Leveraging social media is one of the ways you can focus on link building, reputation management, online sales, and more, as part of an SEO (define) strategy.
Remember, each social media venue is different with real people thriving in real, albeit virtual, communities. Some social gatherings tend to take their conversations pretty seriously, so they are naturally protective of their communities. Joining a social media community isn't a right -- you have to earn your voice to be heard. Social media is not a set-it-and-forget it environment. It takes an investment in time, thought, and planning. Spend time getting to know all about the environment. As an example, let's look at Twitter.
Twitter was originally built to accommodate updates from phones. The origin of the 140-character limit per post mirrors the 160-character limit for short message services (SMS). But Twitter has grown far beyond its original text-based constructs to include thousands of applications that make users more productive and prolific than ever before.
In its simplest form, Twitter is a micro-blogging forum that allows you to connect with people directly on their cell phones or computers in a non-obtrusive way. The nicest thing about being able to connect with people through Twitter is that fans and followers don't have to give you any private information about themselves. Rather, Twitter allows friends and fans an easy way to follow your tweets because they want to get your updates, alerts, tips, and general messages.
Twitter is all about speed and participating in the conversation. This concept is so important to your success in Twitter that it bears repeating. Twitter is about people, participation, and persuasion. Grasp this one concept and you'll be able to surpass your online rivals to lead your niche in online marketing, brand buzz, and reputation management.
Businesses can form instant direct relationships with customers simply by signing up and using the service regularly. Under the different business models Twitter is beta testing, businesses should soon be able to advertise to the Twitter community as well.
Twitter isn't just a cute way for keeping up with friends on mobile phones anymore. It has ramped up quickly to be the search engine of choice for millions seeking its human driven results. Consequently,
Twitter is a new media revolution that should not be ignored, especially if you are seeking one more way to rank in search results.
Ready, Set, Tweet
Since Twitter has universal appeal, consider starting with a tweet or two -- after you've searched for tweets about your company or your brands, of course. To sign up for Twitter, simply go to Twitter.com and click on "Get Started -- Join!" Fill out the information and voila -- you have your own Twitter account.
I usually recommend setting up at least two accounts; one for your personal name and one for each branded line or business division in your organization. That's where some of the planning comes in. It's also important to grab names for your brands before someone else does, even if you don't plan on using the account for a while.
There are a few things to consider when signing up, starting with selecting the right user name. It's perfectly acceptable to use your full name for a personal account, just don't make your name any longer than it needs to be. Challenges with using your full name arise when it's too long or too difficult for new friends and followers to spell.
Twitter limits your username to 14 characters or less. There are several advantages of using a short brand name, versus your full brand name. Short brand names are easier to remember, spell, and type when using a mobile device to communicate with you. The key is to be remembered, so if you have to shorten your name, at least make it memorable.
Next, set up your profile. Remember, your profile will be the meta description adjoined to your profile name as the title tag for your Twitter page, so make the most of the space you have. Include some pertinent information about yourself or your company since the twittosphere actually wants to know these things. You'll also want to upload a current photo of yourself for your personal Twitter account and upload an image or a logo for your business account.
There are some free Twitter backgrounds you can download for your profile page. You can design your own Twitter skin for better brand identification, but you can do that at a later date after you get started. For now it's easiest to just stick to the ones that Twitter has given you to choose from. You can also change profiles from the "settings" link located under your picture on your profile page on the right sidebar. Be sure to include a link to your Web site, a landing page within your Web site designed just for Twitter users, your blog, or wherever. It's a free link that's naturally part of your profile.
It's important that you Tweet a few things that leave a lasting impact before you start following people or looking for followers. Have at least five to eight Tweets up on your profile to give new visitors coming across your profile page an idea of what type of Tweets they can expect if they choose to follow you.
What can you Tweet about when you first get started? You could Tweet a few cool things about yourself, perhaps industry tips, quotes, or questions. Or you can put anything you might have in a biography or an "about us" in a series of Tweets. Whatever you do, don't just talk about sales or marketing initiatives at first. Instead, talk about who you are and why you're there.
Always remember that Twitter is a public forum. You can't take back a Tweet. Toward that end, it's a good idea to understand a little about Twitter etiquette as you begin finding friends and followers, which we'll talk more about when we next meet.
P.J. Fusco has been working in the Internet industry since 1996 when she developed her first SEM service while acting as general manager for a regional ISP. She was the SEO manager for Jupitermedia and has performed as the SEM manager for an international health and beauty dot-com corporation generating more than $1 billion a year in e-commerce sales. Today, she is director for natural search for Netconcepts, a cutting-edge SEO firm with offices in Madison, WI, and Auckland, New Zealand.
June 5, 2013
1:00pm ET / 10:00am PT