One of our clients asked for advice on approaching different types of social media. She knew in theory that creating new content is good, but she wasn’t sure what content to put where.

“I have a blog, a Facebook fan page, and a Twitter account,” she asked us. “Should they all have different types of content? How often should I post on each one? Is there an easy way to replicate posts across different media?”

Starting from short content (Twitter) to longer content (blog posts), here’s our answer.

  • Twitter. There’s no real limit to how often you should post on Twitter. Things move quickly there, and it’s easy to miss people’s tweets, so posting frequently will give you a better chance of being seen and heard. In fact, it’s expected. If you’re not interacting pretty much every day, people will lose interest.Also, Twitter is supposed to be for socializing, so keep your posts conversational – people get pissed if you’re salesy. If you write business-related tweets, do it some 20% of the time, and make your tweets as un-pushy as possible.Because you want to tweet frequently, it’s fine to “push” your Facebook posts to Twitter (i.e., every comment you make on Facebook will show up on your Twitter account). However, it’s not a good idea to push your tweets to your Facebook page, because theoretically, you’ll have way too many posts. People get annoyed if you update your Facebook status 10 times a day – it’ll do you more
    harm than good.
  • Facebook. What you’re trying to do with Facebook is build a community around your brand. You want to start a conversation with your followers in the hopes that they’ll eventually use your page as a forum to talk about your company.To get the community started, about once a day, you can post thoughts, questions, polls, surveys, or anything that might get discussions started. If you can get to the point where you just monitor the page and chime in when questions are asked or problems arise, that’s ideal.
  • Blogs. Blogs are a great place to promote yourself and your company. The blog is on your site, and readers are expecting you to write about yourself. So you can be a little more salesy here.You should blog regularly –at least once a month, and ideally once every two weeks. Once a week is great if you have the time and content.Blogs can be used to answer FAQs, to talk about industry trends, or to announce new products, employees, or clients. Most importantly, blogs are great for letting your visitors and Google know that fresh content regularly appears on your site. If you have certain keyword phrases you’re going after, you can write entire articles about them, linking the phrases in the blog to the appropriate
    pages on your site.

    Pushing your blog articles to Facebook is a good idea. The content should be tied to the discussions on your Facebook page anyway, and the posts will sit on your page long enough to let multiple people see them. Pushing blog articles to Twitter is pretty much a waste of time –a one-time mention of a lengthy article will often be lost on Twitter users.

Overall, think of the different mediums as having different communication purposes. You can use Twitter and Facebook to interact with customers on a day-to-day basis, and then use your blog to talk less frequently, but more in depth, about issues that are important to them. With a good strategy in place and a little luck, you should soon have a strong following in each medium.

Email marketing

Is email marketing dead?

We recently saw a post on this topic, and it made us stop and think. If you can get Twitter and Facebook updates from your favorite companies, do you really need to get email from them too?

We put our thinking caps on, and we thunk awhile, and we decided . . . yes, yes, you do need email marketing!

Here’s why.

  • Email marketing reaches customers who haven’t jumped into social media. Plenty of boomers get email from their kids and shop online. But not all of them have started using Facebook, let alone Twitter. Email remains a useful way to stay in touch with them and let them know about sales and promotions.
  • It’s a way to establish expertise. Many companies send out email newsletters just like this one on a regular basis. These newsletters aren’t pushing direct sales. Instead, they share information about topics that are important to your customers. This knowledge-sharing can help establish you as an expert in your field – whether you’re a catering firm writing about how to host a great event, or a golf pro offering weekly tips on improving your stroke.
  • It’s a way to get the word out about sales and specials. It’s no big news that putting products on sale is one of the most effective calls to action available. That’s why mega-retailers like J. Crew and Land’s End have aggressive email marketing campaigns. Each company promotes a wide variety of sales throughout the year – sometimes it’s free shipping, sometimes it’s end-of-season discounts, sometimes percent discounts. But the sales are regular, and the emails announcing them can come weekly or even daily.

The rules of conduct governing email marketing are rigorous, and there’s no better way to ruin your reputation and get onto server blacklists than to violate them. But if you follow the rules, email can be a great part of your interactive marketing campaign.

Want to talk about your email strategy? Contact us today.

