Friday, December 31, 2010

A New Year's Resolution You Can Stick To!

Forget these resolutions. Make one you can stick to!!
With 2011 right around the corner, it is the perfect time to make a new year’s resolution for your social media efforts!

Let’s say you’ve got a few accounts started and have been maintaining it for a few months. You might be asking yourself, now what? Just keep tweeting? Just keep posting information? Wrong. It is easy to just keep passively maintaining accounts on various platforms (Twitter, Facebook, etc.). After you get a few accounts up and running there are three words that should immediately come to mind.

Monitor. Measure. Tune.

Don’t have a new year’s resolution yet? Here is one that you can actually stick to! Make a resolution this year to monitor, measure, and tune your social media strategy frequently.

At a minimum, every few months you should assess your progress in social media (e.g., look at growth in followers, comments, responses, etc.). Then, tune your marketing plan based on the feedback to optimize goal achievement. Reevaluate and adjust your social media marketing plan to account for the ever changing nature of consumer tastes and the social web. For example, if the number of followers on your Twitter account is declining, you can adjust your content to more closely match your target market’s interests. If the number of responses to your tweets is declining, you can adjust your strategy by asking a question at the end of each tweet that inspires people to respond. In short, planning and executing a social media marketing campaign is a never ending cycle. You should constantly monitor and tune your strategies to maximize the impact of your campaign.


Here you will find more information on the topic: 
(Notice: the last step for the social media strategies is monitor, measure, and tune) 

Thursday, December 23, 2010

2011 Prediction: Facebook will not be the only game in town!



PREDICTION: Facebook will not be the only game in town come 2011; be ready to take advantage of marketing opportunities on new social networks!

FYI: I realize this is longer than my usual post, but bear with me. Facebook's recent domination means I have a lot of ground to make up.

The infamous leak of 100 million Facebook user pages in July of 2010 caused a scare among users and created what may turn out to be a golden opportunity for potential competitors. A security researcher, Ron Bowes, created a script that downloaded the information that users chose to make publicly available from the Facebook User Directory. Hence, this alleged leak was actually nothing more than the collection and publication of user information already made public by 100 million Facebook users.

Facebook also suffers a host of other privacy concerns including: (1) Facebook’s complex security settings leaving users unaware of their personal data being public, (2) hackers have repeatedly defeated Facebook security to harvest user information, (3) a growing number of Facebook applications provide easy access to member data, and (4) Facebook’s own connect buttons make user information readily available to other sites. The net result is that user privacy on Facebook is virtually nonexistent. With security being brought to the forefront of users’ minds, it is an ideal time for a security-conscious social network. One prime candidate, although still in Alpha, is Diaspora. This new social networking site touts the not so subtle security slogan, “Share what you want, with whom you want.” They stress user ownership of all content shared with friends. Other social networks are in the works for release in early 2011 as well, like Google Me.

If history proves anything, Facebook’s ‘monopoly’ is temporary. Looking at the last decade alone, there were two cases in which the public feared a company was ‘taking over’ the internet. In early 2000, people panicked that AOL was taking over. Ultimately, AOL faltered, chief among the reasons was a single-minded focus on mining the then lucrative Internet dial-up access business. MySpace is another example: officially launched in 2004 and by 2005, MySpace was the king of the Internet, with a base of nearly 80 million users. News Corp. purchased MySpace in 2005 and immediately tried to monetize it by inserting advertising into nearly every aspect of the user experience. MySpace peaked in 2007, with 150 million users, but due to the barrage of ads, it plummeted to 109 million users by mid-2010. The moral of story is that Internet titans come and go.

BOTTOM LINE: Why should this matter to businesses? The answer is simple. 

Keeping an eye on these emerging social networks enables a company to be in on the ground floor, seizing market share, and reaping profits from a growing customer base. Given the large user base Facebook has acquired, businesses should continue to market there, but remain vigilant for other valuable social network marketing opportunities. The importance of diversification in marketing efforts also holds true for social media marketing. Focusing marketing efforts entirely on Facebook could prove to be a dangerous strategy in 2011.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Twitter Tragedy - Must walk before you run.

The idea that all you need to do is create a Twitter account for a business and tweet occasionally, is a dangerous one. While measuring an ROI on social media marketing can be difficult, that doesn’t mean you can or should forget about setting goals. As an example, the apartment complex I currently reside in launched a social media campaign back in August, “We’ve gone social!” and they promoted their accounts (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) with fliers and t-shirts, which was not a bad start. But as the last few months passed by it became evident that they did not create any goals for their Twitter page.

