I know this is kind of old hat but I still feel like a lot of social media marketing conversations I am in boil down to Facebook fan count and engagement. Now I'm not going to say that fans aren't important, but let's face it - the vast majority of companies are never going to have a million fans. Heck, most companies in the world will never have 20,000 fans.
This isn't because they're run by bad people or they make bad products; it just means that they either don't have the budget to invest in building a fan base or their products (or company) just aren't that "likable." Not all brands and products are the type of thing people would publically become a fan of. For example, who wants to fan anti-depression medication or baldness remedies? Both products are used by many people and consumers really want information about these products. However, people just don't want to hit that "Like" button on their fan pages.
So what does this mean? It means that for the majority of companies out there that will never have a big fan base, and for those companies that make less than "likable" products, social media marketing cannot be about Facebook fans. It has to be about utilizing social media to help propagate their products, message, brand, educational materials, and thought leadership throughout the web. It means getting recognized by the vocal influencers out there who are both interested in what you do and active in social.
The thing that's important to realize is that success in social is often realized via search. So this means that the content you put out there may spread through the web via social but people are discovering it via search. Sure, it's great when your content goes viral and people find you via social, but that's typically a flash-in-the-pan event that's hard to consistently replicate. The long-term benefit is when you produce good content and utilize social to weave your content into the fabric of the web. It's great when your site pops at the top of Google, but it's also good when your content (or content about you) pops at the top of Google on another site (blog, forum, mainstream media, etc.) and links back to your site. It's this "off-site" or "off-page" presence that gives your social efforts a long-term echo and ROI!
So here are some tactics you can use to hopefully get that instant social/viral pop we are always chasing, but also some of that long-term social + search ROI that actually builds a brand and business over time.
I know this is just a small list and certainly not everything an organization could do in terms of "earned" or low-cost social media marketing. Also, I know these tactics seem very "grassroots." However, they work for companies large and small and are just some of the basic principles and tactics that make up a robust social media marketing foundation. Of course, please feel free to add some tactics in the comments!
Facebook Like image on home page via Shutterstock.
This column was originally published on Feb. 26, 2013.
Upcoming Webinar: PPC Pause and Reflections for 2013
Thursday, December 12 - 2013 was a major turning point in search advertising. With Google's Enhanced Campaigns and Bing's innovative Smart Search capabilities in Windows 8.1, now is a great time to pause, reflect, and plan for the new year.
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As founder and CEO of Overdrive, Harry Gold is the architect and conductor behind the company's ROI-driven programs. His primary mission is to create innovative marketing programs based on real-world success and to ensure the marketing and technology practices that drive those successes are continually institutionalized into the culture and methods of the agency. What excites him is the knowledge that Overdrive's collaborative environment has created a company of online media, SEM, and online behavioral experts who drive success for the clients and companies they serve. Overdrive serves a diverse base of B2B and B2C clients that demand a high level of accountability and ROI from their online programs and campaigns.
Harry started his career in 1995 when he founded online marketing firm Interactive Promotions, serving such clients as Microsoft, "The Financial Times," the Hard Rock Cafe, and the City of Boston. Since then, he has been at the forefront of online branding and channel creation, developing successful Web and search engine-based marketing programs for various agencies and Fortune 500 companies.
Harry is a frequent lecturer on SEM and online media for The New England Direct Marketing Association; Ad Club; the University of Massachusetts, Boston; Harvard University; and Boston University.
December 12, 2013
1:00pm ET / 10:00am PT