Twice Daily in the Morning and Afternoon
- Check Twitter via a program like HootSuite. Respond when necessary. Follow the @replies that make sense.
- Check LinkedIn. Reply to emails and comments when appropriate.
- Scan Twitter followers for relevant conversations to join.
- Check your business’s Facebook Page for questions and respond when necessary.
- Scan Google Alerts for brand and company mentions. Respond as appropriate.
Weekly or on Weekends
- Build Twitter Lists to better organize ongoing discussions and special interest groups. Set up saved searches in Hootsuite to find out if people are talking about you or your company.
- Scan LinkedIn questions from network connections and respond when appropriate.
- Catch up on LinkedIn discussions. Add to discussion when appropriate.
- Send LinkedIn invitations to connect with clients when beginning a new assignment.
- Ask for LinkedIn recommendation after successfully completing a project or engagement.
- Add new content to Facebook like videos or photos.
- Think of ways to repurpose this content and energy to reach a larger audience with the social networking gospel.
- Keep an eye open for new social networking venues, tools, and functionality that will make the social networking experience more enjoyable and easier to traverse.
- Identify new social networking influencers and build relationships where appropriate.
Through the Week
- Mondays: Schedule tweets through HootSuite to go out three times per day at regular intervals.
- Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays: Join one hot trend conversation on Twitter, if appropriate, and add new content to Facebook (new items you are selling, photos, discounts and other promotions).
- Tuesdays and Thursdays: Respond to blog comments.
- Fridays: Check traffic at your blog or website.
1. Listen to the Online Conversation
Social media offers you the opportunity of doing in-depth research at virtually
no cost. It is possible to set goals and get ROI, but you have to know where
you’re going and what you want to achieve. Tap into the online conversations
to find out:
• who is talking about you
• what they are saying
• is it positive or negative
• where are the conversations taking place
• what communities talk about you
• what are your competitors doing in social media
• what’s the buzz about them
• what content resonates with your audience
• are there subjects of interest you could provide content for
• what social sites have the most conversation
• who are the “fire-starters” you need to connect with
• who are the influencers in these blogs or communities
• where are the opportunities and threats
Once you have this information you can allocate your resources wisely. You’ll
know where to start and what social sites you should be concentrating on.
When you know the lay of the land it’s much easier to plot a path to your
destination. A social media marketing strategy is your roadmap.
DIY – Free Tools
Google News Alerts
RSS Reader like NetVibes
Backtype – for blog comments
Google Insights for Search
Message Boards and Forums
Viral Video Chart
Now that you know
just how much there is to be tracked, here are some of the
paid tools that can do a lot of the heavy lifting for you.
2. Establish Your Share of Voice
Share of Voice is defined as the percentage of the mentions that are about your
brand/company/organization in the particular niche or market you’re active in.
Do people use a generic description of what you do, or do they talk about your
products or services specifically?
Example: Do women talk about dry skin treatment and natural skin care
products or do they mention specific brands and products? Do they mention
your product? What percentage of the total conversation about dry skin
mentions your products?
Are the comments positive or negative? What is the ratio of positive/negative?
Are your key messages appearing in these conversations? If not, what content is
trending? How are your competitors faring in these conversations?
The context of your content in a competitive set shows how your brand stacks
up against competitors online.
Markets are Conversations
Share of voice leads to market share. Establishing and tracking share of voice
used to be a advertising metric, but since the most trusted form of advertising is
now conversations, it’s become an important one for social media.
3. Setting Goals and Benchmarks
Listening to the online conversation allows you to tap into what people are
interested in right now, what they talk about, what they like and dislike.
This information will give you the insights that lead to the goals you should pursue
in social media.
Everyone on the team has to agree on what target you’re aiming for, and how
you’ll know when you hit it… or not! And set the benchmarks before you start so
you know what you’re measuring and where you are now. Then you can go
forward and track your progression.
Here are some common business goals for social media:
Brand Reputation: The “Dell Hell” conversation caused a flood of negative
comments about Dell’s customer service. They set a goal to reverse the problem.
The ratio of positive to negative comments became one of their key
performance e indicators and they have definitely achieved their goal.
