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Build It and They Will Come: Social Media Promotion Strategy

by Randall Craig on October 19, 2011

Filed in: Blog, Blogging, Communication, Make It Happen Tipsheet, Social Media

Tagged as: , , , , , ,

While Build It and They Will Come might work in the movies (remember Field of Dreams?), it doesn’t quite work that way in the world of Social Media. Yes, you can put up a Facebook page, LinkedIn profile, or YouTube channel, but how can you truly attract followers?  And how can you truly drive engagement?  If you are going to the effort and expense of creating a presence, presumably some effort should also be spent marketing it.

Here are 15 ideas that will help; some basic, some more advanced, but all in one place:

  1. Create great content that people will actually want to read.  If it is compelling, they will pass it along.  Quality content is central to everything.
  2. Create Action Hooks:  A call to action that invites engagement and activity.  This can be as simple as asking the reader for their opinion, or asking them to share it with their network.
  3. Write for your reader, but keep Google in mind.  Embed keywords within the post title and body, so that people can find your post over a wider number of searches.
  4. Syndicate and integrate:  particularly, if you have a number of websites (but even if you don’t), connect them together through RSS syndication so that your content – not just the links – appear embedded within multiple sites.
  5. Take advantage of Widgets:  Most Social Media sites have widgets – snippets of HTML code that you can embed in your website – which brings your live content to other sites.  Offer a widget with your content to customers, suppliers, employees, and any other person or organization that might be interested.
  6. Create great content, take two:  Focussed, on-task, aimed at a specific target audience.  It demonstrates your depth of expertise, and will generate reader loyalty.
  7. Reference other web pages, and solicit cross-links in return.  The more inbound links you earn, the greater your natural readership… and the better your search engine ranking.
  8. Consider pay-per-click advertising.  Both Google and Facebook allow incredibly precise targeting, and can find your target user in places where you can’t.  Even if only a small number of people click through to your Social Media site, everyone will still see your ad, improving their awareness of you – at zero cost.
  9. Think offline, not just online:  Business cards, Marketing collateral, Trade show booths, Public presentations, Promo items, PR, and everything that you do in the real world should drive people to a purpose-built Social Media landing page.  This will drive engagement and action right from the start; it’s no longer enough just to put your website address everywhere.
  10. Use QR codes to direct mobile users to specific blog posts and socially-enabled pages.
  11. Use contests, surveys, and other interactive mechanisms to increase engagement… and learn more about your readers.
  12. Use your email list to introduce readers to your blog; just remember that there has to be an actual reason why they should go there, otherwise they won’t go.  Sometimes all you need is a link at the bottom of each newsletter item that says “join the conversation” or “share your experience”, linking to a corresponding blog post.  (You should also use your blog post to grow the number of mailing list subscribers.)
  13. Send a Tweet (and update your Facebook and LinkedIn status) pointing to your new blog post.  Multiply the impact by asking those close to you to Retweet (or comment) on your post… which will amplify your message even further.
  14. Again, write great content, and do it frequently (and consistently) enough that people add you into their schedule.  Your audience forgets infrequent posts… and so does Google.
  15. Add your perspective on other’s blogs, either through guest-blogging, or through insightful comments; in both cases, you can link back to your blog, or even better, to a specific blog post or other Social Media page.

This week’s action plan:  Re-evaluate how you get the word out, then adopt at least one of these new ideas.  Build it – and promote it – and then they will come.

Two more requests:
1) Do you have anything that has worked particularly well for you, that isn’t on the list?  Add your experience by commenting on my blog, or sending me an email with your thoughts.
2) Please forward this post to the person responsible in your organization for Social Media – it might make the difference between success or failure.

Postscript:  I didn’t just add those two Action Hooks to demonstrate how to phrase requests – I actually would appreciate your ideas, and I actually would appreciate you forwarding this on.  But look at the wording:  it clearly points out why it is in the reader’s interest to act.

Note: The Make It Happen Tipsheet is also available by email. Go to www.RandallCraig.com to register.

Randall Craig

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About 

Randall has been advising on Web and Social Strategy since 1994 when he put the Toronto Star online, the Globe and Mail's GlobeInvestor/Globefund, several financial institutions, and about 100+ other major organizations. He is the author of seven books, including the recently released "Everything Guide to Starting an Online Business", and speaks across North America on Social Media and Web Strategy. More at randallcraig.com and 108ideaspace.com.

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