ‘SEO & Social Media Marketing Essentials‘ course. This course is aimed at busy executives who want to have theoretic understanding as well as some basic hands on practical exercises which will highlight the essentials in SEO and Social Media Marketing. This knowledge will enable you to develop a better understanding of your customers behaviour online and help you to develop long term plan and implement basic techniques for management of day to day social media engagement. Working from your business objectives you will be able to draft some key performance indicators for your online presence, identify key social networks for your organisational use as well as conduct some basic Social Media Optimisation. The main focus on this course is to offer you a broad overview of search and social media marketing and help you to start working on your long term digital marketing strategy as well as plan for use of techniques.
The course will be taught by Dr Aleksej Heinze, Aleksej is a co-director for the Centre for Digital Business which is part of The University of Salford’s Business School. He currently works on an international projects Passport to Trade 2.0 which helps businesses to understand International Business Culture and develop new business opportunities in Europe using social media networks.
The course will also feature Martin Cozens who is the Managing Director for Banc Media. Based in Old Trafford, Manchester, Banc Media are a Search Engine Marketing company providing Pay Per Click & Search Engine Optimisation. They specialise in a measured & transparent approach, focussing on ROI for our clients through researched search engine marketing.
Martin Cozens: “We develop close relationships with our clients, proving to become an integral part of their business, smashing targets set by them and showing real return on investment in the products we supply and the search results they gain. Developing these relationships is what makes our business stronger and helps our team grow further to providing the very best service.”
Their clients include:
Lufthansa’s business rewards air miles scheme SACP
Cruise1st – a leading cruise holiday provider operating in the UK, Ireland & Australia
FADS.co.uk – the nationally known online furniture retailer that was on the high street in over 800 stores
Breens Solicitors – a renowned law firm operating out of Merseyside for both private and business clients.
SEO & Social Media Marketing Essentials is based and delivered at the state of the art teaching and training facilities in the heart of the UK’s Media hub at MediaCityUK, University of Salford. This cutting edge facility is on close proximity of the BBC, ITV and many other top digital and media agencies.
This course costs £299 + VAT.
Want to know more?
If you wish to enquire about this course, simply get in touch with Robert Goodison at Salford Professional Development on 0161 295 5407 or email R.Goodison@salford.ac.uk.
This course is aimed at busy executives who want to have theoretic understanding as well as some basic hands on practical exercises which will highlight the essentials in SEO and Social Media Marketing. This knowledge will enable you to develop a better understanding of your customers behaviour online and help you to develop long term plan and implement basic techniques for management of day to day social media engagement. Working from your business objectives you will be able to draft some key performance indicators for your online presence, identify key social networks for your organisational use as well as conduct some basic Social Media Optimisation. The main focus on this course is to offer you a broad overview of search and social media marketing and help you to start working on your long term digital marketing strategy as well as plan for use of techniques.
This course draws on the content used as part of the ten week evening course in Search and Social Media Marketing but does not include the level of detail necessary for senior individuals who are responsible for managing strategic plans
Are you new to digital marketing and interested in launching a viral campaign? Then you could learn something from our experience in running a viral campaign as part of our Search and Social Media Marketing module. This module is shared by MSc Marketing and Salford MBA postgraduate students at Salford Business School.
Launching a viral campaign is a great cost-effective way to connect with a wide and otherwise unreachable audience. The only real barrier to entry in this context is being able to construct an engaging idea.
How to create a viral video?
Our challenge was to create a viral video, but how can we do it? Our client for our campaign was the University of Salford Business School, and we chose to target our campaign at EU/home students looking to study for undergraduate business management degrees. We were given the overall aim of building awareness of the clients brand and generating leads to the course application webpage. To achieve this, we had to combine certain ‘brand consistencies’ given by the client, as well as the ‘creative’ elements that we thought would have characteristics of being viral.
Viral Video Content Research and Development
We began our work by looking at competitors online strategies, researching online trends, reading journals and blogs on viral marketing strategies and analysing past viral marketing successes. After gathering enough research we were set with the most difficult task of a viral campaign, creating original and engaging content that our target audience would be willing to share with their friends.