So how do you avoid tweeting 174 times and get not a single follower? You establish definitive and measurable goals. Social media marketing goals include: improving brand awareness, search engine rankings, relevant site traffic, and conversions performance (e.g., sales for a product or service), as well as reputation management and engaging with consumers.

The challenge for some of these goals, such as engaging with consumers, is to make them specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely (SMART). The following are examples of SMART goals for four popular types of social media: image and video sharing sites, social networking sites, blogs, and microblogs (Twitter).

Image and Video Sharing Sites:
  • 30% growth in the number of images or videos viewed within four months
  • 10% increase in the number of subscribers to your channel or stream within four months
  • 20% increase in average rankings of images or videos by viewers within four months
Social Networking Sites:
  • 20% growth in the number of friends within five months
  • 30% growth in the number of comments within five months
  • 40% growth in the number of posts and comments in discussion groups within five months
Blogs:
  • 20% improvement in the ratio of posts to comments (i.e., visitor's comments/posts=conversions) within six months
  • 40% growth in total number of views within six months
  • 10% growth of RSS subscribers within six months
Microblogs (Twitter):
  • 20% growth in number of followers within 30 days
  • 30% growth in the number of retweets (message amplification) within 30 days
  • 10% increase in click-through-rate (CTR) of the links posted in tweets within 30 days (Hint: Observing which types of links garner the highest CTRs can help you tune your tweets to provide what your consumers with links they are interested in and, hence, further improve your CTR.)
  • 5% increase in Web site conversions (e.g., sales) from tweet links within 30 days
Avoid wasted effort by establishing definitive and measurable goals.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Don't Get Stuck in a Social Media Rut!

If you're looking at using social media for promotion, odds are that you have already defined your target market. Taking on or ramping up your presence on social media means that you need to keep a close eye on each platform (e.g., Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn) that you’re using. Each social media platform has distinctive features and means of communication. 

It is easy to get lost in the “tactics” aspect of each platform and forget to adjust your strategy. The tactics only mindset of “I’m using Twitter so I must tweet once a day” is a dangerous one. Simply posting a tweet once a day without having a strategy or structure of evaluation will get you nowhere fast. So, how do you avoid getting stuck in this mindset of what tactics will I use? The answer lies in what I like to call the 8 C’s of the Social Media Marketing Mix.

By keep in mind the 8 C's of the Social Media Marketing Mix for each social media platform, you will avoid getting in a rut with your social media marketing efforts:
  • Categorize social media platforms by target market relevancy (i.e., the ones where your target audience resides)
  • Comprehend the "rules of the road" on the platform by listening and learning how to behave, successfully spark conversation, and engage and energize the participants
  • Converse by acknowledging and responding to other users of the platform, always remembering to be a contributor, not a promoter
  • Collaborate with platform members as a means of establishing a mutually beneficial relationships with the platform participants
  • Contribute content to build your reputation and become a valued member, helping to build the community
  • Connect with the influencers, so you can enlist them to help shape opinions about your product or service
  • Community creation enables you to build discussion forums where consumers can suggest product ideas and receive customer support.
  • Conversion of strategy execution into desired outcomes (e.g., increased brand awareness, website traffic, sales, etc.)
In the event you have not established a target market, here are some resources that will provide more information on how define your target market:


Thursday, November 4, 2010

Biggest Social Media Marketing Blunders in 2010


Many consider 2010 to be the year of "social media." It is also the year that many large corporations had major social media blunders. Some were the result of over reaction to social media attacks by organizations like Greenpeace (see the NestlĂ© case study below). In addition, Greenpeace effectively used Dove's own social media marketing campaign against them to pressure the parent company Unilever to reduce the use of palm oil from Indonesia, which destroys the rain forest (details below). Other corporations needed no help in shooting themselves in the foot. Perhaps the biggest social media disaster (not to mention ecological disaster) in 2010 was BP (British Petroleum) botched social media and search engine marketing campaigns in reaction to their massive oil spill in the Gulf. Imagine asking for help using social media platforms like YouTube, then turning off the comment feature! Naturally, the social Web did not take these types of patent attempts at manipulation laying down (for more, read "The Counter BP Social Media Campaign"). 

