Social Media Roundup -- August 2012

Want great social media results? Make a plan!
Too often businesses getting started with social media overlook the need for a plan. It's easy to open Facebook or Twitter accounts and make a few posts. If you're lucky or have a ready-made network to tap into, you can get some engagement almost immediately. But what comes next? You need a social media plan to keep it going. Your social media plan guides you in these important areas:

  1. Where to post: Facebook is the 800-pound gorilla, but your audience may be using something else.
  2. How often to post: You need to post regularly, post often, and respond quickly to comments and Fan posts. Infrequent posting just doesn't get it done, and ignoring what people are telling you defeats the whole purpose of using social media.
  3. What to post: Figure out how you'll create content. People don't want commercials, they want to be entertained, and they want to know what's in it for them. Give them reasons to come back regularly and be delighted.
  4. Use contests and promotions effectively: They work.
  5. Keep learning about your social media channels: Social media isn't "set it and forget it." It evolves rapidly and you have to be adaptable. New tools and ideas will come out. Give your fans something special.

New Facebook tool allows more specific customer targeting
Fan Page administrators are now able to target posts to segments of their fan base who meet specific criteria such as age, gender, language, and location. The Facebook Ad platform already works this way. The new tool, Page Post Targeting Enhanced, is a powerful way to reach the people you want to efficiently.

Free social media management solution for small businesses
Keeping track of a business's social media is time-consuming. One way around it is to use social media management tools. However, professional platforms for social media management are generally too costly for smaller enterprises. The new version of Viralheat offers a credible, free, platform for basic social media management. Publish, schedule posts, read and respond to mentions and followers, basic social media monitoring, and basic report generation are all included in the free package.

Social media stats to surprise (and motivate) you
Five gems from this great collection of 72 statistics about social media, and what they mean to you:

  •  Social media sites and blogs reach 80% of all U.S. Internet users. If you're not using social media and websites yet, get started. Your customers (and competitors) are already there.
  •  4.8 billion people now own mobile phones. Just 4.2 billion own a toothbrush. Take a look at the opportunities the mobile Internet offers your business.
  •  B2C Facebook interaction is 30% higher than average on Sundays. There are lots of places to find out how people use social media. Take advantage of them to fine-tune your programs.
  •  95% of Facebook wall posts are not answered by brands. Social media takes commitment. Not replying to a post about your brand is a missed opportunity.
  •  86% of people say they are bothered by the need to create new accounts at websites they visit. Explore social login, which allows users to log in to your website using their credentials from social media sites such as Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter instead.

Facebook Casebook: Download a free copy today
Want to learn how other brands are succeeding with Facebook? Get this free collection of case studies from ClickZ, featuring brands including Nutella, Taco Bell, and Domino's.

Size matters: Building a Twitter Tribe
This step-by-step guide shows you how to build a targeted following on Twitter. If you're using Twitter, this article show you how to useTwitter's Tweepi tool ("the Twitter management tool with stats") to learn how to grow a large network to deliver the results you want for your business.

Twitter Political Index
Twitter has launched the Twitter Political Index to track enthusiasm for the presidential candidates running this year. The Index crowdsources public sentiment: how Twitter users are feeling about the presidential candidates. It's based on an estimated 2 million Twitter mentions of the candidates in a given week relative to more than 400 million tweets sent about other topics each day. Also see this skeptic's view on the value of this index (for example, distinguishing support from sarcasm in a 140-character message).

What you can learn from playing in a Facebook "sandbox"
Nope, it's not about keeping the kids busy. A sandbox page on Facebook is a private page you can use to test ideas and applications before bringing them to your main page. It's separate from your main Fan Page and sequestered from users. Installing new software can often be traumatic, so why not set up a safe place where you can test things out - before you make a mistake in front of 900 million people!

Why isn't your brand on Instagram?
Instagram - the photo sharing platform that reaches some 80 million users - was recently acquired by Facebook for $1 billion. Many businesses, from restaurants to home repair to senior care services, have compelling photo content to share with their fans and customers. Is yours one of them yet?

Social media reviews support sales
Consumers won't buy from companies they don't trust. One important source of trust these days is online customer reviews and endorsements - and it's one of the major reasons for Amazon's success. Amazon makes it easy for people to endorse their products, and the online behemoth does everything it can to encourage customers to provide feedback. Endorsements and recommendations from people we know are even more powerful. We have insight into the people we know, so we are able to trust them more than we can trust strangers. Consider finding ways to gather and publish reviews in your social media channels.

Pinterest continues to grow
Here are some reasons smart marketers are flocking to Pinterest:

  • Pinterest attracts social media newbies - which means many of them are brand new prospects for franchises. Most of them (70%) are women, and 28% have household incomes in excess of $100,000.
  • Pinterest is cutting into the time people spend on other social media platforms. Follow your customers.
  • Pinterest is expanding beyond the DIY/crafting niche it started with. Many companies are taking advantage of Pinterest. If your target market is likely to be there, you should be too.

Daniel Lieberman is the founder of Daniel Lieberman Digital ("I speak Geek - You don't need to"). Based in Shelburne Falls, Mass., he helps companies, organizations, and individuals learn to use the Internet to communicate, market, and brand themselves using the most up-to-date tools and techniques. Contact him at 413-489-1818 or daniel@daniellieberman.org.

Published: August 15th, 2012

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