Social networks are a very important digital marketing channel, so it is important that marketers understand the essentials of social networking. They are particularly important when creating a community, based on communication and dialogue with our customers. This lesson will cover the basics of Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google + and YouTube Channels. The social network might be for your brand, product or service, or it might be for your own personal networking.
The starting point would be a Facebook company page. The benefit of creating a hub for your business on Facebook is multifaceted. As Facebook puts it, it makes your business discoverable when people search for you on Facebook they will find you. It connects your business so that you can have one-to-one conversations with your customers, who might like your page, read your post and share them with their friends, and they can check on you every time they visit. Timing is also one of the benefits of Facebook as a social networking tool, since your page can help you reach large groups of people frequently, messages which are specifically directed to their needs and interests. You can also analyze your page using insightful analytics tools, which give you a deeper understanding of your customers and how successful your marketing activities are. Facebook actually gives you a web like address, which you can put on your business cards, website and on your other marketing tools e.g. www.facebook.com/marketingteacher .
As with other social networks, twitter takes its business pages seriously. Twitter can help you connect your business to what people are talking about at the moment. Twitter offers a social media for people to talk about what they care about as well as what’s happening around them at the moment and this is a dialogue in which your business needs to be a main player. So twitter offers you a powerful medium to connect your message to what your customers are talking about in real-time.
- You can listen and learn from what your competitors are tweeting or you can look for list of industry keywords to help you gather intelligence. This gives you an insight into how you may adapt your social media strategy.
- As a medium social networks and twitter are tools that will help you grow your business; you can run innovative promotions, develop your brand and have an engaging an ongoing dialogue with your customers (and you can use twitter ad as part of your campaign)
You have 140 characters to get your point of view across; and your campaign can be innovative and maybe even viral (see the other lessons :-). For example American Express lets people use their card numbers to claim gifts such as travel tickets; companies such as Burberry are very innovative when it comes to social media, where one example would be their #Tweetwalk fashion show.
LinkedIn company pages allow you to showcase your business and to target your audience; you may even have personal pages for yourself or your marketing team. Initially you would create a company page by entering your name and company e-mail address – it’s that simple. Then you simply verify that you are eligible to create a page on your company’s behalf. You create a company profile by offering a company description and overview; this needs to be quite short and salient and it needs to show what your company does, why it is different and what it specialises in.
You would then add a banner and your logo to tailor the LinkedIn company page with your own branding; the logo will appear when other LinkedIn members search for your company and it will appear on your employees’ profiles. You might add your employees as followers in the first instance and encouraged them to add your company to their own profiles, which starts to give it a viral focus. You can add your company profile to other marketing channels such as websites, e-mails and newsletters.
Followers are your influencers and your customers, and LinkedIn will encourage you to invest time and resources to establish a robust follower base. Then as with other social networking tools you need to devise rich content to share with your followers; this means that you are beginning your dialogue. For example by posting company updates you start your conversation and word of mouth marketing begins to develop engagement; you can check company news, articles and even hot topics.
Google + is Google’s main social media offering. It is a very powerful tool for social networking, but it has more to it than Facebook and Twitter, since it links together all of Google’s services for a unique experience. Hence the next section on YouTube is closely aligned to this discussion since Google owns YouTube.
So there are pages specifically designed for businesses on Google +. There are simple series of steps to get going;
- firstly you choose an accessible Gmail account for your business
then you create your own page using your Gmail account, and you’re able to select your business location, discuss your
- products or brands, explained about your company as an organisation, and there are other things that you can leave information about
- you need to customise your public profile. You can include your tagline and an image or logo. Then as with other types of social media you can promote your page by creating a series of networked circles.
- Finally you launch your page and measure and adapt your social media strategy.
You Tube channels give your business the opportunity to record and publicise videos. It might be advisable at this stage to use the same Gmail account as you did for Google +; it’s likely the Google will automatically integrate the accounts, so trying to keep them separate is probably pointless. The medium gives you the opportunity to network with more than 1 billion people worldwide who visit YouTube monthly. So you need to ask yourself what you want to get from YouTube and integrate it into your marketing communications plan.
- Set yourself goals in relation to what you want the channel to achieve
- decide on how best to adapt the you Tube channel to suit your corporate identity; for example you can customise channel background and add logos and details about your organisation
- you may need commercial products such as Camtasia or Sony Vegas (or one of many other options) to record your videos
- you may wish to employee company to film and edit your videos, or you might want to give it a personal touch and do it yourself
- once the videos uploaded think carefully about how you describe the video and the tags you use; they need to appeal to your target audience
- you can organise your video content as individual videos or playlists based on particular topics or themes; again think about how your users will want to access the videos
- you will probably want to allow comments on your YouTube videos, and if so you will need to make sure that your business is checking comments regularly and that it feeds back on all comments as quickly as possible; it’s all part of the global dialogue with users. If comments cannot be managed and switch them off, although viral marketing needs comments to fuel the fire.
- as with other forms of social media you can promote them on your website or through any other channels which you use regularly, or you could use Google AdWords or similar PPC solutions.
- YouTube has very detailed Analytics, so you can measure reactions to any changes you might make to your social media campaign.
Finally you may wish to coordinate the usage of your social media approaches, and for this you need a social media management tool such as;