Twitter’s ease of integration broadens its appeal beyond the limits of its own website – and not just into other websites, but across the full media spectrum, with hashtags now appearing on everything from promotional posters and packaging, to television broadcasts.
YouTube is now owned by Google, and Yahoo! own Flickr, making these reliable long-term options for sharing videos and images, and capitalising on the full potential of social ‘media’ and not just text-based social ‘networks’.
With all of this in mind, have you taken a fresh look at your social media campaign lately, or are you still marketing yourself based on 20th century philosophies?
The Age of Integration
Social media is no longer a separate strategy – it should be part of your overall, combined online marketing mix.
In particular, look at ways to integrate social media into your website. That might mean uploading video content to your business’s YouTube channel, and then embedding it into your site. It could mean having your latest tweets displayed – in an aesthetically pleasing way – on your homepage. Or if you’re a blogger, make sure your posts have social sharing buttons either under the headline, at the end of the article, or both.
Even simply accepting blog comments is a form of social interaction with your audience, and can help to make them feel valued and listened to, as well as giving them an extra reason to return to your page or post in the future.
Formatting for the Future
If you’re getting into the truly multimedia aspect of social media – and embedding videos and images into your site – consider using microformats to make these media elements more search-visible.
These snippets of HTML code are alien at first glance, but are actually easy to learn, and allow you to specify how multimedia page elements should be indexed by the search engines.
For once, you’re in direct control of how the search engines see your page – which makes this a particularly powerful option for on-page SEO, especially as relatively few websites are making use of microformats compared with other forms of optimisation.
It also means that you don’t lose out on search optimisation benefits simply because you’ve decided to use more videos and pictures, and less plain text.
If formatting for search visibility is an important aspect of social media marketing on your website, then it pales almost into insignificance compared with the need to interact realistically with humans on social networks.
‘Realistically’ is the word to remember – artificial campaigns to inflate your number of ‘likes’ and ‘follows’ can look good in numbers, but often don’t deliver the levels of engagement and brand advocacy that you’re really looking for.
Be naturally engaging – it’s quite possible to have charisma, even as a faceless online social network account – and be helpful. Customers, and even non-customers, generally appreciate a well-run customer service account, even if they might otherwise object to the commercialisation of their timeline.
It is the human aspect of social media that holds the most promise for companies that might otherwise be seen as capitalist, faceless brands, so dedicate some time and resources not just to the online channel, but to social media marketing in particular, and let the conversation flow.
About the author: Rob Henry is the owner of Online Presence Digital Marketing based in Manchester