Using Social Media To Promote – A Beginners Guide
If you are looking to promote your website or blog using social media then your at the right place!
To get started all you need is a computer, something to promote and a few friends.
Friends are powerful in small business and start ups but since we can amplify anyone’s voice online, friends are more influential than ever before. The only challenges is giving people who are willing to support you sufficient leverage for their “small” voices.
Viral traffic from a base of 200 friends can be crazy.
Those with clout are the ones who influence. Finding people with clout within your niche is an essential step in formulating your social media plan, because ultimately you want to influence them to spread your message. If you can influence the influentials your job will be much easier.
How To Find Your Clout:
Find popular blogs within your niche.
- Found the most influential blogs using blogcatalog, Alltop, Delicious, Technorati and Ask. More on this in a post to be written.
Find twitterers with large followings within your niche.
- Use wefollow to search for tweeters within you niche, rank them by “Most Influential”.
- Use Twitter Karma to arrange you followers by follow count (weed out some spammers while your at it..). The ones with high follower counts (and lower following counts) are likely to have clout.
With Them Over
It is essential you win these guys over. A long term strategy is far better than pestering them and becoming another spammer.
The key is to get noticed by them first. An easy example online is to do them a favour. For example if they are a blogger, comment on their posts, if they are a tweeter, ReTweet their messages (especially links to their own content/self promotion) etc,
Then approach them about your product. But be prepared.
What To Prepare
- You need your freebie/giveaway (high perceived value).
- An easy to tell story/point of interest or discussion.
- A system that will leverage each person’s voice.
You need to find a freebie or something to give away that actually has high perceived value for the customer. This can be relatively low cost (or even free) for you.
- Give your product away – This is the best as it means customers actually get to interact with what you’re selling, it wins them over and they are more likely to spread the word. This wouldn’t be an effective strategy if you were selling houses..
- Free eBook – Overdone but still effective if well targeted/of interest to your niche
- Webinar – Same as eBook must have valuable content
- Invites – To your new service website, early access to the 2.0 release etc. Very effective for getting people to pass on and spread the word. Invite your influentials and give them another 10 to give to their readers. Much like the Google Wave release.
- Money – Will always draw a crowd, but gets expensive.. and it’s a pretty “cheap” marketing strategy.
- Your Time – If people value it as much as you do this can be a winner
- Physical Stuff – A “Limited Edition” branded t-shirt, pen.. It might cost more than an email, but someone with clout wearing your shirt is priceless.
A Great Story
If your story is hard to tell or boring it wont spread. Having a story that will stick is powerful in getting your story to spread. And ideally your story will make you look good.
You want to have a memorable story, or point of interest about your product/business before you approach those with clout.
Leverage Their Voice
Initially our voice would only go as far as it was audible, then came cave drawings, anyone who came into that cave would benefit from our work. Next was twitter, ok so there was a few developments in the middle.. but with Twitter we can send one 140 character message, @aplusk (Ashton Kutcher) can ReTweet us and 4million people benefit. Technology has changed how loud one man’s voice can be. And when marketing online we can selectively amplify our positive customer feedback.
Find Your Customers
Find out where the customers are online and what they are looking for. Focus especially on social networks, what will they be reading socially online, what will they share? Will it be YouTube. Develop your campaign that around these social mediums.
Interact with your customers and leverage their voices (the ones that like you). Set up a blog and share their stories, tweet their exploits, do a video on them/promote their videos on your site, use testimonials etc the list goes on. But the key thing is to get them interacting with you.
Competitions are a great place to start.
A Great Competition
Get creative. A competition should be related to your niche in some way, empower people to take part and reward everyone for their involvement.
Launch the competition through your existing friend networks, with databases of existing customers and with your newly acquired influential friends.
- Have a good prize (the better the more response)
- Have more than one prize. People don’t like entering if there’s only a 1 in a million chance. The more people you can reward the better. Can you reward everyone? An eBook, an invite, the VIP section?
- Get everyone participating, not just entrants. Getting people to vote is one way to increase involvement from readers.
- Get everyone promotiong. Give entrants all the “vote for me” tools they need. Prewritten tweets, Facebook updates, Emdedable banners/buttons, and emails are all good.
- Make it fun, and then promote the winner
Lots of competitions are big and exciting but once the hype of the competition is over, it’s forgotten. Think of a way to extend the life of you competition beyond prizegiving. Think about “The Best Job In The World” competition, where Ben has been blogging about his experiences as the winner.
Phew! Longest post ever. So much to say and yet still so much unsaid!
This is far from complete guide, but it is one that works.
If you have any pointers or ideas leave a comment. Would love to hear your approach.