Ask P3: Should I share the same content on multiple networks?

Ask P3


This week’s question is a common one we’ve come across when clients begin using multiple outlets for their content.

I’m using Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook (fan page, group and my personal account) to promote our site and the content we post on our blog. We also use YouTube for video. When I post a new video to YouTube, should I share that video on the blog too? Should I post the link in Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn? We have a lot of overlap on the social networks and I’m afraid people will get sick of seeing the same content in three places.

Thanks for your excellent question! In short, my answer would be yes. But, we need to take a look at how content gets shared to understand the reasons why.

Let’s say you’re in charge of marketing, including social media, at a software company. You’ve decided to give it a shot and created a company blog. You blog regularly and get some good traffic, but you’re always looking to get more impact for the time you spend creating content. To gain a bit of exposure, you start sharing your content on three networks – Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook. When you’ve got other content, you post it to a media-based site like YouTube, Flickr or SlideShare. So far, things are going well and you’re getting some success at engaging users, having posts go viral and converting a fair share of your new traffic into sales. In short, your social media is a success.

But you have this nagging worry that some of your geekier clients – stalkers, if you will – are getting the same barrage of content on multiple sites. You’re worried they’re going to get sick of you and stop sharing – or worse, stop using your software.

Not to worry – it’s not likely. While a user might connect to you on any multitude of formats (RSS from your blog, Twitter and Facebook, a fan of your YouTube channel), it’s unlikely they’re paying attention to you in each venue. Even though many of your users might be using all of the same social networks, they aren’t using all of them the same way.

Think about how you share content. When you see something you’re eager to share, do you run to Facebook or Twitter? Do you “favorite” things on YouTube and SlideShare or do you email the link to your friends (or share the link in another network entirely)? Are you active in social bookmarking sites like Digg and Delicious? No matter your answer, the point is this: you probably aren’t doing every one of them for every story that catches your eye.

Now let’s get back to your users. Even when the same story hits RSS, Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, your users are going to share and spread it a little differently depending on their particular way of sharing content. By leaving out one network, you take a chance that someone who prefers to share in Twitter is going to copy and paste your link from Facebook, if that’s their preference for sharing. While it may not sound like much, it’s added work for a user – and a chance you may not want to take.

There’s another factor when it comes to sharing the same content – something akin to six degrees of separation. Although you might be connecting directly with the same people in Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, the people that they’re connecting with might be different. With the goal being that your network shares your content, the potential market you reach once you get a few steps removed from your original post might be dramatically different from network to network. Let’s look at a diagram to illustrate our point.

How networks share content

How networks share content

To be sure, there’s going to be some degree of overlap in each level of connections – this is especially true if you’re target market is B2B. That said, by the time my contacts have shared my content with their contacts, I’ve already reached a huge market I couldn’t touch directly. In this way, even a small but dedicated following within a social network can have a huge impact and reach well beyond their limited numbers with a valuable message.

Three steps to getting started in Twitter

Social Media 1-2-3

Social Media 1-2-3

twitter introduction, getting started twitter, new user twitter, twitter tutorialThe social media world is still abuzz about Twitter. How can simple 140-character messages help you to inform and interact with your target market?

Here are three steps to get you going with this potentially powerful marketing tool:

Step One: Create your account: It might seem obvious, but you’re going to need a Twitter account (and possibly more than one – even if you plan on tweeting from only one). Head over to Twitter.com and get started. When possible, use your real name as your Twitter handle (the @username part). Then add your real name so that others can find you easily. Use a password that’s tough to break and an email address you check frequently.

It’s a good idea to let Twitter check if your friends are already online by comparing your email contacts. You can also check in with other folks you’re connected to in social networks. It’s your choice whether or not to follow the celebs that Twitter suggests, but might help you get a start following some folks that tweet regularly. Once you’re finished registering your account, it’s time to finish editing your settings.

Click the Settings link. Inside settings, you have six tabs:

  • Account
  • Password
  • Mobile
  • Notices
  • Picture
  • Design

We’re going to edit your account, picture and design. When you get some free time down the road, it would be good for you to check out the others as well.

Under account, check the information and update your time zone (unless you are in Greenland). Add the web address to your site or blog. Add your location and language. For your bio, try to write a short and witty synopsis of you, what you tweet, what you do and why someone might be interested in you. It’s social media, so it’s okay for your bio to be creative – remember, you’re trying to connect with other real people. When you’re finished, click save.