Our attempt at going viral was a video to be posted on YouTube and shared through international social media networks Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Reddit. The storyline is about a frustrated student looking for the right place to study business, who finally finds the website with the help of his Lego figures. While it may sound very unusual and irrelevant to use Lego in a university business school campaign, our rationale was that the stop-motion animation that we created would grab the attention of our target audience because of its relative originality. This was also backed up by the fact that online videos which include Lego stop-motion animations are particularly popular on YouTube with our target audience which made it more likely to go viral.
Halfway through the development of the video, feedback received from our client pointed out the absence of a clear call to action in our campaign, which we addressed by adding an extra scene where the Lego characters construct our new core message ‘Build your future’. We also added a pun into the title of the video to give a better description of the content.
Viral Campaign Launch
The revised version of our video got positive feedback from the client so therefore we decided to launch our campaign. The video was posted through the clients and our personal Facebook and Twitter accounts as well as through Instagram and Reddit personal accounts. In 6 days the video gained 700 views, 30 ‘Likes’, as well as positive comments, however, that is far from our aim of going viral.
What we have learned about how to create a viral video?
To conclude, we have learned that the process of making a video go viral is a challenging task, part of which is beyond our control. Due to the nature of the client demands and because of the nature of the content itself (i.e. business education) it is challenging to combine the aspects of a ‘viral’ video with a client that demands a certain level of neutrality and messages open to a universal audience. It is evidently difficult to attempt to produce a video of viral nature which also has the broad objective of promoting the business school, which seems to contradict the inherent nature of viral videos themselves.
If you have any questions or experiences you would like to share, feel free to comment!
My name’s Zoe Breen and I’m producer of the WebWise a BBC* website which promotes adult digital literacy.
I’m also a blogger for Manchester Girl Geeks a group which aims to engage women and girls with science and technology.
Having produced websites for the BBC for 12 years I felt it was time I had a look at how my counterparts in the third sector and commercial worlds use search and social media marketing techniques.
A major perk of attending the Search and Social Media Marketing professional course at the University of Salford was the opportunity to network with people from a wide range of backgrounds.
I got to benefit from the knowledge of a public relations expert, someone working at a creative agency, marketing professionals, a local authority media manager and the UK’s foremost Yorkshire pudding blogger!
The Search and Social Media LinkedIn group set up for the course has been a great forum for asking questions, debating issues and sharing knowledge and ideas.
Experiments in generating social capital
It was a post in the LinkedIn group by fellow student Liezl Hesketh that got me thinking about the value of my personal social media activity.
Liezl highlighted a news piece from online magazine TechCrunch which reported that airline Cathay Pacific were offering free business lounge access to anyone who could prove they had earned a score of 40 or more on social influence website Klout.
I hadn’t checked my Klout account for a while so was delighted to see that I had a score of 46. Not only did I qualify for business lounge access, but that I had the basis of my end of course presentation.
Looking back at my social media activity, I realised that I had employed a variety of techniques over the years to boost my rating on social influence websites like Klout and PeerIndex – sites that generate a score reflecting your reach and activity across a number of social media platforms.
Raise your personal web profile at low to no cost
Here are my top tips for boosting your personal web presence:
Plug your social media accounts into Klout or PeerIndex to keep an eye on your progress.
Set yourself targets, get your first 1,000 Twitter followers or aim to join the 500+ club on LinkedIn.
Use Twitter to engage with people who share your interests – follow, reply, favourite, retweet.
Create lists as a way to group related Twitter accounts to follow trends in a specific field.
Use a tool like paper.li to automatically generate an online newspaper from your Twitter list or other social media platforms.
“Content is King.” Since Bill Gates coined this term in 1996, it has become the golden rule of SEO (as well as one of its most pervasive clichés).Matt Cutts of Google has repeatedly said that quality content is key to getting to the top of the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPS). And the bods at Bing have also said that “all SEO signals revolve around content.” But what do we mean when we talk about ‘content’? How do search engines differentiate between good content and bad content? And, in the land of the SERPS, is content always king?
Before we start looking at the ins and outs of how to produce content, we have to ask ourselves why is good content so important in the first place?
