Do Not Let Your PR Guy Do Facebook

I am focusing on Social Media because this was a huge thing at the SES Chicago Conference this last week. It was a big focus and most people agreed that the importance of the social aspect to online marketing was becoming even more obvious as the year had gone on- and it is fully anticipated that this is going to continue to be a climbing trend. As a matter of fact, Greg Jarboe, President of SEO-PR suggests that starting a social networking plan is best begun at Twitter- and then go from there. However, one of the biggest points that he made was in not letting your PR guys anywhere near your social networking strike in marketing because, social networking is personal, whereas PR is more pitch oriented. When I heard that, I wondered if perhaps public relations was going to begin to adapt due to these changes- but, one thing is clear. Social Media Marketing is a very different ballgame than regular marketing and this needs to be recognized.

I have put together a small list of ideas here, things to think about when you’re engaging in social networking marketing- observations I have made from seeing some very successful plans work out lately, in fact.

•Keep it personal- but not too personal. Sure, social networking, blogs and the like afford a much more casual sort of communication, but you don’t want to overdo it. Photos of the office party may be fun and festive- but if you’re in a niche where perhaps that photo of your CEO with the lampshade on his head may cause people to question your ability, you may want to be careful. Conversely- if you happen to be the owner of a tattoo shop, that would work. It’s all about considering what it is you do, and what image is appropriate to display.

•Ask questions. Polls and opinion gathering campaigns work out really well via social media. Your customers like to know that you are listening to what they have to say, and they like to feel that their input is valid and they are being taken seriously.

•Post photos. Posting photos of new products, your staff, your offices and other aspects of whatever business you are running helps to personalize things and makes people feel much more connected to the business- but also, people remember things that they have seen in this way much moreso than just text.

•Discounts that only come from your social networking site. I have seen some really excellent deals come out of social media networking- mostly on products offering free shipping but the responses to this are overwhelming, in general and well responded to. It gives people a sense of getting something special, and they seem to respond to that pretty well, also.

•Offers that link back to your main website. This is a great way to not only increase interest in your offer, but also, boost your traffic a bit using which ever social networking platforms you’re using. Another good way to use this is adding a button from site to social networking site.