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Webucator's Free Introduction to Social Media Tutorial

Lesson: Social Media Overview

Welcome to our free Introduction to Social Media tutorial. This tutorial is based on Webucator's Introduction to Social Media Training course.

In this lesson, you will learn the basics on how to use social media for your company's marketing efforts.

Lesson Goals

  • Learn about social media marketing.
  • Learn how various departments can use social media.
  • Learn about the social media sites and tools that are currently available.
  • Learn about the tools that are available to track your social media efforts.

Branding

When you think about using social media to build your brand, you need to step back and think about your company's overarching branding strategy. Here are some items that you need to consider:

  • Target Audience: Who is your ideal customer? Is your company more focused on reaching consumers (B2C) or businesses (B2B)?
  • Messaging: What is the voice of your brand? Is it fun or serious? Some organizations use social media to bring out their playful side while others use it to establish themselves as a go-to resource within their industry.
  • Interaction: How much do you want to interact directly with customers using social media? You can use social media purely to broadcast information to your customers or you can allow or even encourage your customers to actively participate. You should decide this early on as it will affect how you shape your social media plan.

After discussing and answering these questions, you can begin to work on your social media plan.

Let's share two branding examples shown in the screenshots below.:

  1. A serious example from Photoshop's Facebook page:
  2. A fun branding example from Kit Kat's Facebook page:

Manager Tip: Make sure your team is on the same page when deciding on a branding strategy. A cohesive campaign is very important to social media success. We'll discuss more in the upcoming lessons.

Branding Considerations

Duration: 15 to 25 minutes.

In this exercise, you will...

  1. Discuss your social media branding ideas.
  2. Consider how your social media presence will fit in with your overarching brand strategy.

Take a few minutes to discuss your initial thoughts on how you might want to structure your company's social media branding. Points to consider:

  1. Who is your target audience? What are the interests of that target audience?
  2. If your company already has a social media presence, how does it fit with your brand?
  3. How will you interact with your audience via social media? Specifically, what will be the tone of your messaging and interaction?

Sales

Social media provides a lot of potential sales opportunities. Figuring out how to take advantage of those opportunities is the hard part.

There are multiple ways to promote your products/services on social media platforms including:

  1. Selling directly through a social platform.
  2. Announcing new products and special offers.
  3. Paid advertising.

Selling Directly

There are now applications that make it easy to sell your offerings right on your Facebook page, so your customer doesn't even need to leave Facebook to buy your product. We are likely to see other social media platforms follow suit.

New Products and Special Offers

Everyone loves special offers. More and more companies are using social media to announce deals and exclusive offers, be it a last-minute deal, a special discount, or an opportunity to advance purchase a soon-to-be-released product.

The use of social media as a way to sell to customers has been coined social commerce and it appears to work. Consider the following statistics from Bazaarvoice:

  1. "Social Media in the UK: A visitor coming from a social media site is ten times more likely to make a purchase online than an average visitor: 7% vs. 71%. (Simply Zesty, 2010)."
  2. "Majority of consumers (74%) rely on social networks to guide purchase decisions (Gartner, July 2010)."
  3. "The highest performing businesses use consumer insights in 80% of sales and merchandising (GOOD Magazine, March 2010)."
  4. "86% of US online retailers have Facebook fan pages (GOOD Magazine, March 2010)."

Those numbers all sound great, but how can you make it work for your business?

  1. What offers might you want to give your social media followers?
  2. How will you feature your products on social media platforms?

Paid Advertising

In addition to considering deals, you may want to consider the advertising opportunities available on major social media platforms such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc. These sites often have a lot of demographic information about their users and allow advertisers to very selectively target potential customers.

Generating New Leads

Finally, social media can also help drive sales by generating new sales leads. To do so, you will need to provide a reason for potential consumers of your products and services to engage with you on your social media platforms. For example, to get additional leads, you could provide free tips and help articles to establish your company as a trusted resource and then provide a more comprehensive whitepaper in exchange for users' contact information.

Manager Tip: This is a lengthy process and requires dedicated time from content specialists, so you need to make sure you have the resources and buy-in before taking this on.

Sales Considerations

Duration: 15 to 25 minutes.

In this exercise, you will discuss potential sales opportunities.

What potential do you currently see for driving sales via your social media efforts? Points to consider:

  1. Does your company ever offer discounts? If so, which products and discounts might be most well received on social media sites?
  2. Consider the new products you have released in the past year. Which products might have sparked a lot of conversation on social media platforms? How might your sales team take advantage of those conversations?
  3. How is the sales team connected to other departments in the company? How can that communication between the sales team and social media teams be increased?

SEO

SEO stands for search engine optimization: the process of developing your web pages so they show up well in search engines.

Consider these SEO statistics from intraspin.com:

  • 62% of search users click a link on the first page of search results.
  • 77% of search users choose organic over paid listings when searching; 67% choose organic search when purchasing.
  • 80% of unsuccessful searches are followed with keyword refinement.

You can use SEO to help your social media efforts and you can use social media to help your SEO efforts.

