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Tuesday
Jul142009

10 ways to build a social media strategy for your site


I like to think about social media and social networking as being about making friends, lots and lots of friends. At its simplest level, if you are using social media correctly, your website or ‘web brand,’ should be the cool kid at the party who everyone is clamouring to know. Ultimately, everything tells us that this will mean a growth in audience, and latterly sales.

Here’s ten things to consider when you are creating a social media strategy:

1. Don’t just think Twitter. Ask yourself also, what’s your MySpace, Facebook, Bebo, Orkut (and so on) strategy? Ask which one represents the best fit for your target audience and how you can consistently deliver quality to each one. There are gazillions of social networking applications and sites out there, and we all should know by now that it’s just a matter of time before Twitter is usurped and along comes another, bigger, better. So, decide your social brand 'persona' and apply it all over.

2. Do think about Twitter. Starting an account is easy. From then on, get busy, think about how you want your brand to be seen, ask questions, promote others, talk about ‘inside’ the company, have multiple voices. Use all the useful apps at your disposal like BackTweets (find out who is linking to you) Tweetbeep (the equivalent to Google alerts) and the scores more out there.

3. Don’t forget the social news sites: del.icio.us, Digg, Mixx, Reddit, StumbleUpon. These are community sites where you need to be uploading sustained quality content in order to get a following and create a buzz. This isn’t as easy as people will have you think. You need to find your niche and plug away.

4. Start a blog. Start 10 blogs. Write blogs, comment on blogs, encourage people to link and comment to your blog. There are really no bounds here so long as you content is consistent and of good quality (It pains me when marketers talk about the ease which anyone can create a massive following. Not true, the quality and the commitment needs to be there.)

5. Submit your blog/s to blog directories. This creates multiple avenues through which people can find you and these sites themselves are ranked highly so you get authority from just being on them.

6. Find start-up listings, get on them. Sites like londonareastartups and crunchbase. You really want to be the cool friend people want to get to know. Make sure you are well represented here.

7. Encourage community activity on your site by providing adequate provision for interaction and interacting with your own site yourself.

8. Enlist the help of you community to extend your voice and spread the word. Let them blog, let them comment, let them do just about anything they’d expect to do on a website serious about social media.

9. Give it time. I expect the social media phenomenon is not going to end any time soon. But, only the strong and focused will survive. Create a broad strategy tagetting a wide range of social networks and make sure you plough the furrow consistently.

10. Probably, most importantly, don’t put your eggs in one basket. Social media marketing is great, just great – but don’t forget about other distribution options. (I’ll be back to talk about these soon BTW.)

(be really interested to hear if anyone has anymore tips!)

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Reader Comments (4)

Thanks Carl, great advice. Agree that the brand 'persona' is the key thing rather than the vehicle.

On your comment about the next big thing, came across this article:
http://www.ignitesocialmedia.com/mid-year-2009-predictions-social-media-facebook-kills-twitter-google-wave-launches/

July 15, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterVerity

Thank you Verity, have been reading about Google wave, be really interesting to see what happens with it. I remember lots of people thought they had created a scoop with Google Video, but then YouTube came along. We'll find out I guess ;-)

July 15, 2009 | Registered CommenterCarl Knibbs

7 is really important. Engagement with a community is a 2 way process. For example, I'm about to post this comment on Carl's blog, and experiance tells me that Carl is going to do 2 things: Comment on my comment, and thank me on Twitter. So when Carl posts another blog that I think I'd like to make a comment on - Guess what's going to happen? I'm going to comment because I know Carl will listen (or at least give the illiusion of listening :-)). Social networking is about a conversation that has no boundaries or limits, rather than just a comment that has a start and end. I think the key to building a social network strategy is this: Don't assume it will happen by itself. It takes the time and dedication required to start and continue a conversation with the whole world.

P.S. - Being contraversial can help speed things up a little (but be careful how contraversial you are!)

Thanks for the comment! Yep, I'd agree, I really like your point about 'no boundaries or limits' too - it also strikes me that an old 'conversation' can still be fresh a considerable time after the initial post, should someone new join the thread. These things are part of the beauty of social media.

Definitely agree on the dedication part, and that's something most people overlook I think (or don't get immediately when thinking about this subject.)

So, whilst social media can be seen as a cost effective way of 'marketing,' anyone considering a strategy needs to plan, organise and budget for the time and effort it takes to continually participate and interact in the way you describe.

(Better go and thank you on Twitter now I guess....:-))

July 17, 2009 | Registered CommenterCarl Knibbs

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