The Dos and Don'ts of Social Media Marketing

If you haven't gotten on the Social Media Marketing (SMM) bandwagon yet because you think it's just a fad with no real bottom line benefit, think again. One professional speaker has been using SMM for less than six months and has already gotten two book contracts with mainstream publishers, has contracted four full-fee speaking engagements, has secured a keynote for a large international convention, has been contracted for a monthly column in a large distribution magazine, has gotten a consulting deal in a new niche market, and has contracted with two foreign governments for consulting services... all because of social media marketing.

"But that's just a fluke," you may say. Not so... the fact is for those who do SMM regularly, these kind of results are more common than you'd think!

If you're ready to receive some serious benefits from your SMM campaign, adhere to the following dos and don'ts.

Don't be unpredictable.
You want people to know that they're going to get a message from you every Monday, Wednesday and Friday (or whatever days you decide). So pick a distribution schedule and stick with it. If necessary, put reminders in your calendar so you remember to post your micro-blogs on those days.

Don't abandon your traditional PR.
Don't assume that you can abandon everything outside of the social media marketing realm once you start having some success. SMM is just one part of your campaign. It's useful and inexpensive, but you also need the credibility from other traditional publicity tools, such as print publicity, radio interviews and television appearances. In addition, some online reputation sites will give you a lower ranking if you don't have anything in the "real world." Just remember, you still need media exposure and a physical presence, in addition to your online presence. Acclaimed financial expert Suze Orman is at the top of her game because you see her name everywhere - she's interviewed in magazines and newspapers, is on the Internet, TV and the radio. That's why so many of us rely on her advice; she is seen as the financial expert because she is all over the media. So, be sure to keep getting publicity in print and other traditional media, in addition to generating attention with SMM.

Don't be negative.
Unless your image or brand has something to do with complaining, don't do it. Only complain if complaining is what you're known for. It's better to give positive reinforcement in your micro-blogs because people are bombarded with negative messages every day. You don't want your message to be lost among the other negative ones. You want to be the one positive thing in people's day. You want them to look forward to the next time they get your message.

Do follow the right format for your microblogs.
Be sure that your micro-blogs include helpful advice, insightful tips or unique trends that your followers will learn from; this kind of information will grab their attention and make them want more. Each microblog should be 140 characters, including punctuation and spacing, in addition to your Web site link at the end. The more helpful and unique your messages are, the more interest you will generate, thus bringing more people back to your site.

Do "funnel" your SMM contacts to your Web site.
The goal of your micro-blogs is not only to reach your target audience and help them solve their problems, but also to drive them back to your Web site to sell your products or services. That's why it's so important to include your Web site at the end of your microblog message. So, when your readers want more information or want to buy your products and services, they can go directly to the source: you!

Do have a place to collect all your postings.
Anytime you do a post on Twitter, Facebook or any of the other SMM sites, you're really creating a micro-blog. You need a place where your micro-blogs collect. Twitter provides that service, but if you use theirs you're giving them all the traffic. Rather, have your micro-blogs collect on your own blog. Then you can have your long blog posts there, as well as your shorter micro-blogs.

Do devote enough time to your SMM campaign.
Individuals who are successful with SMM spend an average of five to seven hours per week developing and working within their network. If you can write your micro-blogs quickly you won't add too much time. Remember, it's not always about the number of contacts you collect, but rather having the "right" contacts and reaching your target audience.

Do make sure your profile is 100 percent complete.
You won't get ranked in the social media searches unless your profile is 100 percent complete. Realize that a photo for your profile accounts for 20-40 percent of your ranking, so if don't include a picture, you're setting yourself up for failure. Therefore, the biggest profile factor after your name and e-mail address is your photo. And by the way, logos don't count as a photo, even if your logo includes a picture of a face. The bottom line is if you want your message to spread through the Internet, make sure your profile is complete.

Get Famous with SMM
Social Media Marketing is a vital addition to any PR campaign. When you follow these simple dos and don'ts, you'll get people following your every move, which will lead to more customers and higher sales - the exact payoff every business needs.

Pam Lontos is president of PR/PR, a public relations firm that works with speakers, authors and experts. She is the author of "I See Your Name Everywhere" and is a former vice president for Disney's Shamrock Broadcasting. Free consultation: Pam@prpr.net or 407-299-6128. To register for a free monthly e-newsletter, go to www.prpr.net.


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