Under picture, we’ll upload a small snapshot of you so people know who’s tweeting. Try and pick a tightly cropped shot since you’ve got a small window to fill. And despite how cute they are, use your picture – not your kids, your pets, or your cartoon avatar. We want to see you. When you’ve added your photo, click save.

Under design, it’s time to get creative. Your best bet is to create a custom background using of the many tools available on the Web. Make sure your background has your Web address – Twitter is even more successful when it’s used as a tool to get people back to your home base on the Web. When you’re finished making changes, click save.

Step Two: Connect with others: Now you’re ready to get going. You can fire off a few introductory tweets, but you might want to try and make a few connections first. Start by finding folks that you know are on Twitter – allowing Twitter to compare your email contacts and other networks is a great way to start. Look for any friends you know are using Twitter. When you find someone, click Follow to begin seeing their tweets in your Twitter stream.

Search for other contacts by using the search field on the right side of your Twitter site, looking for keywords that interest you. Take a spin through the trending topics and see if any tweets jump out at you.

When you’ve got a handful of folks you’re following, see who they’re following and who else is following them – chances are higher that they’re legit (meaning they’re not spammers) and that they may share some similar interests with you.

Tip: Don’t be surprised if you have some followers before you have sent out any tweets. Some might be spammers – if so, you’ll want to block them and report them to Twitter – but others might have found something of interest in your bio, your location, or might have matched their own email contacts with your address.

Step Three: Share great content: Why would someone want to follow you in Twitter? Because you provide a resource, a wealth of information that interests them and that they can share with others. The absolute bare minimum should be a 50/50 balance in content. Half of the time, you need to share content that is useful but in no way self-promotes or references your marketing interests. Half of the time, you can gently lead your audience into articles, posts, or other links that cast you in a favorable light. Anything more heavy handed quickly becomes, to borrow a term from Chris Brogan, social media’s version of carpet bombing. Become the go-to person on the Web for all information in your focus area – whether it’s thought leadership within your industry or reasoned commentary on news events of a particular bent – and you will get followers who appreciate your work, share your links and are eager to interact.

We’d love your feedback on our new series – Social Media 1-2-3 – here on the blog at Pixel/Point Press. Don’t miss last week’s article on drafting a social media strategy. And come back next week when we look at three common Twitter terms explained: retweets, DMs and hashtags.

To read more articles in this series, please bookmark this category.

Social Media 1-2-3: Three steps to create a social media strategy

Social Media 1-2-3
Our first post in a series to help beginners (and maybe some more experienced hands as well) understand social media begins with strategy.

Often skipped entirely or dismissed as unnecessary, drafting a social media strategy should be the cornerstone of every social media campaign – regardless of the company size. Whether you’re an individual looking to rebrand yourself before a job search or an international company trying to target a new market, you need to have a plan. Let’s take a look at what goes into a social media strategy in three steps.

Three-step social media strategy

One caveat: This three-step guide assumes that you’ve already spent some time online listening to your market and you’re able to make an educated guess at how to target them. Before you can build a strategy, you’ll need to have set reasonable goals for your social media campaign.

Step One: Resources: Social media isn’t free. Before jumping on the Facebook bandwagon, take a hard look at what resources you can allocate.

Will a new social media campaign replace existing aspects of your current marketing? If so, will it free up budget? What content are you going to contribute? Do you have a regularly updated blog that provides more than simple self promotion? Is your company in support of promoting themselves as thought leaders in their industry? How often can you add new content?

Who will search for relevant articles to post? Who will answer comments on your blog and moderate posts to your Facebook fan page? How many staffers can be dedicated to the initial setup and learning curve of various tools? Will each staffer specialize in a specific area or will you need to cross train your staff to function with multiple tools? What skills do your staff already have and what will need to be taught/learned? Will your outreach be limited to business hours only or is it possible to allocate manpower over a larger part of the 24-hour cycle?

How much budget can you allocate to purchasing support tools for your strategy? Can you foot the bill for Involver’s toolset to make your Facebook presence more powerful and easier to manage? Will you and your staff have smartphones capable of sharing content from anywhere with a 3G connection?

To build a successful strategy using social media, you’ll need to take a hard look at three resources:

  • Time: How much time can you or your company dedicate to these efforts on an ongoing basis?
  • Talent: What skills can you leverage that allow you to reach out online in a new format?
  • Technology: Both hardware and know-how – can your current hardware get the job done and are your tech skills up to the task (or do you have a geek in waiting that could help you out)?

