Our NEW Blog!

31Aug09

Looking for the Social Media Solutions Blog?

Check out our new blog at http://socialmediasolutionsllc.com/archives/category/blog

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Here is a great piece from the book, “The New Rules of Marketing and PR” by David Meerman Scott, where he uses an example to illustrate how using great content brands a resource and helps the organization succeed, achieve goals like adding revenue, gaining donations and generating sales.

“The Concrete Network (www.concretenetwork.com) provides information about residential concrete products and services and helps buyers and sellers connect with each other/ The company targets consumers and builders who might want to plan and build a concrete patio, pool deck, or driveway-this audience makes up the business-to-consumer component of The Concrete Network-as well as the concrete contractors who comprise the business to business component. The Concrete Network’s Find-a-Contractor Service links homeowners and builders who need a project done with contractors who specialize in 22 different services located in 199 metropolitan areas in both the US and Canada. the company’s Web content, combined with a comprehensive direct-to-consumer news release strategy, drives business for The Concrete Network.

The new rules of PR are that anybody who wants to be the leader has to have news coming out,” says Jim Peterson, president of The Concrete Network. The company’s ongoing PR program includes two direct-to-consumer news releases per week; a series of articles on the site; free online catalogs for categories such as countertops, pool decks, patios, and driveways; and photo galleries for potential customers to check out what’s available.

As a result of all the terrific content, V gets more traffic than any other concrete site in history, according to Peterson. He says that releases with headlines that are tied to holidays, releases that are on the humorous side, and educational releases work best. News releases designed specifically to sell haven’t done well. “Peterson is very conscious of the words and phrases that he uses in news releases and crafts them to reach specific niche targets. For example, ” contemporary fireplace,” “fireplace mantle,” and “fireplace design” are important phrases to reach people who are in the market for a fireplace. The news releases are all sent with beautiful news photos drawn from “Earth’s largest collection of decorative concrete photos” on The Concrete Network.

For example, Peterson chooses from dozens of photos of just concrete patios. We know how many visitors reach us via the news releases, and it is similar to paid search engine marketing,” Peterson says but at a lower cost. “We’re also generating links from other sites that index the news releases, and there is a media bonus, too, when we get mentioned in a story.” He adds that the site averaged 550,000 visitors per month in 2005 and 850,000 in 2006. “direct-to-consumer news releases are a big part of the increased traffic.

When you break it down, we’re spending about twenty thousand dollars per year on news release distribution. . . We see it as another component of our marketing. Some businesses won’t want to spend that, but they probably won’t be the leader in the marketplace.”


Dear All,

Due to electrical problems at the venue, the date for this workshop has to be postponed.  A new date will be sent out shortly.

Please do not hesitate to contact Lauren @ 407.256.9233 if you have any questions.

I apologize for any inconvenience.
Lauren Candito,
President of Social Media Solutions


about_sm1aYou’ve heard the hype, but do you know what exactly “Web 2.0″ and “social media” are, and more importantly, how they can help your organization? This workshop is designed to help you understand the implications of social media for your organization’s communications strategy and gain confidence in navigating the language and tools of the modern online experience.

Our Social Media Orientation Workshop covers the most important lessons you need to know about social media, how it differs from communication “1.0″, and what the tools to participate in the conversation are (and how to use them). This workshop is designed to be a conversation that covers a wide range of tools, technologies, and platforms. The workshop is perfect for those ready to branch out beyond email and get started leveraging social media!

Topic of discussion include:

  • Interactivity on your web site: Are you ready to let go of control?
  • Aggregating: RSS feeds and syndicated content
  • Sharing: Links, photos, and videos
  • Fostering conversation: Blogs and forums
  • Online communities: Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, Ning and more

Details:

When: Monday August 17th, at 11:30 a.m.

Where: Renaissance Airport Hotel Orlando (5445 Forbes Place, Orlando, FL 32812)

Cost: Only $10 to cover food and beverage costs. (Pay at the door)

RSVP…

Facebook Event Page

LinkedIn Event Page

MeetUp Event Page


We are looking for a few great bloggers to be published on our blog.  Topics available include (but are not limited to)…

  • Social Media
  • New Media
  • Campaign Strategies
  • Business Strategy

Have a great topic, or post you have already published?  Send me the link, and if it fits with our content, I will re-publish it on our blog.
Along with the blog post, please send me…

  • Headshot
  • Bio
  • Links to Facebook, Twitter, and any other social sites you use
  • Link to your personal web site/blog

Lee Odden recently published a great list of 50 Ways to Fail on Twitter… What would you add?

twitter tips

While I don’t have a million followers, or even 100,000, I’ve found out that for my purposes, quality is the key and the 13k or so followers I am lucky to be associated with are appreciated a lot more. Being strategically useful and helpful builds trust, attracts influential followers (vs bots and spammers) and results in a new channel for social networking.  Individual tweets may or may not be useful, but when you add them up over time, a bigger picture emerges.