Of course, P&G’s PR response to the backlash against the introduction of a new Pamper diaper that may cause rashes is the quintessential example of breaking the Prime Directive of social media marketing: be honest and transparent. In an attempt to quash the panic about the new diaper, P&G "recruited" four influential "mommy bloggers" with a trip to Cincinnati to meet with company experts for a briefing, and then these new advocates for the product started blogging positive reviews, without being completely transparent about their compensation. Indeed, these bloggers may be violating Federal Trade Commission (FTC) laws regarding endorsements and testimonials. Worse yet, it appears that some of the posts may have been written for them to nothing more than well crafted propaganda. 

Even Southwest Airlines, known for its social media savvy, got taste of what happens when you of lapse in customer service in throwing celebrity Kevin Smith off a plane for being too fat to fly in one seat. Smith's Tweets about the incident were not only widely read and hilarious, but a PR nightmare for the airlines (see last link for the scoop).
 

To learn more about some of the bigger social media marketing blunders of 2010, check out these resources:

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Writing the First Textbook on Social Media Marketing!

I’m thrilled to announce that I recently signed the contracts to write what should be the first textbook on Social Media Marketing.  I will be coauthoring the book with Nick Bormann, Krista Neher, and Donald Barker. Each of us has expertise in our field, which I believe will mesh to create a textbook that will be suitable for undergraduate and graduate programs alike. Together we bring a wealth of knowledge of social media, textbook writing, and economics to the table.

A little background on what drove my father (Donald Barker) and I to pitch the idea of a Social Media Marketing textbook to Cengage Learning:

(1)   I’m currently teaching a course in Social Media Marketing through Spokane Falls Community College and have to use a trade book to teach the course. While the book I found is adequate, I really wanted to find a book that covered all the platforms and provided strategy.
(2)   There are a multitude of trade books about Social Media Marketing on the market but nothing quite right for a classroom.
(3)   With many community colleges and graduate programs starting to offer courses (and some certificates) in Social Media Marketing, it seems like a perfect opportunity to fill the need for a textbook on the subject. 

Our textbook will have an emphasis on strategy. In addition, the book will provide a variety of case studies and cover all the major social media platforms. With hard work and a little luck, we hope to have this book published in one year’s time.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Listening - the Start of Social Media Reputation Management

In August of 2009, a customer service catastrophe befell Maytag, when the popular author, blogger, and mom, Heather Armstrong (known as "Dooce"), vented her understandable frustration with poor customer service by tweeting to her million plus followers the nightmare she experienced in attempting to get a brand new $1,300 washing machine fixed. With her new baby laundry piling up, Dooce chronicled her repeated attempts to get Whirpool (Maytag's parent company) to fix the faulty washer. After a final clash on the phone with snide customer service representative, she advised her immense Twitter following to NEVER BUY A MAYTAG! (You can read a summary of the tale by Dooce at Containing a capital letter or two).

This story became so emblematic of the power of social media that in the recently released, "Empowered," the authors (one of which coauthored the bestseller, "Groundswell") opened the book
with the tale. Although Maytag monitored Twitter for negative comments about its brand, the company failed to engage with the customer and solve the problem in timely public manner. The moral of this story is that listening to the social Web is not enough, a company must respond quickly and transparently, when its reputation and brand are under attack. 

Indeed, "Empowered" followed the Maytag reputation disaster with how Best Buy avoided the same type of problem with its Twelpforce. In this second tale, a buyer of new iPhone encountered terrible customer service at a Best Buy, when his iPhone broke. The dissatisfied customer tweeted about the problem and was almost immediately contacted by the Twelpforce, a rapid Twitter response team pioneered by John Bernier. The problem was fully resolved, quickly and publicly, turning a potential Maytag-situation into a big PR win for Best Buy. Again, the message is clear, listening to the social Web is a good start, however, rapid and transparent action is a must to ensure that a company's reputation not only remains intact, but improves.


To discover how to accomplish this task on Twitter, check out the resources below:

Friday, August 27, 2010

Careers Opportunities in Social Media Marketing!

  
How hot is social media marketing (SMM)? According to the CMO Survey, sponsored by the Duke University Fuqua School of Business and American Marketing Association, social media spending is expected to grow by a whopping 300 percent in the next 5 years!

What does the rapid growth in social media spending mean for jobs in the field? The Social Media Influence report, The State of Social Media Jobs 2010, found that, “The number of social media job postings has increased by more than 600 percent to over 21,000 in the past five years.” Moreover, the demand for social media marketers is expected to continue and expand rapidly, as more corporations embrace social media as viable marketing strategy. Admittedly, in relative terms, the number of SMM jobs is still small compared to traditional PR, marketing, and advertising positions. Despite the diminutive size, social media jobs are where the rapid growth is occurring, while the conventional positions are shrinking or stagnant.

