SOCIAL MEDIA – Where do you start?
Many companies say they have social media campaigns, when what they mean is, they have a Facebook page. Facebook is only the beginning – and it’s not the best venue for all companies’ social media efforts.
Here’s a short list of social media sites to get you started (below). See what fits according to your company’s target market.
Also, here are some important tips to help save you some time and headaches:
- VERY IMPORTANT! Develop social media guidelines and policies for your company. This way people will have no doubt about what they are allowed to post, and what’s considered appropriate (and not appropriate) for your company. Do not assume everyone has the same idea of what diplomacy and effective communication means. Part of the policy should define who the point of contact is, and what emails should be set up for places like Blogger, which require a personal Gmail address. The guideline should also note which employees or departments should respond to posts on the company page, and strategies to deal with complaints, comments, and other posts. You might also consider whether there should be a company-wide effort to contribute to the company social media pages to show company morale.
- When your start with social media, take heart – each site is like learning new software. The first time you set your account and preferences up it will be time-consuming. Plan on at least one hour per site to get things set up. Plan on longer if you’re new to social media.
- Have your logo or photo ready to use for profiles. This will save you a lot of frustration. Generally, it’s best to have your logo in a square format. If you have a rectangular logo and squeeze it in a square format, it will look small. You’ll want your art department or a graphic artist to help with that (if you don’t have one email me at firstname.lastname@example.org).
- Set up a social media folder on your computer. Create folders for each site so you know what has been posted – this is more for delegation purposes and record-keeping. It makes handing off projects to others much easier.
- Plan first before each posting session! Have your tagline ready, gather all articles, photos and descriptions before posting. Even a little planning, like writing your article in advance, collecting some photos and saving your original files to a drive will make your posting much more efficient. You’ll be able to simply copy, paste and upload from the same areas.
- Be sure all subjects in photos have given approval to be shown online or in print.
- Do not borrow (i.e. steal) photos, images, music or movies from other web sites or google searches. That’s a copyright violation. If you created it, or it’s officially from your company, or you have written permission to use it, you should be fine. I have run into all kinds of professionals who do not understand copyright laws. If you don’t understand it, find books or articles about what’s appropriate to use, and what’s not – or find someone who does and pay them to help you.
Facebook (Over 149 million users in the US.)
Largely used by women. Less use in summer due to better weather. If you’re going to advertise on Facebook, it has been my experience that ads for big ticket items do not work well there. People are there to have fun. Advertise fun things on Facebook. As for your Facebook page, produce offers such as coupons, sweepstakes or surveys to encourage participation. Plan one give-away every other month or so, and switch it up. Don’t be predictable with timing or give-aways.
Twitter (Over 88 million users in the US.)
Personally, I think very few Twitter followers actually enjoy following other people’s snippets of news. There’s a polite, unspoken ‘return follow’ policy, if you follow others trying to also climb the Twitter Mountain of popularity. As a result it’s not uncommon to see businesses who have followed back 20,000 or so. Really? Who is going to follow and read the tweets of 20,000 other people? If the majority of Twitter followers are polite follow-backs, it’s not worth much as a daily tool as you rise the ranks in Twitterdom.
However, there’s a turning point. Once people start voluntarily following you (not as polite follow-backs), they actually read your tweets and keep up with you. That’s when a Twitter account starts developing value.
You can also tweet directly to followers, but I’d use that sparingly or they will simply unfollow or turn off messages.
Twitter requires daily maintenance. It is also incredibly full of spam and porn-spam. It pays to check every single follower and report them, as long as you can. However, at some point that task might be unmanageable.
YouTube (Over 156 million users in the US. – male dominated)
It takes time to make videos, but it’s worth it. You will receive random followers by curious folks who end up seeing your video due to key word searches. Think of it as an investment. The longer the video is there, the more random views you get. Add up other views of more videos you post, and you have some education going on there!
As with all things web, a spirit of helpfulness is preferred. But if the only way you can get the word out is by doing a video ad and putting it on YouTube, then do it.
