When it comes down to it, your customers do four basic activities online related to social media. As a small business, if you concentrate on perfecting these Social Media 101 tips and create a user-experience around these activities, you will increase the number of more happy customers.
Social Media 101
I like to keep things simple. If you peel away all the layers, customers focus and repeat 4 tasks over and over again.
My Social Media 101 advice is focus on the Four S’s of Social Media. Search and subscribe get the lion’s share of a user’s attention as far as time. If you have limited resources, put your focus there. Master the Four S’s and watch your bottom line grow.
- Scribe: writing, tweeting, blogging, emailing, social networking
- Search: looking for something they don’t already have. From Amazon to Bing to the New York Times, consumers are always looking for something they don’t have or know.
- Subscribe: taking an action with something they already found – purchases, newsletters, RSS feeds, following friends on one of the many social networks
- Share: Digging, retweeting, del.icio.us(ing), forwarding (to a friend)
You heard this from every social media ‘expert’: Monitor your brand online, respond to your customers on twitter, yada, yada, yada. There are more of your customers than you. Get them involved with creating content. example:http://rohitbhargava.typepad.com/weblog/2009/07/6-lessons-from-the-best-marketing-campaign-ever.html
Don’t think just Google. I argue, ever social network, publisher, retailer is a vertical search engine. Can you be found when your customer’s are looking for you? Are you on Twitter? What about Facebook and Flickr? Is your content optimized for all these new social search engines (Frienfeed, Facebook, Flickr, etc)? I don’t care if you get zero followers or friends. I heard this before, “what I am going to tweet” and “we sell x, and our customers are not on Facebook.” Why are you spending so much time optimizing for just Google and ignoring all the other vertical and social search engines? You will get more mileage from this than a banner ad. More on this later. example: http://www.slideshare.net/summit08/social-search-optimization-by-joshua-palau-avenue-a-i-razorfish-presentation
Are you making it easy for your customers to follow you or subscribe to your newsletter? Do you have an RSS feed – you will if you create a blog or create a twitter account. No technical help needed. Walk through your shopping cart. Do you like the experience. Everything is marketing. So make sure the user experience is good and easy to buy. example: http://www.webpronews.com/blogtalk/2008/01/11/treat-readers-like-high-schoolers-to-gain-subscribers
Don’t always be selling. Provide useful information that is compelling for your customers to share. Virally enable your site by adding engagement triggers – Add to Twitter, Email This, Add to Del.icio.us etc. It doesn’t matter if you sell widgets or toilet paper, give your customers something to talk about. example: http://danzarrella.com/viral-content-sharing-report-table-of-contents
I might not be telling you anything new. My point is to keep things simple. Focus on the Social Media 101 and the Four S’s and you will gain new customers pretty quickly – don’t overthink it. You can always throw money at buying ads. Build a foundation first and see how far that takes you.