To learn more about the career opportunities in social media marketing, check out the following resources:

Monday, August 16, 2010

Next Big Thing in Social Media!

HTML clipboard
Image by anaclaradallavalle
Recently, I took some time to examine past trends in information technology. It was interesting to see what the experts have forecasted over the last couple of decades. So, how accurately have past pundits been in predicting the course of new information technologies? Back in the 1970s, expert systems were going to revolutionize the way businesses were run, acquiring and preserving corporate know-how in decision-making software. It turned out that expert systems were simply too "brittle" to capture the knowledge necessary to make decisions in complex real world situations. The limitations of logic-based machines caused them to "breakdown" when attempting to address the messy circumstances that human thinking effectively deals with every day.

Nonetheless, it is worth pointing out that there have been significant technology predictions that eventually bore fruit, such as automated speech recognition. In general, however, history hasn't been kind to futurists, especially those that have forecasted huge technological leaps in short periods. As an example, some social media pundits envision human-machine interfaces, making the Internet (and social media) an integral part of our minds (--talk about an "electronic leash"!).

With the above caveats in mind, enjoy the following provocative speculations about the future of social media.

Admittedly, most will likely turn out to be wrong or take longer than expected, and perhaps the most important ones will go entirely unforeseen by the experts. I look forward to hearing your reactions to these forecasts and, of course, your own predictions about the future of social media.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Promoting Your Business with a YouTube Video!

Okay, admit it, most of you have sneaked a peak at YouTube videos like the one showing Bruce Lee playing ping pong with nun-chucks.

 Image by Dr. LoveMachine
 
Beyond being fun, YouTube can also be a powerful marketing tool for your business. However, you must produce something of interest that will not only attract viewership, but provide value to your company. In addition, you need to effectively promote your video on YouTube. Is it worth all this effort? YouTube is now the third most popular site on the Web, so--in a word, the answer is YES!

The following resources explain how to tap into YouTube's marketing power for your business:

Monday, August 2, 2010

Creating Engaging Social Media Content!

Image from Jack Bogdan

Perhaps the most important tenant of social media marketing is participation. Participating in the social Web can take many forms, including creating and maintaining your own blog, commenting on other blogs at places like Blogger, contributing to discussion forums and groups, such as on Yahoo! Groups, partaking in social networks, such as LinkedIn and Facebook, developing compelling YouTube videos, sharing images on Flickr, collaborating to produce Wikipedia content, ranking, tagging, and sharing your favorite sites on bookmarking services like
delicious and StumbleUpon, and using Twitter to converse with your potential customers.

So, how do you create engaging content that really "connects" with your audience on the social Web? The following resources provide a variety of ways to spark conversations on the social Web:

Monday, July 26, 2010

Putting Twitter to Work for Your Business!

Image by hellvetica
It is not readily apparent to many businesspeople how to use Twitter to influence consumers, build brands, gather customer feedback, or do much of anything beyond following the daily shopping habits of a supermodel or movie star. However, since this microblogging platform has over 190 million users, with a likely 50 million users by yearend, Twitter's popularity alone makes it worth investigating as a social media marketing tool.

From small companies to mega-corporations, businesses are finding innovative ways to use Twitter to inexpensively and precisely target consumers, informing them of new products and services, and even providing product support. Take for example Microsoft's Twitter-based customer support for Windows 7, which offers real-time responses to consumer questions about Windows 7.

On the other end of the spectrum is the comparatively diminutive Web site BBGeeks, which used Twitter to "further its brand, get traffic and gain backlinks," as documented in a highly informative and detailed case study. Regardless of the size of the company, consumers must be willing to "follow" them on Twitter. The resources below present a variety of ways to accomplish this goal, as well as many other ideas for using Twitter to promote your business:

Monday, July 19, 2010

Creating a Social Media Marketing Plan

Image by juhansonin

Business planning is perhaps that single most important action you can take in improving the chances of success in a new venture. The same goes for social media marketing--creating a well researched and carefully thought out plan will lay the foundational cornerstone you can use to build a winning social media campaign. 

A social media marketing plan consists of (1) listening to the social Web to identify your target markets and a baseline of your current Web presence, (2) establishing definitive and measurable goals, (3) designing innovative strategies to achieve these milestones, (4) selecting the appropriate social media to effectively reach your target markets, (5) crafting compelling content to attract and influencing your audiences, (6) making sure your products or services live up to their promise, (7) monitoring and measure your progress on a regular basis, and (8) reevaluating and adjusting your SMM plan to account for the ever changing nature of consumer tastes and the social Web.

