Social Media Secrets

I get asked by a lot of people how they should use Social Media for their business. I have been preparing a detailed Social Media plan for Honda Motorcycles, Marine and Power Equipment and I'd like to share with you some of the initial advice that I give companies like them.

The secret to Social Media

There is no secret. The way Social Media works in your favour is that it allows other people to do your marketing for you. They do this by sharing your news and/or by talking about your shared news.

This means that the most effective way to use Social Media is to provide good quality news to share and talk about. For Facebook, this may mean adding comment boxes under blogs so that those comments appear on the commenters wall and their friends will see it and hopefully join in. For Twitter it means providing snappy headlines with links back to the original content. For Pinterest it means providing interesting images that people will Pin, share and comment on.

Social Media is about content.

Publish everywhere

Do not view Social Media as different to your website. Social Media is another channel to your customers and fans. The biggest mistake companies make is thinking it is external to their current publishing activity. Content should be published to ALL of your website, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube and so on. This lets the people who are the target of your updates decide how they will accept them.

Its all about your website

Social media platforms come and go. For example, when NewsCorp paid 500 million dollars for MySpace it looked to them like a safe bet. On the other side of the coin, Pinterest has become the fastest growing Social Media platform so far. Obviously there will be more changes as startups introduce new Social Media tools every day.

The one constant - and the only platform completely under your control - is your website. Every Social Media activity should be concerned with getting traffic back to your website where you are in control of what happens next.

This means using Facebook as a means to get your fans to spread your news items for you and comment on them. It means using Pinterest or Twitter to have links to your website content sent to other people by your fans who use that.

If this strategy - Social Media as an amplifier of your website content - is adopted then your Social Media planning will not be as adversely affected when the Social Media tools change.

Use Social Media platforms to promote eachother

Dont wait for people to discover your Facebook page or your Twitter account or your Pinterest boards. Use each one to push the others so that people know what is available and make them clearly visible on your website, email, letters and so on. People will not find your Social Media accounts by accident and will not invest a large amount of time looking for them.

Social Media is a very powerful tool when used correctly, but it takes some time and effort. If you get out there and follow these simple rules then you'll be well on your way to making it work for you.

Does it work? Typically after publishing a blog post like this one we will email our current customers a copy and then announce it on Facebook and Twitter. Hits to our website increase dramatically for a few days and up to 45% of that traffic will come from Social Media sources. Yes, it does work when done properly.

/email_attachments/gerard_mcdermott.jpgBy Gerard McDermott

Gerard runs GMAC Internet Solutions and has been developing websites since the mid-1990's. He has even been acknowledged in one of the first books ever written about Javascript programming.

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