Increased Brand Awareness: Skin MD Natural launched their lotion in social
media and created interest in the phrase shielding lotion as a search term. More
than 400 mommy bloggers have written about the product and the content
spread through social media sites like StumbleUpon, kirtsy and del.icio.us. There
are now search queries for the brand, and the generic phrase shielding lotion, in
every country in the world.
Increase share of voice: Reed’s Inc discovered that there is a vigorous
conversation online about ginger beer, ginger ale and ginger brew and the
health benefits of ginger. However the number of mentions of Reed’s and their
brands was very low. A planned social media program could increase that
share of voice.
Thought Leadership: Sun Microsystems is a perfect example. CEO Jonathan
Schwartz credits blogging and social media with the revitalization of their brand.
Increasing Sales: StormHoek Wines increased their sales by 400+% after sending
wine to bloggers, inviting them to blog about the wine (good, bad or indifferent).
Burpee Seeds created a daily relationship with customers through RSS feeds on
gardening news, tips and coupons, increasing sales 400%. BlendTec’s Will It Blend videos
increased their sales by 500%.
Finding Bloggers and Relevant Communities
4. Return on Engagement
Every day another blog, social network or social media site seems to pop up.
There are now literally thousands of places online where conversations are
How can you effectively divide up your time and resources so that you
participate in the places that make sense for your business?
Part of your research – listening to what’s being said online – has to include who
is talking about you and where the conversations are taking place.
Here are some examples:
A skin care company discovered that there is conversation about dry skin
in gardening forums, moms talk about skin care and so do crafters and
medical professionals. These folk all have their own niche social networks.
There is also a lot of chatter about skin care on Twitter.
A natural soda company found that there people on Twitter talking about
their products, their competitors products and ginger ale, ginger brew
and ginger beer in general.
Once you know where the majority of the conversations take place you can
sensibly allocate your resources for best ROI.
1. Find the bloggers who talk about your company or product and those
who talk about your industry, but have not mentioned your company.
2. Monitoring blog posts – even if you do it manually in Google Blog Search –
will show you who is writing on a certain key topic. You should also track
mentions of your brand and generic keywords that describe what you do
in social news sites like digg, Newsvine, Kirtsy and StumbleUpon.
3. Track content about you and your industry in social networks like
Facebook and Twitter, as well as smaller, niche networks that are relevant
to your brand or organization.
Niche social communities:
Closet Couture – a site for women who want advice on how to be stylish
A Small World – a private international community of influential people
Sober Circle: Recovering Addicts
English Companion: A network for English teachers
The same applies in social news sites, like StumbleUpon, Twitter and Digg. Find
members who talk about you and about your industry or competitors.
5. Identifying Online Influencers
What is influence? It can be defined as “implicit or explicit effect of one thing (or
person) on another.”
What influences people online has changed dramatically in the last few years.
The idea that the person with the most followers or subscribers has the biggest
influence is no longer valid.
Today, influence is about accuracy and trust. You want to reach the bloggers
and social networkers who have influence – those who can cause others to take
action, change their perception and/or their behavior.
And they might not be the A-list bloggers or power users in a network. It is
someone that other people trust and listen to. They’re the ones who send a flood
of traffic to your blog or your website, because when they link to you or
recommend your product, their followers take action.
How do we measure influence? Although this is not yet an exact science, here
are some of the parameters we use to determine which blogger and networkers
to focus on.
Traffic – Unique visitors, page views, RSS subscribers
Inbound Links – Primarily contextual links from well-ranked sites and blogs
Reader Engagement – Time spent on site, comments
Recommendations – Retweets, bookmarking, tagging and sharing of content
Connections – Number of followers/mutual connections across multiple social
Track Record – Age of domain, number of blog posts, length of engagement
Traffic Referred to your site or blog – analytics tells which referring sites send the
Conversion rate of those visitors – what is the rate of conversion for each
6. Developing Your Content Strategy
Success in social media depends on the quality of your content. It’s about
engaging people and the key to engagement is good content. In social media
people are creating, reading, saving, tagging and sharing content. If you don’t
produce the kind of content they value, it won’t get re-published or shared.
How do you know what kind of content to create? Listen and observe.
In the past we had to rely on agencies to have a ‘bright idea.’ But when you
really listen to your audience content opportunities easily spring to mind.