Step Two: Content: Before you create that corporate account at Digg.com, take a step back and consider what content you’ve got to share with the world.

The first part of content brainstorming should be a raid of your archives. Have you got good informational articles that can be repurposed as blog posts with a facelift? Do you have some PowerPoint presentations explaining your product or service that can be shared at SlideShare.net? Videos teaching someone some tips and tricks that you can add to YouTube? Audio files that teach – can they be made into a regular podcast? Content is king in any social media campaign, so consider first what you’ve got to use. In many cases, generating new content is also the most time consuming (and therefore resource consuming) aspect of your strategy, so make sure you use what you’ve already got.

But your own content is less than half of the equation. In order for your outreach effort to be a success, you need to become a valuable resource to your target market. And that means sharing a wealth of top-notch content that extends well beyond your own self-promotion efforts. If you’ve done a good job of building a successful listening system and know what content is relevant to your target market and where they can find those resources, you’re well on your way to sharing great links.

Instead of trying to steer your market to your content only, serve as an aggregator of relevant information on the Web in a variety of platforms. Become the go-to site for news and information, tips and tricks.

Instead of the staid model of solely diseminating information to your target market, become part of the discussion and encourage a focus group atmosphere.

Step Three: Tools: Finally, we reach the aspect of social media with which folks are most familiar. Once you’ve got the content, how are you going to reach your target market?

If you’re lucky, the most powerful tool in your social media toolbox might be your own Web site. If you’re unlucky, and your Web site doesn’t meet the needs of your target market, you’re going to have a hard time with any Web-based marketing campaign – despite your best efforts. Your own site is home base for your presence on the Web. If your ultimate goal is to sell a product, be contacted by a prospective client or be hired to perform a service, your own site is the most likely gateway for new business. Make sure you have your ducks in a row at home before spending resources trying to promote a weak site.

Whenever possible, your use of social networks like Facebook and Twitter should be a means of getting people back to your own Web site. Don’t let your networks serve as an end point. While it’s useful when someone shares your Facebook fan page, you’ll have a lot more leverage if the link they share is to your blog or Web site. Train your target market to come back to you as a destination for useful content. Any links to your site that are shared will improve your search engine optimization – this technique is known as inbound marketing.

Which networks are the best fit for your target market? Will you reach the same market on two different networks, such as Twitter and Facebook? What sites for rich media fit your content the best? Does your Web site have tracking software in place to determine from which sites people click through to you? Which networks are best suited to your specific goals?

In summary: Evaluate your resources, raid your archives for content and target your market on the networks that are most conducive to achieving your goals.

We’d love your feedback on our new series – Social Media 1-2-3 – here on the blog at Pixel/Point Press. To read more articles in this series, please bookmark this category.

Introducing Social Media 1-2-3 – a new series of blog posts for social media beginners

Earlier this week, a friend challenged me to explain the premise behind social media marketing in three steps. After a short spiel, I realized it is possible to explain the basics in simple, easy-to-understand terms – and doing so might just help someone to take their first steps using a new tool or strategy.

While I strive in our classes to provide a wealth of knowledge in a very short time span, hoping to keep our students busy for several months after the classes end, I’m beginning to realize something: There’s a market for brevity.

To meet that growing need, I’m hoping to create a series of blog posts explaining how to get started in the wide worlds of social media networking and marketing. Topics will include:

  • Blogging
  • WordPress
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
  • Third-Party Twitter apps: Seesmic, TweetDeck, Bit.ly and others
  • Making the most of RSS feeds

And more. I’m also hoping my regular readers will help me generate some more topics. My goal is to provide a new post every Tuesday until I’m stumped for topics.

In another new addition to the blog, I’m asking readers for questions about how to use social media, drafting a strategy, etc. With your permission, I’ll reply to these questions and more every Wednesday on the blog so that others can learn from your questions. To send me a question, please email at kelli@pixelpointpress.com.

As always, thanks for reading, commenting, subscribing and sharing our content with others!

Two new classes – Hands-On Twitter and Facebook on Oct. 25

After teaching more than a dozen classes across Israel on social media marketing, we’re happy to be able to follow up on the most common requests our students made – hands-on classes that specialize in Twitter and Facebook.

Join us for hands-on classes with two of today’s most popular social media tools. These two-hour quick courses will walk you through, step-by-step, the social networking facets you need to begin reaching out on the Web.