The following resources explain how to put these steps into action:
Overview of social media marketing planning:

Monday, July 12, 2010

Implementing Social Media Marketing Campaigns!


These days, everyone seems to be a trumpeting a new wiz-bang social media marketing strategy guaranteed to pump up your company's online presence. Consultants crank out social media marketing books and experts abound with advice. The bottom line is that like with any marketing effort, social media marketing campaigns must be carefully planned, executed, monitored, and tuned. The following resources provide some insights about how to accomplish these tasks:

Monday, July 5, 2010

Corporate Blogging!

Image by Ivan Walsh

Contributing to the social Web is the quintessential element to any successful social media marketing effort. These contributions can range from developing a persuasive product or service YouTube video to setting up a company fan page on Facebook. One method gaining popularity is the corporate blog. A corporate blog provides a way to directly interact with your customers to craft a company personality, convey your company values and beliefs, empower customers, gather invaluable feedback, generate excitement about new products or services, and generally enhancing your company's presence on the social Web.

However, producing a corporate blog can be tricky. The key is to offer value, while not beating the consumer over the head with the "company line." You want to be informative, while avoiding the appearance of simply spouting "company propaganda." In addition, you a want to be personal, modest, and most important--tell an intriguing story. The majority of corporate blogs have trouble attracting viewers. By telling a story, you not only attract viewership, but encourage comments.

The following are useful resources for establishing an effective corporate blog, while sidestepping common traps and hazards:

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Career Opportunities in Social Media Marketing!


How hot is social media marketing (SMM)? According to the CMO Survey, sponsored by the Duke University Fuqua School of Business and American Marketing Association, social media spending is expected to grow by a  whopping 300 percent in the next 5 years!

What does the rapid growth in social media spending mean for jobs in the field? The Social Media Influence report, The State of Social Media Jobs 2010, found that, “The number of social media job postings has increased by more than 600 percent to over 21,000 in the past five years.” Moreover, the demand for social media marketers is expected to continue and expand rapidly, as more corporations embrace social media as viable marketing strategy. Admittedly, in relative terms, the number of SMM jobs is still small compared to traditional PR, marketing, and advertising positions. Despite the diminutive size, social media jobs are where the rapid growth is occurring, while the conventional positions are shrinking or stagnant.

To learn more about the career opportunities in social media marketing, check out the following resources:

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Using Wikipedia to Promote Yourself!



 

Given the effort required to contribute to Wikipedia and follow the many rules and restrictions, why would anyone (especially a business) take the time to become a respected member of the Wikipedia community? The answer is simple--it is establishes you as an online authority and helps endow you with credibility in specific subject categories.

To achieve this status, however, you should keep in mind that the bottom line is to contribute, don't spam.  

The following resources offer tips, guidelines, and suggestions how to become an accomplished Wikipedian, along some words of caution:

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Social Media vs Marketing

                                                Image by davefleet

Joe sat in the meeting, dreaming wistfully of the days when he job as marketing director consisted entirely of identifying a market segment with unmet needs and organizing his company's marketing mix (products, distribution, pricing, and promotion) to satisfy those unmet needs better than his competitors. In other words, the good-old-days. Now this
twenty-something social media marketing consultant was telling him how his company's reputation and carefully crafted brand image were being threatened by something called the blogosphere. 

With each additional word from her, the last wisps of Joe's illusion of control over medium and message evaporated, leaving him only with the cold reality of the new order--the social Web. However, all is not lost for the Joe's of the world--if they realize and capitalize on the fundamental differences between traditional marketing and social media marketing. The very definition of conventional marketing screams the word control. In the past, the marketer control everything from the decisions of who to target and how to distribute to which mediums and messages to push out. But social media is like the Wild West, where the will of the crowd rules, with mob deciding what to discuss, where to discuss it, what to say, and when to say it. 

Nonetheless, by understanding the shift from control to influence, marketers like Joe can gain a foothold in a new dream--one where he can defend and possibly even enhance his company's reputation and brand image by contributing to the social Web with transparency, honesty, and a willingness to listen to the negative comments and address them in a timely manner. By relying on participation instead of interruption (i.e., advertising), Joe might be able to gain a far deeper respect for his company and its products that through conventional promotional methods.