Content is the lifeblood of the internet – it’s the blog posts you read, cat videos you laugh at, maps you consult and images you use. The major search engines main objective is to deliver the most relevant data and provide the best user experience possible. It does this by awarding higher visibility to websites that offer relevant and high quality content to the searcher. But there are a thousand and one websites out there that are talking about your chosen topic – how can you create content that enables your website to get to the top of the results?
Well, there are a number of ways. You could stuff your web pages so full of keywords that it resembles a rhyming dictionary. You could employ one of those shady ‘Black-Hat’ SEO types to buy up lots of paid links to ensure that your website gets a good page ranking. If you’re feeling confrontational (and fancy stirring up a bit of a social media storm), you could ‘linkbait’ – a tactic which sees you producing content which catches people’s attention (for both good and bad reasons – for a perfect example of how Linkbait works, watch how Twitter reacts every time Liz Jones writes a feature for the Daily Mail). Or, you could be really radical and actually produce content that people want to click on.
One of the key recommendations that the Google Webmaster Team advise that you consider when you’re creating content for the web is ‘authority’. Essentially, the more niche you make your content, the more of an expert you’ll become about that topic. People will like what they see on your webpage, won’t ‘bounce’ back to the search results, and will probably visit again – meaning you’ll be rewarded accordingly in the SERPS. Whilst Google’s engineers have said that they don’t favour ‘brands’, the reputation of a brand undoubtedly has an effect on how people search, and the conversions they make once they find what they want. Indeed, research has shown that 50% of consumers are more likely to click on a search result if a brand appears multiple times on a results page.
For an example of a brand who have got it right when it comes to unique content, take a look at Old Spice. Their series of ‘Old Spice Man‘ YouTube videos – custom made pieces of content where their spokesman responded to questions from bloggers, celebrities and fans who posted questions – is one of the most popular viral campaigns in recent history. And with good reason. After all, who wouldn’t want a personalised video from a devastatingly handsome man?
How does Google define ‘good content’? Simply follow the Panda
In early 2011, Google launched its ‘panda’ algorithm. This had one key goal – to “reduce SERP rankings for Low Quality Sites—i.e. sites with low value to users, generally containing unoriginal or shallow content.” This meant that sites which contained unoriginal content which had been scraped off other websites, or were just pages and pages of links would be penalised, whilst websites which contained original, ‘good’ content and encouraged social engagement would shine.
Panda was a game changer in terms of SEO. When it was rolled out by Google, it reportedly affected the rankings of almost 12% of all search results. Websites which was considered to be ‘high-quality’ sites saw their rankings improve, while those of supposed low-quality essentially vanished from top of the rankings.
Would you trust the information presented in this article?
Is this article written by an expert or enthusiast who knows the topic well, or is it more shallow in nature?
Does the article provide original content or information, original reporting, original research, or original analysis?
Good spelling and grammar help too. Google evaluates the ‘quality’ of content on websites, and the ability to spell correctly correlates with PageRank. As Matt Cutts explains in the video below;
“We noticed a while ago that, if you look at the PageRank of a page — how reputable we think a particular page or site is — the ability to spell correlates relatively well with that. So, the reputable sites tend to spell better and the sites that are lower PageRank, or very low PageRank, tend not to spell as well. The reputable sites tend to spell better and the sites that are lower PageRank, or very low PageRank, tend not to spell as well.”
Of course, well written words aren’t the only aspect you need to consider when it comes to SEO. Other things you should think about when you’re optimising a site for the web are:
User Experience: The more engaging your website is, the more likely that someone will look at multiple pages.
Avoiding too many ads on your site (pop-ups are a real turn-off!): This one is fairly self explanatory. Having too many adverts makes Google think that the website exists just to serve ads rather than providing authoritative information.
Duplicate content: Don’t repeat yourself! A page should contain its own unique content, title and meta description that tells the search engines exactly what it’s about.
Remembering that less is more: Having a lot of poor quality pages on your site can reduce your page rankings, even if you have plenty of high quality content. If you’re a Web Manager, try and do a regular audit of your website to ensure that it doesn’t contain lots of pages which contain out of date content and broken links.
