Social networking sites, in which blogs and forums should be included, are some of the best ways to get free traffic and backlinks to your site. However, don’t just rush in and join every major social networking there is, you must do some research first. The idea is that you go to where your market is, rather than them finding you, and if there is no market on the social media platform you have chosen for your particular product, you will be wasting a lot of time.
With Facebook or other similar social media site, look at the groups that you could join. Depending on what you are promoting there may only be one or two, or dozens. That doesn’t mean you should join all those groups at once. There is no way of knowing what goes on within those groups without joining, so just sign up for two or three at a time if there are many, and monitor what goes on within them. If there is little activity in the group after a week, move on to another one. If the conversations within a group are not relevant to your core subject, move on to another one.
Look at the whole process as research, as if you were selling door to door. Would you try to market your product in a neighborhood that was totally unsuitable?
With forums and blogs, it’s pretty much the same. Too many blogs and forums are not moderated, so people can join up who simply want to be a nuisance – they’re not interested in anything except themselves. Those blogs should be avoided, as eventually people will get tired of them and not come back.
It’s not just a one-way street when you do join a social media group. It is best to find an active group where people can teach you something and where you can do some PR and research for your product.
If you join a blog and start shouting about your product immediately, you won’t get far. People in those blogs should be actively looking for answers to their questions and solutions to their problems. Build relationships before you start trying to promote your product. Once people know, like and trust you and know you are a regular contributor to any social networking platform, only then will you be in a position to offer your product successfully.
Social means interaction, so start out with a plan and decide exactly what you want to do or achieve when you join a social network.
A social network site should do this for you:
- Be a place where you can build relationships with others who are interested in your product.
- Provide a medium for you to get your face and opinions known. This is known as self-branding.
- Give you ideas for articles to write. If people are constantly having a problem or asking the same questions for which your product could provide a solution, write an article and instantly provide solutions for them.
- Provide ideas for keywords – certain terms may be used that you had never thought of. You can use them as keywords in new articles and look for other blogs or groups relevant to those keywords.
- Have conversations you can join in, and where you can offer advice and solutions.
If you have joined blogs, forums and certain media sites where you can use a link to your site, keep an eye on your statistics, i.e. number of visitors that are coming from those sites to yours. If some are outperforming others, concentrate on those.
As a word of caution, do not join every social media platform available, it will be too much work and very time-consuming. Find a couple in the beginning and have a plan, contribute regularly and watch the results. Once you are happy with one or two, then look for another one. Don’t spread yourself too thin or all your efforts will be ineffective, if you can’t keep up.
Have you been successful with your social media marketing efforts? What tactics did you use and do you have any tips for those just starting out? We would love to hear from you.