Wanted to take a minute this week to talk about one of our favorite web tools, StumbleUpon. We like StumbleUpon because, like so many social media tools, it can be good for business. We also like it because it’s a darn fun way to find new websites related to your interests.

When you join StumbleUpon, you get to pick from a list of items that are of interest to you. We chose Web Development, PHP, and Search, for example. (As well as Science Fiction and Action Movies. But that’s another topic.)

After you pick your interests, StumbleUpon displays related sites that other users have rated highly. Each time you look at a site, you can give it a positive or negative rating. Over time, sites that are consistently ranked highly move up in StumbleUpon’s search results. Sites that are ranked poorly move down.

StumbleUpon enthusiasts argue that the site’s search results are more useful than Google’s because they’re based entirely on user rankings – rankings from real human beings, in other words. Google’s results, in contrast, are based on algorithms that can be “tricked” by unscrupulous or overly aggressive webmasters.

That’s why we recommend that our customers incorporate StumbleUpon into their SEO campaigns. Achieving high rankings in StumbleUpon can be a real coup for your site – and can have a serious impact on your web traffic.

So when you have a minute, stumble over to our office. We’ll help you get StumbleUpon working for you .

Google “Twitter for business,” and you’ll instantly find about a zillion articles on why companies, politicians, and nonprofits around the world are using this tiny tool to talk with their customers. Not to jump on the bandwagon . . . but we agree.  Twitter is indeed an easy-to-use,  low-cost way to create a dialogue with your customers . . . let them know what’s going on with your business . . . and hear their concerns, complaints, and cheers.

If you don’t know what Twitter is by now, here’s the deal. Twitter is a social messaging app that lets you post short, 140-character updates about your life or business. Friends and customers can sign up to “follow” you, and get your updates on their phone or computer.

We wrote recently about how lots of companies don’t get how social media relates to their kind of business. We think that when used strategically, social media, and Twitter particularly, can be a great part of just about any company’s marketing program. For example:

  • A manufacturer could Tweet about new technologies they’re checking out at a tradeshow
  • A publisher could Tweet about new titles hitting the market
  • A retailer could Tweet about items on sale that week
  • A restaurant or bar could Tweet about its daily specials
  • A construction firm could Tweet about cool new projects it’s working on

And Twitter isn’t only being used for marketing and PR. Companies like Comcast and Dell are effectively using Twitter to help with customer service . . . finding another way to connect with users and answer their questions quickly and simply.

Once you start thinking about all the ideas, facts, and tips you could share with your customers daily . . . in snippets of only 140 words . . . the possibilities get really exciting really fast.

Want to follow us on Twitter? Go to Promise we’ll follow you back.

(And of course, if you want to talk with us about using Twitter for your business, don’t hesitate to be in touch.)

Recently, a lot of our customers have been hedging about using social media to promote their business. Many of them have the idea that social media is only for youth-oriented businesses . . . like selling energy drinks to college students. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Traditional companies are using social media like crazy to publicize their business and services. And because it costs so little to use relative to other advertising venues, the ROI can be impressive.

Here are just a few examples we’ve noticed recently:

Youtube – Blendtec, a plain ol’ manufacturer of home and commercial blenders, has been the darling of YouTube for the past few years because of its low-budget, high-impact series of Will It Blend? videos.  Even stodgy medical journals are using YouTube as a venue to publicize their surgical training videos. (We would put a link here, but TRUST US, you don’t want to see this stuff.)

Twitter – Traditional media outlets like NBCNews are using Twitter to push out their headlines quickly and succinctly to their audience. And politicians on both sides of the aisle – folks like Ohio’s John Boehner – are using Twitter to communicate daily with their constituents.

Facebook – Only cutting-edge companies on Facebook? No way. The Washington Post has a Facebook page. The Red Cross does. Here in the Dayton region, the tiny Tipp City Library has a page, and regularly pushes out notes to its fans about library happenings – events like the annual book sale, mystery book club, and storytime for kids.

We think the lesson here is that social media isn’t only for “certain companies.” It’s for finding new ways to interact with your customers . . .  get them information. . . build deeper relationships, and create more meaningful conversations with them.

And that stuff’s good for any business.

Curious about how social media could help your business? Contact us anytime. We’re not here 24/7 . . . but sometimes it feels like it.