Registration is first come, first served – class sizes are limited to ensure individual attention and time for questions. If the courses fill as quickly as our SMM classes, we’ll offer additional classes – let us know if a different time or location might suit you.

For more information or to register, please contact us at kelli@pixelpointpress.com.

Location:

Both classes will be held at JBS Business Class in Talpiot, Jerusalem. Directions are available here.

Date and Time:

  • Sunday, Oct. 25
  • Hands-On Twitter: 12:30-2:30 p.m.
  • Hands-On Facebook: 2:40-4:40 p.m.

Cost:

  • NIS 225 +VAT for either course; take both for NIS 400 +VAT

Details:

  • Classes are taught in English
  • Participants need a laptop – Internet access is provided
  • You will receive a cheshbonit mas

Hands-On Facebook:

  • Settings: Account, Privacy and Applications
  • Profile and Inbox: Custom URLs, sharing content and etiquette
  • Applications and Features: Photos, Videos, Groups, Events, Notes, Links, Credits, Chat, Pages, Real-time search
  • Marketing: Ads, Pages, Connect, Business Accounts, What is FBML?
  • Facebook Lite: Which one should you use?
  • Help: Troubleshooting your Facebook problems

Hands-On Twitter:

  • Your account: Your username, real name, profile, image, background, link to your site, etiquette
  • Follow: Blogs, importing e-mail addresses, search, third-party referrers
  • Get followed: Sharing content, asking questions and answering others
  • Learn the lingo: Retweets and via, hashtags, direct messages, favorites, blocking
  • Make it easy: Using third-party apps to tweet, group and track your traffic
  • Help: Troubleshooting and mistakes to avoid

Both classes will be taught by Kelli Brown of Pixel/Point Press.

Please contact us at kelli@pixelpointpress.com for more information or to register for classes.

Is social media marketing a fad? Consider the statistics

It’s a loaded question for most companies out there today. Is social media marketing a fad?

While I think every brand has to draw their own conclusions, I think the following video by Erik Qualman has some startling statistics that need to be given consideration.

Coming in September: Social media marketing classes and more

After a whirlwind month of finishing projects and moving into our new offices (pictures to come as soon as we finish painting!), we’re happy to announce some of the cool things we have planned starting in September.

Back by popular demand is our Social Media Marketing class. Our first class will be held in Jerusalem starting on September 3.

This is a popular class so please reserve your spot as soon as possible. This time we are meeting at the beautiful JBS Business Class Center in Talpiot, Jerusalem. For anyone who missed a session from a previous class, please note that on your RSVP.

  • Date: Thursdays,  September 3, September 10, and September 17
  • Time: from 9 am until 12 noon
  • Address: Hataasiya 8; 4th Floor; Talpiot; Jerusalem

Directions: The office is at Hataasiya 8. Hataasiya Street is the extension of Yad Harutzim after the Achim Yisrael mall. The building has an electrical appliance store on the ground floor called Traklin and an Orange office. The entrance to the office part of the building is on the right side – look for a big statue of a lion in a glass case. Go down the path, into the building and take the elevator to the 4th floor. Make a left and then a right when you get off the elevator.

Do you want to learn how to make the most of your presence online? Need help starting (or customizing – or promoting) a blog or Web site?
Consider joining us for three sessions to build your Web profile, reach new clients, and market yourself using free tools.

Cost for all three sessions is NIS 350. We’ll meet once a week a for three weeks.

Session 1: An Introduction to Social Media

  • Starting a blog
  • Using Facebook and LinkedIn for professional networking
  • Using Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter for marketing
  • Tips and tricks to get started quickly and effectively
  • hree ideas you (and your competition) haven’t tried yet
  • What not to do – common mistakes and how to avoid them

Session 2: Promoting your Social Media Efforts

  • How to promote a blog
  • RSS/Social bookmarking
  • SEO – Crafting effective headlines and tags, using XML sitemaps
  • Facebook groups and fan pages, LinkedIn user groups, Twitter tweets, FriendFeed

Session 3: Advanced Social Media Techniques

  • Creating custom blog templates
  • Developing Facebook apps
  • Plugins and more – bringing it all together
  • What’s next? Staying ahead of the curve
  • What to do when that’s not enough to beat your competition

I will be teaching the classes and am happy to answer any questions. I have several years of experience using open source tools for Web design and development, SMM and SEO.