If Content is King, then Linking is Queen
As we’ve established, good content is vital to getting your website noticed. But it’s nothing if you don’t have a good link building strategy in place. It’s not enough to put words, pictures and videos onto the web and hope that they get linked to by an ‘authority’ website. If your content is good, you need to shout about it!
Think about trading reciprocal links with your peers: (I write a food blog – Little Red Courgette – and I get a number of clicks to that from fellow blogs which have links to that on their pages). Just one link from an ‘authority’ website can have a massive impact on where your website appears on Google.
Leave comments on others blog posts which include a link back to your website: You get to tell someone you like their stuff and you get to promote your own website! Don’t be an idiot though – no one likes an idiot on the internet (well, unless they’re this kind of idiot).
Use good anchor text: If you’ve ever used ‘click here’ for a link, give yourself a slap on the wrist. Now. Then remember to never to do it again.
Alt tags are your friend! This is especially relevant when it comes to any images you’re hosting on your website.Make sure you add a full description of what the picture contains and any important keywords you’re trying to target.
Create ‘internal’ links to various pages on your website: This tells the Google spiders which pages on your website are important and which aren’t.
Add “rel=”nofollow” tags to your links where possible: This is an HTML command which instructs some search engines that a hyperlink should not influence the link target’s ranking in the search engine’s index. It also helps to reduce the effectiveness of certain types of search engine spam, thereby improving the quality of search engine results and preventing spamdexing from occurring.
Make your content easy to share across social networks: The easier it is to share, the more likely people are to share it.
If 23% of conversations on the web include links, then we have to create content which users actively want to share. We also have to make it as easy as possible for people who are coming to our content to share it with others – be it via email, Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus or any other social network. One way in which we can do this is by transmitting it via our own social networks (at LIPA, where I work, each piece of new content uploaded to the website is promoted via our Facebook and Twitter accounts). You can also add ‘share this’ buttons to your content which allows viewers to share it across a number of social networks with a single click of a button.
Another good rule of thumb when creating content for the web is to think to yourself ‘is this the kind of thing I’d be happy to share with my social media networks?’ Granted, a remarkable amount of (arguably) awful content is passed around social networks on a daily basis, but having a single tweet retweeted by someone with thousands of followers can lead to your content going viral. This means lots of new followers and customers for your website and a higher page ranking on the SERPS.
What can we conclude from this?
Content is undoubtedly the most important consideration to take into account when you are devising a strategy of how to get your website a better ranking on the search engines. And if a blog post, video or picture is engaging enough, then it will always be shared across the internet by people. But as Content Creators, Web Managers and Social Media users, we should always be thinking about how we can engage users and encourage them to share our content with their own networks. The implementation of Google’s Panda algorithm has shown that the emphasis is slowly shifting away from paid links and content farms to content which is truly ‘social’. Yes, good content is important. And when it comes to SEO, it probably always will be. But the impact of sharing links on social media really cannot be underestimated – and it’s an impact which is only going to increase in size over the coming years. Perhaps from now on, SEO specialists mantra should be that if content is king, then social is emperor.
So, you’ve decided to embrace the world of social media…
Perhaps you’re an organisation who has heard all the buzz about Facebook and its ilk, and feel that you’re missing a trick not being on there too. Maybe you’re a freelancer who feels that getting social would lead to a fatter contacts book and more juicy commissions. Or perhaps (like my Dad), you’re a fifty-something with too much time on their hands who likes the idea of Twitter because it allows them to keep tabs on their children (sorry Dad). But now, after registering on all of these sites – choosing a pithy user name and a swanky avatar – you’re not sure what to do next.
But wait! Don’t fiddle around with it for five minutes and then brush it off as being a bad lot. Social Media can make a difference to your business. It’s all about finding a niche, taking the time to make connections, and pushing out good content to the right people.
I’ve been using the internet regularly since 1996, when it was all fields and the occasional IRC chat room. And, throughout the years, it feels as though I’ve jumped on every social media bandwagon going – IRC, Livejournal, Friendster, MySpace, Friends Reunited, Bebo, Facebook, Twitter – you name it, and I’ve probably had a profile on there.
