Social Media 101 for Business
There can be as many as twenty major moving parts in a social eco-system…
Defining Your Social Media Eco-System
So, you have a website and a blog, and you’re wondering what social media is all about, and how it might work for your company. Instead of diving in head first into Twitter, you should take a step back, and develop a social model that supports your company’s goals / customer demographics.
When thinking strategically about your social eco-system, it will be useful to look at all the components that are available to you, and how they will interrelate. Understanding your eco-system will provide many more opportunities to generate traffic, leads, content and links back to your company. For example, Nielson recently reported that users spend an average of 6.5 hours a month on Social Networking sites. With over 600 million members in the Facebook community alone – your customers are already there. This is a good place to start.
So, let’s break it down a bit. The four major high-level components of your Social Networking eco-system are:
- Social Networks
- Social Media Content Networks
- Your Company Properties
Social Network Platforms
On the Social Network side, you have four major communities with differing demographic profiles, and behavior patterns. There are others, such as Plaxo.com, Classmates.com, MySpace.com and Bebo.com that could be of interest to you, but these are the top four.
Applications and Tools
- Mobile applications – i.e. over 100 million users a month access Facebook with mobile devices.
- Desktop applications – i.e. TweetDeck, which integrates content streams from Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn into one manageable view.
- Social Network Platform API’s – that allow you to develop applications that aid in greater product sales, and content distribution opportunities.
Social Content Sites
The third part of your eco-system is all those Social Content sites that distribute, and consume user-generated content in very large quantities. There are dozens upon dozens of these user-generated content communities, but these are the most important.
The fourth part of your eco-system is your Company Properties. There are three major components to this. They include:
- Your company website with all the custom landing pages that support interactions with the rest of the social community.
- Your company Blog, which derives readers from Twitter, then drives them to Facebook fan pages, to content silos, or into the lead conversion funnel.
- Company applications that consummate selling events, or provide mobile access to products, services and content.
When you take a step back to think about this, you have potentially 20 moving parts in your eco-system that have to be integrated into a coherent social media strategy. The complexity can be great, but if you approach this incrementally, you can learn while managing the process and risk. You can reduce risk by breaking your Social Strategy into manageable chunks. You can start by:
- Developing a demographic profile, and understand the behavior for each social platform.
- Develop an eco-system integration roadmap. Name all the parts.
- Figure out how each social platform works and develop functional expertise in each.
- Make sure you have engineering resources to evaluate the platforms’ API’s.
- Make sure you have a project manager / social media manager who own the project.
- Develop your content strategy.
- Develop your communications strategy.
- Develop your execution strategy – start simple.
To that end, you should start with a single social platform, figure it out, and learn from your successes and mistakes. I suggest that you start with Facebook since it is the largest platform. Once your Facebook presence is well established, you should integrate the next most important platform, which would be Twitter. At this point you need to have a well-developed content and communications strategy to maximize the flow of visitors from Twitter. However, if you are in the B2B business you may want to start with the LinkedIn platform.
To help you work through these and other issues, we have developed the expertise that provides the guidance you need to sort through the various social technologies. These are:
- Facebook Company Pages Best Practices
- Blogging Best Practices
- Twitter Best Practices
- LinkedIn Company Pages Best Practices
Find Out More
To find out more about how we can help you with your Social Media strategy please call me now at 781-862-3126 contact me at: Mark@MSprague.com
About Lexington eBusiness Consulting
Mark Sprague’s 25 years of product development experience which includes expertise in Search Engines, Information Products, SEO platforms and Social Networking applications provide in-depth expertise to help you refine products and services, and improve your web sites performance by:
- Developing a superior data-driven SEO strategy for your website.
- Understanding your customers’ search behavior and normalizing it to your content strategy.
- Understanding how search engine technology practically impacts SEO and content strategies.
- Understanding how search technology impacts content in a social networking environment.
- Developing a superior user experience based on sound information architecture, usability and coding standards.
Lexington eBusiness Consulting
Mark Sprague, CEO
580 Lowell Street
Lexington, MA 02420