But first, Joe must come to grips with the differences between traditional marketing and social media marketing. To help Joe (and other marketers), I have gathered together a collection of resources that explain in detail these differences. I look forward to hearing your comments about these differences and your own views of how social media and traditional marketing differ.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Social Media Marketing Ethics

                                    Image by Wonderlane

In the "good old days," marketers and public relations professionals could have "ethical lapses," and employee less than the most scrupulous methods in obtaining results for their companies, clients, and themselves, with little chance of getting caught. No longer... 


The advent of the social Web has made dishonest marketing and PR practices difficult, if not impossible, to perpetrate--without eventual detection. For example, a 2006 Osterman Research report (commissioned by BoldMouth) found that it was commonplace for companies to “incentivize” bloggers and influential discussion forum users to post positive reviews about a product or service. These incentives often took the form of giving the blogger the product or service for free in exchange for a glowing assessment. 

However, in today's online world, where Google records almost every scrape of information, including social news and gossip, such deceptions are usually uncovered, resulting in massive condemnation by online communities that not only cancel out any gains made by the unethical behavior, but likely cause irreparable harm to the reputation of the perpetrator. When an individual garners this level of mistrust and negative publicity, it is almost always guarantees a detrimental financial impact.

Moreover in October 2009, a WSJ article revealed that, "New guidelines released by the Federal Trade Commission say bloggers must disclose any money or freebies they receive in exchange for writing product reviews." The rules extend to Facebook, Twitter and other social media portals. Bloggers who choose to continue to take payola for favorable reviews risk not only being ostracized by the very communities they need to survive, but now face running a foul of FTC rules and the consequent legal repercussions.

So, it turns out that in social media marketing, mom was right, "Honesty is the best policy." By creating authentic and genuine content, disclosing who are in online conversations, and being transparent (revealing any interest you have in products or services), you will gain the respect of the community where you operate and eventually the members will trust your opinions, which vastly improves your odds of influencing people into making purchase, subscribing to a newsletter, and so on (i.e., conversions).

The resources below provide further tips on how to be a successful social media marketer by following ethical behavioral guidelines:

Friday, May 7, 2010

Using Flickr to Promote Your Business!


Flickr is an image sharing service, where many artists and photographers upload their work for free. It is owned by Yahoo!, which Terms of Use explicitly prohibits blatantly exploiting Flickr for any commercial purposes. As an example, uploading a photo that advertises your Web site, company, brand, product, or service would violate this agreement and would likely anger the active Flickr community.

So, how can a business or individual use Flickr to promote themselves? By becoming an active Flickr member and contributor, you can use the following strategies to reap marketing benefits without stepping on anyone's
toes. First, you can use your Web site address (e.g., www.SocialMediaMarketingResources.info or
www.MelissaBarker.com ) as your Flickr screen name, which makes every image you post an advertisement for your Web site. Second, create image tags (descriptive keywords) that include your company, brand, or product name.

Third, include your company information in your Flickr profile. Fourth, link all the images you post on Flickr back to your Web site or blog. That way, people who find your photos can follow the link back to your site, which can increase traffic and, hence, your search engine rankings. Finally, post your images using the Flickr Creative Commons (CC) license, which encourages Web site owners and bloggers to use your images to spice up their sites. The CC license requires sites that use Flickr images to credit their creators by linking back to their Flickr "photostreams." This provide yet another method to promote yourself or your company on Flickr. 

The following resources provide details and many more ideas for using Flickr to promote your Web site, company, brand, product, service, or blog:

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Targeting Social Media Markets


Perhaps the least discussed and most misunderstood topic in social media marketing is the identification of who your social media audience. There is even disagreement about whether this topic worthy of discussion. Some argue that it makes no sense to attempt to segment your market because those interested in your content will naturally (organically) find you on the social Web, while others believe properly targeting your audience is the key to success in a social media marketing campaign.

As an example, Forrester Research has developed a sophisticated Social Techno-graphic Profile, which classifies market segments not only by traditional demographic and geographic means, but also by the roles people play in social media, such as content creators, critics, collectors, joiners, and spectators. This approach to target marketing social media participants is carefully explained and supported with cases by Josh Bernoff and Charlene Li in their book Groundswell. The power of this model rests on the notion that once a company identifies their audience's makeup and level of participation in the social Web, then the organization can optimize its efforts by focusing on the social media platforms where potential customers are likely to hang out and tailor its approach to the type and level of involvement the target market is likely to engage in.

Whether you see targeting in social media marketing as a waste of time or a valuable tool to avoid wasting time, the following resources will provide insights worth your time. I look forward to hearing your ideas and opinions on the subject.