Twitter Marketing tips are not hard to come by. Ease of use combined with the overall ease of publishing online makes available more than enough advice on using Twitter as a consumer as well as for brand monitoring, marketing, customer service, real-time search, competitive intelligence and even direct sales.

Yes, there’s plenty of advice on what you should do with Twitter, but based on increasing mis-behaviors, there are many ways to fail.  Below is a list of 10 “Don’ts” on Twitter from me, followed by 40 more provided by the smart Tweeple who responded on Twitter :

  • Don’t auto reply follows with a link to your free piece of crap ebook. This sentiment is shared several times below.
  • Don’t provide an obscure description of who you are and what you do
  • No photo or an image that only makes sense to you and your imaginary friends
  • Don’t mention a great resource with no link
  • Not customizing your background
  • Don’t post 10 messages in succession (also repeated below)
  • Don’t follow over 1000 people in a 2 hour period
  • Don’t write about the cat/hamster/potted plant over and over again
  • Don’t swear often and expect business people to take you seriously (Unless you work for Outspoken Media)
  • Don’t over-abbreviate.

Here are a few “Twitter FAIL” tips from Tweeple following @leeodden

  • @glenngabe DON’T tell people on the public timeline that someone else is on vacation.  Saw this happen last week… Can get a house robbed!
  • @glenngabe DON’T reply on the public timeline when you meant to DM (or when it should be a DM…)
  • @cyandle don’t retweet EVERYTHING… :)
  • @kholloway Don’t expect me to follow you if you have 0 updates
  • @aimclear DO research content you recommend, add value to the bookmark, Success is gained by offering value, Friends made by being a friend.
  • @aimclear Don’t compliment gratuitously in public
  • @shelisrael  Don’t tell people not to do something on Twitter. It will just give them ideas.
  • @kenburbary Obvious but annoying, DON’T auto DM spam (also mentioned by @CarrieHill @Justin_Freid @NicoleElise)
  • @RonArden Twitter don’ts: don’t send spam and don’t send me ads for things. This is the quickest way to get me to unfollow someone.
  • @doctordns Just don’t be stupid – some people will take whatever you write and use it against you. If not now, then when you least expect it!
  • @JeremyMeyers “don’t” spend all your time on twitter talking about twitter (also mentioned by @timjahn)
  • @thelostagency dont tweet broken links, and if you are retweeting check link is accurate and not spam/broken :)
  • @rickburnes Don’t pretend that Twitter alone is a marketing plan (you only get referrals from Twitter if you have great content to refer to).
  • @steveplunkett don’t ever argue.. in writing on twitter…
  • @Aerocles Don’t tweet breaking news that’s more than one hour old, we’ve all heard/seen it already
  • @brandonfritz@leeodden Don’t St@lk
  • @KateOnline Don’t take credit for tweets that did not originate from you (also mentioned by @matthewdiehl)
  • @glager Dont report on every piece of news you can get your hands on
  • @kimgarretson Don’t tweet about your need for coffee in the mornings. This has moved past cliche to downright irritating.
  • @Ms_Write Test links before tweeting them. Nothing worse then a dead link.
  • @MBenti Before you use twitter for your business b/c it’s the “thing to do”, take time to observe and figure it out for yourself.
  • @Zarniwhooper Don’t retweet something and leave off the original Twitter poster. Always give credit to those who wrote it first.
  • @KaseyInCharge here’s a “don’t”: don’t talk about ways to increase followers. so annoying. people are here for conversation…
  • @AmberGallihar Don’t repost the same tweet more than three times. We saw it.
  • @Zarniwhooper Don’t say anything that could get you fired or prevent you from getting a job.
  • @Zarniwhooper Don’t be boring. A simple rule is “Never tweet about food or the weather. And never your bathroom habits. Seriously. Never.
  • @steveplunkett no foul language in same tweet as a URL. (SafeSearch Anchor text)
  • @Saudiqua Don’t tweet emotional rants!
  • @bobmutch ya don’t share stuff you are doing or going to do that is too personal
  • @melaniemitchell don’t sell to people who don’t care about what you have to say.
  • @michaelpearsun Don’t worry about your follower count. It’s about quality.
  • @michaelpearsun Don’t let spammers into your feed
  • @marrina Re-tweet of a re-tweet. So annoying.
  • @patiomensch First, you must call it a list of “don’ts”  (ah, the spelling Fail)
  • @EstrellaBella10 Don’t post multiple back-to-back updates on Twitter. Many people have complained about that.
  • @myklroventine Don’t try to explain it to Letterman
  • @imeldak Don’t join things that gets you thousands of ‘instant’ followers. Quality of followers is always better than quantity
  • @anon Don’t post a link to a picture of yourself with a large knife, especially if you are a governor
  • @anon Responses to ethics charges are probably best left for a forum where you can respond with more than 140 characters

Adam Singer just posted a great article on community building.  I would love to hear your thoughts!

