What's Your Social Strategy?
Social media is the new SEO. For years, we optimized page title tags, implemented link-building strategies, tried to understand canonical domains, created proper page redirects, etc.
Publishers now are pulling out all the stops to make sure they get Facebook "likes," Twitter followers, and members to LinkedIn groups. For a lot of us, these numbers can't grow fast enough. The problem is that in the rush to get it all done, publishers often have no specific social media strategy. At least with search engine optimization (SEO), there were well-established best practices that once we learned them, could be implemented and tracked.
Here are three suggestions that publishers should consider when creating a social media strategy.
1. Measure your success (or failures). Make sure you're tracking at least the number of users who like, follow or join, or the increases in website traffic or site registrations. These are basic key performance indicators, but are better than tracking nothing at all.
2. Share your content for a social audience, not for your normal readers. Posts to social sites should beg to have their links clicked. Using automated "cyborg" methods to post headlines from a content management system (CMS) won't do this. Here are two examples of actual Tweets and how I think they should have been written.
Actual Tweet: AlphaGraphics Kicks Off Third-Annual Food Drive: http://bit.ly/xxxxx
My suggestion: Printer @AlphaGraphics collects 31,000 pounds of food for charity. What does your company do to help the less fortunate? http://bit.ly/xxxxx
Actual Tweet: The 14-Step Formula for Writing the Perfect Sales Letter: http://bit.ly/xxxxx
My suggestion: Yikes! Someone disagreed with @DeanRieck's 14-step formula for writing the perfect sales letter! Do you agree? http://bit.ly/xxxxx
3. Create a two-way conversation. Make sure authors regularly check their stories or posts for comments and reply to anything that comes in. They also should stay active in all social media channels, even the ones that don't belong to your brand. When a topic is being discussed, have a writer or editor post something of value as well as link to more information on your website.
It's likely that your social media efforts already are underway. You may want to tap the brakes and consider the suggestions that I just provided as well as some other social media suggestions for publishers that I offered a few months ago.
Publishers also should have their own social media policy that minimally outlines who's responsible for the accounts and specifies rules regarding personal email addresses being used to manage a social media presence.
If it hasn't started to happen already, publishers should start to see signs of referrer traffic increasing as website visits from search engines either plateaus or even decreases in part because of changes made by Google, including ignoring web page title tags that publishers worked so hard to optimize.
Search engine optimization and social media optimization is converging and now is the time to embrace it and make sure you have a plan to succeed.