Leveraging Social Media

Social Media is moving like a freight train on steroids! With projected 35% growth rate through 2011. Clearly your brand and business needs to dive into social media marketing. Critical challenge is leveraging your activities as much as possible. Here’s how:

1) Leverage your digital content (Text, Images, Videos) 3-5X times to save costs, drive more traffic and increase brand awareness. How?  Cross promote your social platforms and activities as much as possible. A blog post should be published via Posterous, Twitter and LinkedIn, giving you that 3X sweet spot return.

Image Credit: The Altimeter Group

2) Blend social media marketing with other outbound marketing activities. Social media marketing shouldn’t exist in a vacuum. A Press Release should include social components. By social components I mean it can have embedded links to your Twitter, Facebook and YouTube accounts and your PR should be in turn referenced via social media marketing activities.

3) Let users create content for you to leverage costs, drive branding and engagement. Contests come to mind of course via YouTube as an example - they are quite popular because they work. You can spend a few hundred dollars or thousands and in return, generate a tremendous amount of content uploaded on your behalf, buzz and dare I say it “brand engagement.”

4) Utilize a call to action that is focused on getting consumers to engage with your brand. This can include signing up for an RSS Feed (via a Blog), Following via Twitter or Facebook. These can and should be embedded via your site but also can be hyper linked in your content to generate more engagement with your brand.  You can use a Bit.Ly shortener if you want to track the specific response rate your social media marketing activity is generating.

5) Contrary to what many think, social media marketing is not free. It requires a real time commitment and if you really want to do it well may also require usage of add on applications to leverage your time and resources. Social Oomph, Tweetadder, HootSuite all come to mind, costs are minimal via monthly subscription costs.

6) Be authentic to drive resonance with this broad and growing community. By authentic I mean don’t be afraid to take a position that can be controversial if it’s true to your business or personal brand. I don’t mean be outrageous, as social media’s inherent transparency means your exposing (no pun intended) yourself to the broad social web. Filter a bit to ensure your not stepping over the boundaries of good taste.

7) Pay it forward to generate awareness within the social community. Chris Brogan is probably one of the most wonderful advocates of helping others on the social web. You can see his virtual introductions embedded in his Twitter stream and think of the comments and mentions in the social stream he generates as a result.

Measuring Your Social Media Marketing:

  • Incremental Traffic via Google Analytics
  • Sales/Revenue - utilize tracking codes, special offers and/or analytics to track same.
  • Social Capital: Followers, Engages, Interactors connecting with you via the social stream.
  • Cost variables: identifying how much time, energy and or hard costs are involved with your social media marketing activities.
  • Increase in social influence: Klout and PeerIndex come to mind as best tools for taking a quick snapshot of your social influence.

Love to connect and engage: Twitter or Quora -no words were harmed in this blog post!