Last week we discussed some of the reasons subscribers are vital for an online marketing growth strategy. Those reasons included:

  • The ~11% of web users who know to use RSS include the users savvy enough to be web publishers
  • You’ll become a go-to area to link to
  • Subscribers are your sneezers
  • A base of well-connected fans could very well be the cornerstone of your social media marketing strategy
  • Community is what makes sites worth visiting
  • Subscribers will motivate you to create better content
  • A consolidated network presence is the most effective
  • Social proofing benefits
  • Subscribers and a fan base make you less reliant on push PR

Now that we have gone through the aspects of why subscribers are vital to your brand’s digital growth, let’s get into how exactly you can foster this type of thriving community.

Build networking into the content of your site

It’s all about content, but you need to get people to notice it too. Merely publishing is not enough, make sure that in some way your content functions to connect with others. Work it artfully into the system and it can be an almost invisible part of the process. If everything you published were to in some way connect with externalities interested in sharing it your site will experience growth.

Multiple subscription call to actions

This sounds obvious except for the fact that it is so frequently missed. If the goal is community building there should exist multiple hooks to get visitors to join in addition to great content. Onlookers are fine but don’t necessarily get you to the end goal of a thriving community – conversion is key. Unmissable content is of course the real pull for people to opt in to your messages, but it should be combined with clear subscription CTAs. Utilize both areas above and below the fold. We’ve seen data from bloggers seeing twice as many subscriber conversions by applying this.

Be conscious of the law of attraction

The essence of the law of attraction is that people’s thoughts (both conscious and unconscious) dictate the reality of their lives. Let’s update this for web publishing to say that the content you publish (and even link to) dictates the community you will build.  Publish snarky content and you will attract a snarky audience. Publish educational content and you will build up an group of people interested in learning. Publish content specific and uniquely useful to an industry and in time you will permeate that industry. If you follow this carefully, as few as 10 people could spark an unstoppable wave of growth. Like minded people are exceedingly well connected online, making this law extra potent.

Resist the urge to go off-topic

Thriving niche communities exist for a reason, people come there expecting a certain type of content. When that expectation is met, the relationship is reinforced. To encourage an active following with the type of subscribers discussed previously you need to consistently meet that expectation.

Study the existing communities

What’s so different about what you’re doing vs. the rest of the world? Find that differentiation point and focus on it. To ensure the differentiation point is something that matters to people within that niche, simply study the existing communities. The comments, discussions and user responses will provide you great clues into what will resonate with the group. Deliver on the topics that resonate most or even go between the lines and focus on more specific, detailed issues than the current community leaders delve into. Create something existing groups can’t ignore and your web community will achieve rapidfire growth.

Position yourself as an ally to other influencers

Ideally you want the current group of influential community leaders to point their own following at what you’re doing. This is most likely to happen when they don’t consider your content as a replacement for their own, rather they see it as complementary. If others sense you are competition or a threat in some manner you probably won’t get endorsements from them. The way around this is to publicly align yourself as an ally of the people you want to share your material.  An easy first step to get on their radar is to start sharing their material, but there are even more subtle and effective ways to do this if you get creative.

Create frequent opportunities to connect your community members to each other

When you are not just forging relationships with your readers but they start to form relationships with each other, your community is reaching a mature level. As a natural part of your growth strategy you should be creating opportunities at regular intervals to connect your site visitors with each other. Web communities encourage this naturally by design, but as a leader you should also take the time to actively encourage connections in all directions, not just top down.

Be accessible as a leader

Several of the most popular blogs and web communities are lead by people who are ultra-accessible. This is no coincidence, we follow the ideas of those we have connected with personally closer than those who we only know their name and reputation. Additionally, this allows for a deeper layer of trust to be built and those valuable, lasting relationships to be forged.

Conclusion

The common ingredient of thriving web communities is of course content. Great content then spawns community which in turn creates more interest in the content. It’s an organic process when done properly, but as marketers it is important to be cognizant of the factors at play in order to provide proper consulting to those seeking to build thriving web communities. The best way to learn is to build your own and consider it your sandbox to experiment in. As it evolves, pay attention to the growth factors and social interactions at play at all levels of the development process.

These thoughts are just the tip of the iceberg, there is certainly much more that goes into building a thriving web community than this. What else would you add?