I don’t claim to be an ‘expert’ about this subject, but I am one of those ‘Digital Marketing’ types (by day I’m the Web Manager for The Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts, and by night I post recipes and restaurant reviews on my food blog, Little Red Courgette), and I feel proud to say that I’ve managed to make a career out of messing around on the web. I’ve also recently been studying on Salford University’s Search and Social Media Marketing course which has enabled me to think about social media in ways which I hadn’t envisaged before. Whilst this isn’t going to be the definitive tome on the subject, think of it as a handy Beginner’s Guide.
But why should my organisation use social media?
As Bill Gates famously stated in 1996, when it comes to the internet, Content is King. But it’s not enough to create amazing words and pictures and let them sit there on your website waiting for people to stumble across them. If you want to make an impact on the SERPS, you have to be a bit noisy. As this handy infographic says, social is SEO and content is social.Google’s Panda algorithm actively encourages people to produce and share high quality content, and posting links on Twitter, Facebook and Google Plus allows people to share your content to their own personal networks. Having a single tweet retweeted by someone with thousands of followers can lead to your content going viral, meaning lots new followers and customers for your website and a higher page ranking on the search engines.
Become an expert
If you want to make an impact on social media, find your niche. There’s no shame in being a one topic wonder, so long as people connect with the content you’re sharing. If you provide users with the most useful, attractive and engaging content that you can, then this will motivate them to share it with their friends, link to it and keep coming back for more.
Don’t be afraid to tailor you content specifically towards your target market. If you try and be relevant to everyone, you won’t relevant to anyone.
Don’t sound too sales-y. There’s nothing worse than someone who is using a blogpost to simply flog their services. The more relevant information you can provide, the more people will be wanting to return to your website.
Remember – the more high quality content you share, the more valuable it becomes and the more people will share it. So make it sensational!
Start making friends
Social media should be exactly that – social. Don’t just use your profiles as a glorified RSS feed. Start conversations and make connections. Reply to tweets and Facebook messages. Comment on people’s blogs and befriend people in your industry who you think may be interested in listening what you have to say. A bit of cheekiness can go a long way – and can reap huge rewards.
I use Twitter to share links and chat with friends and freelance clients
I use Facebook to catch up with old acquaintances and the family members I have scattered across the globe
I use WordPress for my blog
I use LinkedIn to speak to colleagues and business connections
I use Google Plus to promote my blog posts to a wider audience
If you’ve not yet encountered Google Plus, it’s a social network which aims to be Facebook, but better (and with less risk of your boss seeing pictures of you drunk and falling over). To find out more, watch the handy explanatory video below.
Learn from the masters
When it comes to devising and implementing a social media strategy, it’s always good to look at what your peers are doing. If they’ve got a good online reputation, it’s usually because they’re doing something right.
A few brands who do social really well are fashion retailers ASOS, Topshop and Evans (which have all utilised blogs, Twitter and Facebook to connect with their key demographic). Evans have also reached out to the blogosphere, holding press days for fashion bloggers to see their new collections, and encouraging influential bloggers to contribute guest posts to their corporate blog.
The Golden Rule – Don’t be an idiot!
OK, so this just sounds like common sense. But it’s a sentiment which can easily be forgotten in the heat of the moment. The internet has a long memory, and it’s often quick to judge. One misjudged tweet or Facebook status update can have a debilitating effect on your brand. A good example of this is when, in 2009, Habitat used ‘Hashtag Spam’ to get into the top trending results on Twitter. Hashtags are the keywords used on Twitter which allows users to follow a conversation, and, using hashtags like #Iran and #Mousavi, the retailer added notes about its products into the stream of tweets about the Iranian uprising in 2009. Whilst Habitat blamed this on the actions of a rogue intern, the effect was debilitating and, arguably, the brand’s online reputation hasn’t really recovered since.
And, above all else, have fun!
It’s easy to take social media too seriously, but in doing so, you’d be missing out on seeing it for what it can be (namely, bloody good fun). If you’re prepared to put the effort in, you’ll soon reap the rewards, as well as make friends, influence people, and (eventually) become a social media superstar.