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Social Networking and Online Marketing Strategy


1) Create a fan page on a social networking site


  • Create a fan page on Facebook. From here, you can post updates to your fans, invite them to events, etc, keeping your identity and your ideas fresh in the minds of fans (or customers).
  • Gather followers via Twitter and post. Your posts, or “tweets,” are broadcast instantly to your followers.
  • LinkedIn - LinkedIn is a business-oriented social networking service with 300 million+ members. Manage your professional identity. Build and engage with your professional network. Access knowledge, insights and opportunities.
  • Pinterest - Pinterest is a place to discover ideas for all your projects and interests, hand-picked by people like you.
  • Google+ It is the fifth-largest social networking site in the world after Facebook. 540 million monthly active users are part of the Identity service site, by interacting socially with Google+'s enhanced properties, like Gmail, +1 button, and YouTube comments.
  • Youtube - YouTube is a video-sharing website that allows users to upload, view, and share videos. Most of the content on YouTube has been uploaded by individuals, but media corporations including CBS, the BBC, Vevo, Hulu, and other organizations offer some of their material via YouTube, as part of the YouTube partnership program.
  • Flickr (pronounced "flicker") is an image hosting and video hosting website, and web services suite. In addition to being a popular website for users to share and embed personal photographs, and effectively an online community, the service is widely used by photo researchers and by bloggers to host images that they embed in blogs and social media.
  • DISQUS - If you’re passionate about writing and sharing, Disqus helps you build a community of active readers and commenters.

It is vital not to use these fan pages and microblogging services to simply advertise and spam product launches or events at your fans and followers. Your online followers are a savvy bunch, and it's easy for them to click "Ignore" or un-friend you. Make sure you stay on-message with you posts and tweets and support your company's brand with high-quality, well thought-out messages targeted to your followers. A tweet about how great the weather is in Florida will only serve to cheapen your company's brand (unless, of course, you are a weather forecaster in Florida). Not all posts or tweets need to sell your product, of course. Well-placed, targeted messages establishing you as a leader in your marketplace make a lot of sense to win over the hearts and minds of your fans and keep your brand front and center in their minds.

2) Social Advertising

Most social networking sites are still fumbling with their revenue models. I expect that most will eventually attempt to implement an effective advertising model, similar to Google's AdWords. Social networking sites have a tremendous amount of user profile data – gender, age, education, occupation, etc. and can leverage it to target ads with surgical precision.


  • Facebook Social Ads

3) Event Invitations

For a business, an event can be practically anything: A launch party for a new product. A sale. A new website launch. A drink special at a bar.


  • Facebook event invitations allow you to broadcast events directly to your fans.
  • Meetup lets you set up groups and organize events
  • Evite

4) Syndicate content via a blog

Most businesses have a lot to say to their target audience, but might not have a program for documenting and broadcasting this knowledge. A blog can be a great way of doing this and attracting return visits to your website. Great content aggregators such as Google Reader now allow your visitors to subscribe to your blog's RSS feed. When you post an update to your blog, this is automatically broadcast out to your subscribers. Measure your subscriber activity by "burning" your feed using Google's FeedBurner service.

Our client, DiscoveredArtists.com, is extremely knowledgeable in online art sales (buy art online). They found themselves counseling individual artists in topics such as online marketing, search engine optimization, pricing, and packing artwork. We counseled them to launch a blog and create an internal program to continually document and broadcast this knowledge out to their artists.

Blogging is, by definition, a conversation. While many businesses opt to create one-way blogs (fearing negative comments from their customers), blog comments are a powerful way of soliciting user feedback, learning more about your customers, and allowing users to publish their comments directly to Facebook, Twitter, or DISQUS, to create a viral buzz about your blog.


  • Google Friend Connect's social bar and comments gadget
  • Facebook Connect's fan box and comments box widgets
  • DISQUS Comments

5) Share your content via Digg, Buzz, Stumble Upon, Delicious, Facebook, etc.

Websites such as Digg, Buzz, Stumble Upon, Delicious, Facebook, and many others rely on their users to contribute content. Link sharing sites such as Digg count the number of recommendations for a given piece of content, with the most popular rising to the top and appearing on their homepages. Social networking sites such as Facebook and Google+ and blogs give individuals a way of broadcasting your content directly to their users. Microblogging service Twitter allows its user to tweet things they find interesting.

  • Facebook Like button
  • Google +1 button
  • Twitter tweet button

An even easier way to get started is to add sharing icons to content on your website using AddThis orShareThis.

6) Social Media Integration 

One effective method of doing this is to leverage a single sign-on that allows your site's visitors to log in with their existing Facebook or OpenSocial login and password.
Facebook's Connect service allows for bi-directional communication between your website and Facebook. For instance, a Facebook visitor who signs in to your website using Facebook Connect can choose to have content they create on your website automatically broadcast to their Facebook feed, where their friends can see it. Your site can also pull in their profile information, friends, photos, and more.

