Social media networks are valuable for marketing as they enable companies to build a personality outside of their website, express points of view on various topics and share their industry expertise within communities where they can build relationships with potential customers.
Social media marketing is becoming more and more prominent, however, building a company presence can be a headache if it is not approached in a thoughtful manner. It seems as though many companies are not sure how to begin even though they may be familiar with channels, such as Twitter and Facebook, on a personal level. To get started on the right foot, there are a few things to take into consideration.
The first two questions that are important to answer are: “Why should my company have a presence within the channel(s)?” and “What should my company strive to achieve (what are the goals) within the channel(s)?” Without being able to answer these questions, how will you know if you are successful? Once you can answer these, you may also find it a bit easier to establish a “voice” for your company.
Take into consideration who will be managing the channel(s). This can be approached in different ways. For instance, have you decided to launch a social media presence for customer service purposes? Or, is your presence intended to be a means for your company leaders to share information or industry specific news from a management level perspective? The voice that you portray and who manages your channel(s) will obviously go hand in hand.
You should also know your audience. Once you identify who you are trying to reach, you can determine the channels that are the best fit for your company. Don’t forget to research smaller, industry specific communities that may exist relevant to your business. Individuals within these niche communities will likely be better targets for potential customers. Although there will be a smaller audience, the audience will likely be more relevant for what you have to contribute. Recognizing your audience will also help you to tailor your messaging. Should you share industry information, promotions, special offerings, company news, or all of the above?
Without knowing the answers to the questions above, you may find yourself without a clear direction for your social media marketing efforts, leading to a disappointing or overwhelming experience.
If you don’t know by now, Google likes to come up with new tools that continually improve the user experience on AdWords. Google has recently added the “Ad Diagnostic Tool. This tool is valuable because it can quickly help you diagnose the health of the keywords within your individual campaigns and determine whether they are helping your ads show.
It’s very similar to the magnifying glass icon that appears next to individual keywords within an ad group and lets you know how they are performing. The cool part is that the Ads Diagnostic Tool can diagnose all of your keywords at once, based on your choice. A user can choose to diagnose a single keyword, the keywords within a particular ad group or all of the keywords within a campaign. It even gives you the option of selecting a user location. Once you have made your selections, Google does the work.
The diagnosis that Google performs will vary from campaign to campaign and for ad groups within those campaigns. For example: I used the “Ads Diagnostic Tool” for a client and Google showed that for some keywords the ads related to those keywords are only showing occasionally based on the budget. Based on this information I can return to a client and say if these are top keywords that we want to go after, then we need to allocate more budget toward them. For another client, I ran the “Ads Diagnostic Tool” and it showed that several of my keywords had low search volume and that’s why ads weren’t showing. If no one’s looking, then your ads can’t show. Based on this information it can be decided that those keywords should be paused since there is no real benefit. Another option would be to allocate money from that campaign to another campaign that would benefit from extra funds.
The Ads Diagnostic Tool is a good way to see how keywords are performing in relation to your ad copy. It gives the user the flexibility to see what’s going on and to make the necessary adjustments. Have you checked your campaign’s diagnosis?
With the rise of social media channels like Facebook, Twitter and countless others, everyone is working hard on social media marketing campaigns to maximize their followers, fans and members in these networks and spread their message as widely as possible. This is really nothing new. Marketing has always been about spreading the word and networking should always have been part of anyone’s business plan.
To maximize the opportunities afforded by this new way to network it is a good idea to have an understanding of how social networks work. Luckily sociologists, anthropologists and other social scientists including those in the field of marketing have been busy studying social networks for years, so we actually know quite a bit about how people organize themselves and how social behavior is spread. There is a great article on this in Wikipedia that describes it in detail.
One thing that I’ve always found fascinating about the way social networks work is the differing values of social network relationships. In dense social networks, people have lots of close connections between each other and regularly interact. Because of this, participants in dense social network connections tend to strongly influence each other. As a result, they are also usually very homogenous in their attitudes and behaviors, so much so that it can be difficult to get the group to change. However, when you do, they all change, which can be very valuable if this change involves the adoption of your product or service. For example, when I was in high school, we all had to have Lee jeans with the little leather brand label intact and alpaca sweaters. I have no idea why – everybody just did. Members with many connections in a group are said to have a lot of social capital in that they have great social influence within the group. However, at some point, somebody had to start the trend and that’s where understanding social networks is important. In particular, understanding which members of networks spread new ideas and behaviors is critical for a good social marketing campaign.
It might seem that the person with the most connections and therefore, the most social capital in the group would be the most influential in spreading change. The emphasis in social media marketing which is on getting lots of friends and followers would seem to follow that theory. However, it turns out that sheer numbers of connections does not necessarily signal the most valuable members of the network for spreading a message. In fact, it is the people with the most direct connections between groups that have the most influence on spreading change. These people have “bridging capital” in that they serve as bridges between groups.
What this means for using social networks to spread your message is that the best people to have in your network are those that have many direct connections to a number of dense social networks, not just lots of connections within a dense social network. These are the people who will be the innovators and will have the most value for spreading the message.