10 ways to make social media better in 2010

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Kudos to all the companies who have utilised social media as part of their search engine marketing strategy in 2009, but since 2010 is around the corner; it is a good time to see what can be done better in 2010. There are many opportunities and so much could be done that the list is endless, but here I have tried to select the 10 lowest hanging fruits. Nothing is absolute, and we all know that what works for some doesn’t for others. But hopefully these points are generic enough for everyone to take advantage of.

1. Spend more traditional ad budget on customer service

Most of the problems could be diffused easily if companies would simply treat customers as they should. In today’s social life activities, word of mouth travels far and can truly influence users across the globe.

The research found that an overwhelming majority of companies (86%) surveyed plan to spend more money on social media in 2010, and a further 13% are planning to keep the same level of budget. Here is a social media research report that provides detailed information about how companies are using online PR tactics and social media sites – including Facebook and Twitter – in their search engine marketing benefit.

By supplementing your products with excellent support and a pleasant experience, you will create brand advocates that will help, rather than hurt you. In a McKinsey report, 67% of consumer sales are directly influenced by WOM (PDF), and the best form of reputation management does not need to manage your reputation at all. Social media impact will result with happy customers.

2. Implement robust policies for social media

A majority of companies have been engaged in social media activities on an as required basis, without a plan and long term goals. What we need to do is to put together a list of goals and then work to find a strategy that will work to accomplish them. Don’t just Tweet because you saw it on Bloomberg, and certainly don’t make a Facebook page because your competitor did. Come up with a list of goals and a strategy to achieve them. Tactics and strategies are crucial in social media, as Sun Tzu eloquently stated: Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory. Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat.

3. Provide proper training to staff

Remember, the idea for social media is to make public, and very quickly, whatever your ideas or services or products are about. It is in your interest to ensure that workers are not breaking terms of use, acting inappropriately, providing inaccurate information or involved in any other type of detrimental promotional activity. Also, the company spokesperson, or anyone who is allowed to speak on behalf of the company should have good knowledge of how networks work and the overall company strategy in utilising these networks. When executed poorly, social media has the power to severely harm a brand, and education is the fundamental factor that can prevent these problems. Recently, there have been some social media meltdowns based on the lack of knowledge of some individuals acting on behalf of a company, and that’s the last thing you want to happen.

4. Track to measure success

One of the toughest aspects of Social Media Marketing is tracking the conversations that are occurring deep inside the information cloud. Research and find a solution that will help you and your company achieve your social media goals. Some of these can be found in my earlier post.There are a number of good tracking systems on the market, the trick is to test drive them and see what will work for you. In addition to tracking mentions, tracking broad keywords and engaging customer who are looking for help can be a very profitable portion of your social media marketing campaign.

5. Protect your image by protecting your brand name

If you have a trademarked term, you can almost always stop name squatters from hijacking your brand name, but why wait for that to happen? There are services that allow you to reserve usernames across hundreds of sites and prevent those from stealing your brand. Come to us and we can help you in setting up these preventive measures; it doesn’t take a lot of money, so take action out there and protect your brand.

6. Customise your social network pages

Use your social media profiles as extensions of your brand and of your website. Take the time to make custom backgrounds for Twitter or create rich Facebook tabs that support your current marketing initiatives. Just because your profile isn’t on your site, doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t spend money trying to make it look good.

7. Advertise your social profiles to promote yourself

Many times, simply slapping a social media badge in your footer is simply not enough. Although one of the hardest things to justify in Internet marketing is spending money without sending visitors to your website, you have to understand that much like investing in design and development for social profiles, you should be securing budget for advertising on social media sites as well. For example, advertising Facebook pages is a quick and easy way to let targeted users know that you are participating in the conversation. While you may be able to leverage your site to gain some loyal fans/followers (see above), spending money for exposure to targeted audiences could be much more profitable in the long run.

8. Reward loyal fans and Call to action to get new fans

By offering fans items that are exclusive to the social audience, you can demonstrate value and make them feel good about following you. Not only would they get an exclusive deal/song/download/game, they also get the feeling that they are getting a special connection that not everyone has. If you build it, they will come doesn’t work in social media, or online in general. You should give users a reason to follow you and become a fan. Whether it is sweepstakes, breaking news, giveaways, sales or company updates, you should offer users something beneficial in exchange for their loyalty.

9. Reach out to more social network sites

While Twitter and Facebook are making the biggest splash on the news scene, there are hundreds more social sites out there many of which can help you achieve company goals. Look into other social media outlets that you may not be currently engaged in. From social news sites like Digg to social book marking sites like the new StumbleUpon to smaller niche social media sites, there are many outlets that could work for you, so give them a try!

10. Don’t neglect your main website

While all of the above points speak mainly of tactics that work off of your site, one of the biggest things to remember is that you can be social on your site. Things like blogs and forums were the original social media, so make sure to maintain and cultivate them and create good content that will perform well in social media. At the end of the day, your site is your ultimate sales tool, so take care of it! Where applicable try to bring social media in with things like Facebook Connect or Digg or Twitter’s API to harness the benefits of these sites on your own.

SysComm is an Internet Marketing, Search Engine Marketing, Social Media and SEO Company. We provide a complete service package including Internet marketing strategies, SEO services and search engine marketing. SysComm is also an SEO consultant. To know more about our services or to claim your free social media marketing analysis, fill up the contact form or email us on info@syscomminternational.com.

Posted by SysComm Team   @   23 December 2009 3 comments
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3 Comments

Comments
Jan 11, 2010
4:58 pm

I think you mentioned some great things here to keep in mind when implementing social media for your business in 2010.

However, a few fundamental things should also be considered before jumping into tactical execution. Namely, spending time “listening” to what is being said about your company and developing a marketing strategy around that to gain some control over the message.

I outline these concepts and a few more (like ROI) in a recent blog post which is needed to develop a social media marketing strategy and to sell the idea to executive leadership.

All the best to you, Julia
.-= ´s last blog ..Chào mừng bạn ghé thăm nhà! =-.

Jan 11, 2010
8:58 pm
#2 Fred :

Good post Deepti. First of all, thanks for the follow on Twitter :)
It’s good that I found your post. Last Saturday I launched our sharinf our “social media strategy 2010″ and this is a good way to benchmark a few things…
I spent a bit more time talking about blog strategy, have a look and let me know if there’s something to improve :).

Best
Fred
.-= ´s last blog ..Social media stratregy 2010 =-.

Author Jan 12, 2010
11:46 am
#3 admin :

Thank you for reading our blog, Julia!
You are right about the importance of listening our audience in social media. As we have discussed in our previous post, Simple 3 Step Social Media Strategy, listening, engaging and responding are key factors for a successful social media strategy.

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