To illustrate, consider Webucator. As a company that sells Microsoft Word training, we would like people to know that we are Word experts and we would ultimately like to drive them to purchase a course from us on our website. We use SEO and social media to promote our classes. Here is an example of how:

  1. We identified an issue that we felt many Word users would search in: Printing.
  2. Our Microsoft Word trainer wrote a blog article called "Printing and Print Preview in Microsoft Word 2010." This title is both informative and filled with SEO-friendly keywords.
  3. In the article, we used these keywords heavily, without compromising writing quality, so Google would know that this article was about printing in Word 2010.
  4. We promoted throughout social media platforms. The screenshot below shows an example tweet:

The results?

  1. The blog article rose to the second spot for the Google search: printing in Word 2010:
  2. The course outline rose to spot number for the Google search: Word 2010 class:

We'll get into this discussion more in an upcoming lesson, but this gives you an idea of how you can combine social media with SEO efforts.

Support

There are two main considerations when using social media to provide support and customer service:

  1. What happens if someone asks a question or files a complaint on a social media platform? Which team member will handle that and how?
  2. Can your social media team can help your support team by publishing and promoting solutions to common issues/problems your customers have? This can reduce support time, create customer goodwill, and possibly generate new sales leads.

With these two considerations, your company has a great opportunity to directly engage with your customers through social media. Let's consider the same topic: printing in Microsoft Word 2010, but let's consider it from Microsoft's point of view.

Microsoft's marketing and/or support team could write a blog article titled "Microsoft Word 2010 Printing Issues," and try to catch Word users when they search Google and before they contactMicrosoft directly.

Social Media Policy

Many companies have developed social media policies to provide guidance for the employees on how to engage in social media. At Webucator, we are big fans of Intel's three rules of engagement shown below:

As we discuss the different social media platforms available to you, we will point out issues that you may wish consider in your social media policy.

Sites and Tools

In this course, we're going to focus on some of the main social media platforms and tools. Below is a chart highlighting the tools we will cover. We will go through each tool in the upcoming lessons.

Social Media Tools
Tool Overview
Blogging A blog is a web publishing tool that makes it easy for non-technical users to publish content to the web. It provides a great way for marketing, sales, and support people to reach out to customers on the web without going through the IT team.
Facebook Facebook is a fun social media tool with over 845 million users throughout the world and which continues to grow. In the United States, over 70% of all website users are using Facebook (source: Facebook Newsroom). There are various engagement opportunities for businesses, from ads to business profiles, to apps, and more.
Twitter Twitter is a social media tool that allows the creation of both personal and business accounts. Individuals and businesses can use Twitter to broadcast messages, or "tweets," of up to 140 characters in length. This is very similar to the concept of texting on your phone. Twitter has over 300 million users, so it is a very busy space for businesses.
LinkedIn LinkedIn is a tool that gives both companies and individuals the opportunity to promote themselves on a professional level and get involved in industry discussions. LinkedIn has over 135 million users (source: LinkedIn Newsroom).
Google+ Google+ is the newest of the social media tools we will discuss in this course, and it is growing in popularity. It's similar to Facebook in that it has both personal and business pages and provides the ability to disseminate information to followers. A user's Google+ relationships are considered in Google's search results. More on this later.
YouTube YouTube is a video hosting platform, also owned by Google. With YouTube you can host, share, and promote your videos. Because YouTube videos also show up in Google searches, we will spend some time discussing the SEO benefit later in this course.

In each upcoming lesson, we will focus on each tool independently and review these key components:

  1. Sales opportunities.
  2. SEO benefits.
  3. Support benefits.
  4. Policy development.
  5. Tools, services, and management.
  6. Tracking and results overview.

Tracking Activity and Results

Your social media plan should include a strategy for tracking your social media campaigns. Engaging in social media can be time consuming and expensive; therefore, it is important to be able to figure out which activities are meeting your desired goals.

Within each lesson, you will see some specific tracking tools for each social media site, but there are two main ones we should discuss first. Later on in the course, we will also spend some time going through all of the benefits of Google Analytics, a free web analytics resource that we can use to learn about our website visitors and how they got to our website(s).

Google URL Builder

The Google URL Builder is a resource that allows you to tag your social media links, and then see the results in Google Analytics. For example, if you were going to promote your latest blog post on Facebook, you can tag those links to see how many people completed your desired action of clicking your blog link.

Consider this screenshot.

We have tagged the blog post with a Facebook-specific tag. So, now we will know how much traffic (and the quality of that traffic) came to us from our Facebook company page. We'll go through this in more detail throughout the course, but keep this tool in the back of your mind. The more you use it, the more social media analytics will be available to you.

Social Media Dashboard

Hootsuite is a social media dashboard that allows you to engage, interact, and monitor all of your social media platforms. There are also many other social media dashboards out there, but we'll use Hootsuite for our example.

With Hootsuite, you can have multiple employees or colleagues all participating/starting discussions with your company's pages. You should provide guidelines for this in your social media policy.

Take a look at the screenshot (from hootsuite.com blogs):

Overall, these dashboard tools offer great collaboration opportunities for companies using numerous social media platforms.

Caution: Specific to Facebook, users can block all content from a specific app. As Hootsuite is an app, in theory, a user could block all posts from Hootsuite and miss out on your content delivery.