Kickstarter (Over 3.38 million users in the US., new and growing – overwhelmingly male dominated and high geek factor)
If you have a project which qualifies for Kickstarter funding (go to kickstarter.com to read the guidelines) they you have a great forum for showcasing your idea, doing some market research, and possibly getting risk-free funding.
The whole process (which requires very thorough preparation) will also help whip any sloppy social media practices you have into shape.
Tumblr (Over 51 million users in the US.)
Tumbler is nice because it’s fast. Once you adjust to the relatively short learning curve of creating your theme and posting your avatar (logo or photo), posts are fast. This is great for re-sharing other posts – especially if they have photos or video.
Don’t overlook Tumblr. As of June 2012 it receives over 137 million visits per month – of those, only 51 million were from the US. (courtesy of Quantcast). Tumbler is still female-dominated, although only by 10%. Median age of users falls between 18-34 years old. This is an educated market, and reaches more minorities, such as African-Americans and Asians, with the Caucasian market lagging a few percentage points. Also, with Tumblr, mobile impressions far exceed traditional online views from laptops & desktop computers (by the billions). This is the place to go if you want to increase exposure via mobile phone, or if your customer base is more inclined to check their phone before their laptop.
Reddit (Over14 million users in the US. per month)
If you have anything newsworthy, post it here. Lots of return visitors. Male dominated, even age spread from 18-50 years old, higher income level. These are the kinds of people who enjoy reading Wired Magazine, MIT Technology Review and Popular Science.
Digg (Over 4 million users in the US. per month)
Digg is described as “technology news”. Digg’s use by men exceeds women by about 20%. Median age group is between 18-44. Income averages are toward the high side. If you’re targeting minorities, especially Hispanics, this is a good place to be.
What to post on Digg? Readers here are inclined to read things like The New Yorker, Vanity Fair, PC World and The Economist. They are interested in science, nature, auto news, politics, humor. Interest wanes in the kids, gaming and teens categories. So this is great for posting info about gadgets relating to cars, iPods, nanotechnology, great ideas that make high-tech life etcher. Not so great for toys or family drama advice.
Blogger (Over 55 million users in the US. per month)
This blog, also hosted with Blogger, is how you arrived here. Blogger is used by both men & women with a median age of 25-34. These are people with higher incomes, college education and advanced degrees. The majority of these people do not have children, and are caucasian. People who hang around on blogger also hang at xanga.com, coolchaser.com, MySpace and bebo.com. They tend to like news about fashion and cosmetics, humor, science, non-profits. Lower on the list are auto news, home decor and baby news.
Technorati (Over 2 million users in the US. per day)
Technorati traffic leans more to female 18-34 year olds without children. Most users are educated, with most having completed some college and post grad work. Most browse from home. A large number of Technorati users are from India. Most users go from google.com or Facebook to Technorati.
MySpace (Over 13 million users in the US. per month)
First favored by musicians, then teenagers prior to Facebook, MySpace was the place to go. It still boasts a huge number of users, however it’s being favored by females more who are in the 18-24 year old age group (27% of their users are in this age group). This group is in the $0-50k income range, with no college, with children, and mostly comprised of the African American and Hispanic market – the greatest number being Hispanic. This would be a great venue for low-cost crafts and child-themed items, ads for continued education, work at home jobs. These groups favor Nickelodeon, Nick Jr., Gamezone.com
WordPress (Over 2 million users in the US. per day)
WordPress offers free blogging as Blogger does, but offers more tools to monetize your blog with e-commerce plug-ins, and more. WordPress is a free blogging site, but it’s also an open source content management system (CMS) which is powered by PHP and MySQL languages. As a result, many web sites which are paid for can download and use the WordPress language for free, in addition to the free blog. So, basically WordPress for the web site, and WordPress for a blog. Are you confused yet?? My site, http://www.stickerskinz.com is a WordPress-powered web site. WordPress (the free blogging site) is extremely easy to use.
Installing WordPress’s CMS for your web site is not necessary to use WordPress’s free blogging site. However, doing so will allow you much more design flexibility if you want a certain look.