Hello all! Hope you’ve had a great week and are enjoying SuperBowl weekend! (GO PATRIOTS–I mean, what?)
To conclude my study of Mark W. Schaefer’s Social Media Explained, I’ll be re-capping some highlights from his last section of the book: A Social Media Primer.
I briefly mentioned the importance of blogs last week, but Schaefer delves into some significant points in his break-down.
Blogs started as online diaries (-shivers at the memories of my LiveJournal and Xanga days-), but now, they’re a great platform for businesses (Schaefer 1607).
Perhaps most importantly, you can create really meaty, substantial content. You don’t have to condense a message or response into 140 characters or a Facebook-feed-appropriate message. You can link to a blog post, give a brief snippet/summary to advertise said post, and then write as much as you want. That leaves a lot of opportunity to show your chops and become a trusted source of information and explanation in a field!
Blogs allow people to create conversation. Blogs 9 times out of 10 have the option to leave a comment, and this allows users to interact with their audience. Often times, while browsing blogs, articles, etc., some of the richest content I’ve found has been in comments!
Schaefer also lists the following as benefits of blogs: attracting employees, customer service assistance, and supporting Research and Development.
One of my favorite examples of steady customer interaction is the Tumblr blog for an MTV show called Teen Wolf. Aware that the majority of their demographic and active participants of the show’s fan base call Tumblr home, the network has set up a blog to interact with said audience.
They post teaser trailers that get hundreds of thousands of reblogs/shares and reblog or like fanart or fan creations (this shows authentic appreciation for fans’ talent and increases brand/show loyalty!). Also, since users can submit questions to the blog or tag the blog in their own posts, the network can keep up-to-date tabs on what people are saying about the show.
Lastly, Schaefer emphasizes the importance of linking back to a business’s own website. Don’t create a separate blog. Always create a blog platform that is INTEGRATED or even HOSTED on your business’s original website so that the user is always linked back to the company page and content.
Going back to the aforementioned Tumblr example, many talented artists use their Tumblr blog as a platform to sell prints and other such content. They monetize the URL to personalize the domain and then advertise their work and sales.
Basically, blogs are awesome.
Podcasting is tricky. Honestly, I’m not the biggest fan of podcasts, just because I’m more of a visual learner, but as Schaefer says, many people have found radio fame via podcasts on their website or through iTunes (1617).
The area where podcasting could grow, though, is business. Podcasting is essentially “audio blogging,” so the broadcasts require a lot of thought, effort, and investment in technology. Creating and broadcasting a successful podcast will take research and practice, but Schaefer encourages the field’s exploration because of its potential as a “niche” market.
If you can claim your business has a successful podcast and podcast presence, that’s pretty awesome and will definitely catch audience’s eyes.
Ah, Twitter…the 140 character social media phenomenon.
I remember back when Twitter first came out–back in the OL’ DAYS OF 2009–and everyone thought it was kind of dumb. I mean, everyone already had to deal with reading people’s Facebook status messages–why would we want another site that basically did the same thing?
Fast-forward 2 years. Twitter is so popular, that, dare I say, I hear it mentioned more than Facebook in peers’ conversations.
According to PEW Research, in 2013, 18% of adults use Twitter. That doesn’t seem like a lot, but consider the age group: 15-34 (1696). Then, consider just how ACTIVE that age group is. They can make a video go viral overnight or help a person gain hundreds of thousands of followers just because a member of One Direction tweeted them.
So, with that in mind, one can see how beneficial dedicating time to working on Twitter is to businesses. Twitter also has awesome advertising capabilities–links easily with Instagram, Facebook, Tumblr, etc.–and provides wonderful interaction between fans and brands.
Also, with the previous success of broadcasts such as The Sound of Music: Live, Twitter has become an awesome opportunity for live-tweeting/watching reactions in real time. You can also have awesome access to searches & lists, which is always helpful when performing market research.
Twitter takes a bit of time to get the hang of and learn regarding jargon, but once you do, it’s a great tool.
The most important point from Schaefer’s break down of marketing on Facebook is this: it’s not easy.
Sure, Facebook is one of the biggest media entities in the world and completely revolutionized the Internet, but it ranks posts based on something called “Edge Rank.” Basically, unless you pay Facebook to get your messages put higher than other messages on a timeline or newsfeed, you can create all the awesome, helpful content you want but really not get much of anywhere regarding viewership/audience attention. It’s a tricky platform, and it’s definitely a platform where having a loyal audience base makes things easier (1647)!
AKA “the social network for professionals” (1657). You can connect and interact with professionals in all fields–very B2B–but outside of this niche market, LinkedIn isn’t very popular.
Therefore, Schaefer encourages the following: check out a group based in your professional field. Usually, important people in said field frequent these groups, and others are asking questions. Find a question, create a really, “authentically helpful” (1666) blog post, and then post the link as an answer.
This way, you’ll be helping someone in your field, attracting people to your site, and showing that you know your stuff and can create good content!
This site’s most important feature is that you can click-through any pin and be brought to the original poster/company’s website. From there, other connections or purchases can be made (1676).
Considering the amount of time that people spend on Pinterest, that’s a lot of click-through potential!
Again, a hard social media platform to analyze. Schaefer reports that Google + has been trying to “unseat” Facebook as the “preferred social network” (1686), and because of this lofty goal, a lot of Google +’s audience has seen the site as a sort of wannabe-Facebook.
That being said, there’s still potential for Google + to host a great niche market, and Schaefer makes a good point that a business can earn kudos with loyal Google-goers on on this site and therefore reap SEO benefits!
One word: tutorials.
Don’t bet or plan on a video becoming viral (this post title is a very clever quote from Schaefer regarding this issue).
Instead, since YouTube’s results are based “locally” (1706), allow your business to shine by creating helpful, easy-to-watch and follow videos that explain things or elaborate on issues that your audience is interested in. Don’t worry too much about production value (I mean, of course make sure the video has decent lighting and you can actually hear the speakers!), because you’ll be competing with VEVO and Hollywood studios, and that’s not something most businesses can match right off the bat.
This is all about sharing content! Coming back to the “authentic helpfulness” idea, businesses can post PowerPoint presentations and lecture/meeting information on this site, which is then indexed in search engines.
What an easy way to get a name–and good content/knowledge–noticed!
PHOTO–AND NOW VIDEO!–SITES (I.E. INSTAGRAM, VINE):
Quick, easy, visually appealing…it’s no wonder Instagram, Vine, and Snapchat are so popular.
Standing in line at the café? Check your Insta. Have a free minute during class? Send a snap.
Schaefer especially encourages “visual brands” (1726) to utilize these apps, but he also says that every business should look into working with the sites, because he believes they have great growth potential
Also, the hashtags and trends available on these sites are SUPER helpful for marketing research and studying social phenomena and trends!
Schaefer, Mark W. Social Media Explained: Untangling the World’s Most Misunderstood Business Trend. Schaefer Marketing Solutions: 2014. Kindle file.
Much thanks to Mark Schaefer for writing such an awesome book, and much thanks to my awesome blog-goers who have been reading these updates!