Our client, MyAdventures.com, uses Facebook Connect to power their website. Their users can log in with their Facebook login and password. When a user creates a “trip report” of their latest adventure, they can broadcast that out to their Facebook friends.

Not to be outdone, Google has created a competing Google Friend Connect service, which consists of gadgets which may be easily installed on any website.

7) Video

Videos are a great way of creating buzz about a new product or service, and numerous services exist to let you share and broadcast them on the Internet. With the advent of webcams, low-cost portable video cameras, and 4G Smart phones with video capability (not to mention other video-capable cell phones), user-contributed videos offer many unique ways to promote your business.

Services to check out include YouTube, Vimeo, and Hey!Watch.

8) Viral Candy

This is an ever-evolving arena, and many of these have been over-used or used inappropriately, thus, largely proving ineffective. None-the-less, one in a million will generate significant buzz, so I'll list some of the techniques here.


  • Facebook Gifts: businesses can sponsor “gifts” on Facebook. For instance, Heineken sponsored a Heineken beer bottle gift. Friends can give each other beer bottles as gifts. They serve no real-world purpose (no actual beer changes hands) but have enjoyed considerable popularity.
  • Flash Games: the latest and greatest Flash games get passed around, some briefly enjoying considerable notoriety. Some businesses have given away prizes to top scorers in their games, while others simply use them to generate buzz about their brand with a discrete “sponsored by” logo and link or a banner ad.
  • Social Networking Quizzes, Polls, and Surveys: quizzes are constantly passed around Facebook. Catchy titles, content, and hilarious results generate interest that prompt users to forward it to their friends, allowing the desired message to reach as many as possible. Quizzes include: “What song are you?,” “Are you smarter than Paris Hilton?,” “Nickname Generator,” and “What does your eye color mean?” Quibblo is one service that lets you create any type of quiz, poll or survey for virtually any social network.
  • Facebook Applications: Facebook's open API has enabled numerous social applications. Applications include a birthday calendar to track friends' birthdays, a carpool finder application, a genealogy application to track your relations on Facebook, a movie reviews application, and many more. Most have commercial tie-ins, either as extensions of their other website-based services and applications, or as brand promoters.
  • Creating exclusive offers, such as pre-release tickets or special coupons, via Twitter and Facebook, which encourages customers to follow you. This is akin to asking your customers for their email address.

9) Send to a friend (viral)

Send to a friend is a simple, effective, time-honored technique used on many websites. Ecommerce sites include this feature to allow visitors to send a product to friends for a second opinion, while news websites such as the New York Times allow subscribers to send articles, recipes, or other content to their friends. This is a very simple way to increase the number of people who are exposed to your site. The best systems will include analytics so you can track the most-emailed content, number of click-throughs, and open rates.

Twitter offers a simple viral feature called "retweet." This feature allows you to re-post someone else's tweet, which is instantly broadcast to your friends. You might prompt your customers to "retweet" a product, a blog post, or even a special offer.


  • "First 100 to re-tweet a show notice receive free ticket!" This cleverly encourages your followers to broadcast your show announcement out to all of their followers.

10) Online reputation monitoring

Most businesses are aware of the perils of the Internet and the unknown dangers lurking in the form of consumers that businesses are trying to reach in the first place. The complaint of an irritated customer can spread like wildfire through blogs and websites set up for the sole purpose of collecting complaints. Worse, an irate customer might set up a website dedicated to eviscerating your brand: MyBrandSucks.com. This can have dire consequences for search engine optimization as well. Imagine searching for your company's name in Google and being presented with complaints instead of your corporate website!

While the advent of social networks and microblogs amplify the risk the Internet poses to one's brand, most businesses do little or nothing to monitor online complaints or track their online reputation.  With as much emphasis businesses put into recognizing how the Internet can help boost their product with consumers, they can sometimes equally ignore the damage unchecked Internet activity can pose to their overall identity.

Companies such as Starbucks are taking this a step further. Rather than merely monitoring online blogging and microblogging activity, Starbucks customer service representatives are constantly monitoring and participating in conversations with their customers, handling queries ranging from ingredients in a yogurt parfait to complaints about lattes.


  • CoTweet is a service for businesses to leverage Twitter in communicating with their customers and monitoring their brand.
  • Check search engines such as Google on a regular basis is great way to dig out dirt someone may have posted about your business. Simply perform various searches for your company name and products.
  • Use automated search tools to locate new entries on a variety of search engines, blogs, photos, and feeds. Checking them regularly may give you an early indication of buzz (positive or negative) about your company. Two free services are KeoTag and monitorThis.
  • Monitor blog and microblog activity about your brand with services such as Sentiment Metrics and Chatter Guard.
  • Create Google Alerts to have Google automatically email you when your company or product is mentioned.
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