After our social media marketing course comes to a close, we’d like to fulfill requests for two other classes: Using WordPress as a CMS and Creating Custom WordPress Templates. If you’re interested in these classes (or others), please let us know by dropping us a note at kelli@pixelpointpress.com or filling out the contact form below.

Tips for successful Facebook fan page after Involver

A few weeks ago, I wrote a post on tips to create a successful Facebook fan page (also known as a public profile). One of the toolkits mentioned in the blog post was applications made by Involver.com. Hands down, Involver.com makes the best applications for Facebook pages. Their tools allow page administrators to easily integrate YouTube, Twitter, RSS, slideshows and much more into Facebook fan pages with ease.
Unfortunately, I wasn’t the only one aware of how great these tools were. Involver.com also had a clue – and decided to monetize their tools by introducing a premium membership. Even at $29 a month (introductory pricing with one month free), the tools are a great deal. For a major company that’s trying to make the most of their Facebook fan page, $29 a month is nothing. I would strongly suggest anyone who can afford it keeps using their tools. If you need further convincing, check out some of the case studies available on their site.

Involver.com's array of tools for Facebook fan pages

Involver.com's array of tools for Facebook fan pages


But what about the rest of us? What if you’re just starting a fan page and you’re not sure how much of an investment to make? What if the only budget you’ve been allocated is your own time? What if the whole reason you got into social media marketing in the first place is because it’s free*?
Nothing out there right now can mimic the ease and simplicity of the toolset created by Involver. But let’s look for the next best solution to the most popular tools and how to get the same results.

RSS

To import your RSS feed – whether it’s a blog site or regular news site or press releases or Twitter – you need Social RSS. This very handy app allows you to import up to five RSS feeds into a page. You can choose how many items post from each feed and have a little flexibility in the placement. What’s better, you can still add the feeds to a page tab so fans will see “RSS/Blog” when they visit your site. Don’t forget to add a box to the main page so your feeds are prominent.

Twitter

Though there are countless Twitter apps out there that allow you add your Twitter feed to your page and update Twitter from Facebook (and vice versa if you’re using TweetDeck or Seesmic, among others), sometimes the simplest solution is the most effective. Instead of adding another app (and another tab) to the top of your page, add your Twitter feed via RSS as one of your five RSS feeds using Social RSS. To find the feed for your Twitter page, just visit your own page in Twitter – http://www.twitter.com/pixelpointpress, for example – and click the RSS link on the right-hand side. You’ll have similar control and fewer apps to manage with Social RSS installed.

SlideShare

Well, this is a no brainer. Instead of using Involver’s Slides for Pages app, just use SlideShare’s own app to share your presentations on your page. Link your Facebook account with your SlideShare account and fans will see your latest presentations as well as those you’ve marked as a favorite. Don’t forget to add both a tab and a box to the page to make it easier for fans to find your presentations.

Video

As it stands, I haven’t found a good substitute for YouTube for Pages. That said, Facebook’s own application allows you to upload video – several fan pages have made an impact using this simple but useful tool. A few to view are Pringles and Victoria’s Secret. The main benefit to using Facebook’s video function is that users can share their own videos with the same interface – no more separate tabs for user-generated content.

All the rest

When it comes to coupons and polls – as well as other custom branding – and your Facebook fan page, it’s time to learn some Facebook Markup Language (FBML). In short, it’s time to dive into the deep end and become a developer. Give it a shot and let us know what you learn by posting in the comments!
* For the record, social media is anything but free. The tools are free to use, but your time commitment is a very valuable resource. Please understand that social media isn’t for everyone – and that any serious marketing campaign takes resources. You get out of it what you put into it – and if you’re lucky, you get a bit more.

Where do you share your content? Get a Geek Chart

Got five minutes? You’re reading a blog, so chances are you do.

Head on over to GeekChart.com and sign up. Point them toward all the content you share online – YouTube, Twitter, Digg, Delicious, StumbleUpon, Flickr, your blog RSS and Last.fm. Click the magic buttons to create a nifty dynamic pie chart that shows where you’re sharing content online.

Clearly, I’m a Twitter and blog kind of girl.

Create your pie chart once and then import it into your site, blog, sidebar, you name it. It will update automatically, always reflecting your web activity.

It’s not bad, and a lot of fun, for a start. But for those of us who are “heavy users” of Facebook, a substantial piece of the pie is missing. I’d also like to see FriendFeed, Picasa, Google reader and Ning added to the mix.

How accurate is your pie? Is it what you expected? Let us know where we can see it on your site by leaving a comment.