Joining these sites on the web is just the beginning. The only way to promote your brand and get value out of these communities is to participate. I have to admit, it drives me crazy when people connect to me on Facebook, Twitter, etc. but never participate. No links, no comments, no messages – nothing. I’ve regularly remove people from my networks simply because they never contribute anything. I’m not looking for numbers, I’m looking for good content and connections.
When you do participate be authentic. Even if you're promoting your business or your brand people will respond much better to you if you sound human and not just as if you're promoting company propaganda. Stick to your message but don't sound like a robot.
In addition to connecting and communicating, some of the best ways I’ve found to participate are – advertise your company services, run promotions, announce new products/services, and post links to relevant topics and helpful websites.
6. Market, market, market
Showing up and participating with social media doesn’t mean your marketing efforts are complete. There are several effective methods for further marketing your brand. Join groups and organization (on and off-line). Accept speaking engagements whenever you can. Conduct targeted email campaigns. Join relevant forums. Keep the content coming and send it from multiple sources. The more relevant and useful information you can put out the better. You certainly don't want to bombard people with too much information but you also want them to know you're there.
Putting out information and participating in events and speaking engagements puts your content in the hands of others. These days, you can rely on the fact that the people receiving the information are also participating on-line. If your message is relevant or provides them with value there is a good chance they will spread this information on-line for you.
Most importantly, no matter what method you chose for distributing information make sure the message you deliver is consistent with the brand you’re trying to promote.
Once you're actively participating on line it’s critical that you monitor the activity around your brand. This means monitoring content you produce and content that gets produced by others. Sometimes, it can be imperative that you know about or can respond quickly to information being posted about your brand.
There are several ways to do this and you’ve already taken the first step by joining in on the conversation. Additionally, there are several other tools that assist in these efforts.
Tweetdeck is currently my favorite product for brand monitoring. If you're a hospital or healthcare staffing supplier I'd strongly recommend using tweetdeck to monitor your brand. Tweetdeck allows you to create groups and save searches on Twitter. For example, I can save a search for “healthcare staffing” or “healthcare vendor management” or “ShiftWise” and receive alerts anytime anyone on Twitter posts a Tweet with these keywords. These tweets can present new business opportunities, allow you to address complaints or find competitive information.
Twitter Search lets you do something similar to Tweetdeck by conducting searches for keywords. You can even save or sign up for RSS feeds for the keywords you choose.
Google Alerts allows you to save searches for keywords so that you can receive an email anytime something on the web is posted with that
keyword, provided of course that the Google bots know about it. I
find it’s pretty effective. This tool allows you to monitor your brand
as well as your competitor’s brands.
Tweetbeep is similar to Google Alters for Twitter. It keeps track of conversations that mention you, your products, your company, etc. You can even keep track of who's tweeting your website or blog, even if
they use a shortened URL like bit.ly or tinyurl.com.
Scout Labs reads blog posts
and social-networking comments from around the globe and judges them by
their words and tone. The sentence “I love Amazon but the Kindle 2 is
disappointing” gets properly parsed as a positive comment for Amazon
but a negative one for its e-reader. I haven't used this product but I hear good things about it.
Of course, an “old fashion” Google Search can always
help identify places around the web where your brand is being mentioned. Conducting periodic Google searches on your brand is always a good idea.