Example: A mortgage company discovered that young mothers in their first
home were very concerned about the housing market and the subprime
mortgage fiasco. They were looking for information in language they could
understand. The mortgage company realized an opportunity to connect with
these moms via informative articles and video interviews with their experts.
Example: A natural soda company that makes ginger products saw lots of
discussion on Twitter about the health benefits of ginger. Immediately ideas
started to flow about how to participate in this conversation – studies, recipes,
articles, videos. They presented on the benefits of using ginger as a remedy for
nausea at a cancer conference.
Example: a non –profit involved in drug rehabilitation found out that women
turn to blogs for information, advice or recommendations. (2009 BlogHer Social
Media study.) And what they value most is a review or comment from someone
who has used that product or service. Since women are the ones who most
often call the rehab centers – a wife, mother or sister of the addict – it was
obvious that they needed to create content around the stories of women who
had saved their families with this program and get it to women bloggers.
Telling your story online in the right place to the right people gets results. But you
need a well-thought out content strategy based on solid research to get those
7. Pick Your Social Media Tools
There’s a wide array of social media tools to choose from and the task can be
confusing. But if you have all your data analyzed, and your content strategy in
place, it’s easy to pick the right tools for your campaign. Your research will tell
you where to start.
If the majority of the conversation about your product is on Twitter, you’ll need a
custom designed Twitter account. If you have a slew of brand evangelists
making videos about your company, get a branded YouTube Channel up right
Here’s the list of social media tools:
• Search Optimized press releases
• Social Media News Release format- with multimedia and social bookmarks
• Search optimized articles
• News Feeds (RSS) to syndicate all your content
• Socializing your news content – ‘share this’ buttons, tagging &
• Micro blogging (Twitter)
• Social Networks – Facebook, LinkedIn, niche networks
• Social Media News Sites – Kirtsy, Newsvine, StumbleUpon, digg
• Social Media News Room – gather and present all your social media
content on your website
8. Creating and Delivering Content
Once you have a content strategy based on solid research bright ideas will
naturally flow about what to create and how to deliver this content.
Experimenting with a Facebook page and a Twitter feed isn’t enough. You
have to create supporting content – a company blog, an interactive website,
interesting articles, images and videos.
You want bloggers and online reporters to write about you and send you traffic?
Give them excellent content.
A hotel or resort should be writing about their destination – give people ideas of
where to go and what to do. Use great images and videos. Take a look at how
Intercontinental Hotels did this.
Good content not only sparks conversations it also build links. People will share
the content and they’ll link to it from blog posts and tweets. This can raise your
search visibility and drive lots of traffic to your content.
9. Engage and Facilitate Conversations
It’s not enough to push out content. Social media is not just another marketing
channel you can use to reach your target audience. The biggest mistake
companies and brands make is to use social media as a way to sell a product.
Content should be created with a view to inspiring and participating in
conversations. Social media is about a two-way flow of conversation. People
are no longer willing to be passive bystanders – they want to take an active part
of the conversation.
Customer engagement can get you through the toughest of times – it’s both a
customer acquisition and retention strategy.
Engaging Your Audience
Followers and traffic are good and well, but are they engaging with you?
93% of the Internet users active in social media say they expect a company to
have a social media presence and to be able to actively engage with that
Despite all their marketing and PR efforts Microsoft was still perceived as a
faceless corporate giant. When Robert Scoble started blogging he put a
human face on the company, engaged with the users and developers and he
changed those perceptions.
Dell has also demonstrated how to engage and succeed with social media.
Martha Stewart is a perfect example –
On a small local level, The Boston Court Theatre here in Pasadena is doing a
stellar job of engaging the local arts community and growing a strong support
The Forrester Research report Social Media Playtime is Over clearly shows that
dabbling or experimenting is not enough. You have to deliver genuinely
interesting and valuable content that meets the needs of your audience and
actively engages them.
There are many tools available today to track engagement – how many people
clicked a link in a blog post? How many times was the message re-tweeted?
How many followers does the person who re-tweeted you have?
Track the Growth of your Share of Voice
Compare the number of articles, posts, tweets, videos or images where a brand
and its competitors are mentioned. Calculate brand is mentioned the most,
relative to its competitors, and by what margin. Track your growth in the share