As an online PR agency, we’re constantly being asked how we go about running effective social media marketing campaigns for our clients.
Although a lot of companies that offer online PR services keep their methods a secret, we don’t feel the need to. Our clients don’t hire us because they can’t figure this stuff out on their own, but because they don’t have the time to handle their web PR themselves.
5-Step Social Media Marketing and Online PR Checklist:
1. Take an objective look at your website. If it sucks, hire a web designer to create you a new one.
This isn’t 1997, when it was impressive just to have a website up and running. These days, people expect a clean design, functional (and intuitive) interface and an easy purchasing process. If your web design is scaring potential clients and customers away, you’re not going to be making a lot of sales.
Without an inviting web design, all of the social media marketing and online PR services in the world combined still won’t be enough to increase your sales. Your website is your digital storefront, so make sure it’s as impressive as your products.
2. Take an objective look at your web content writing. If it sucks, rewrite it yourself or hire an expert to do it for you.
Your web content writing should convert the people visiting the site from browsers to buyers. There are a variety of ways this can be done, but the first step is to integrate search engine optimization (SEO) into your copy.
It’s not enough to hire SEO article writers to write hundreds of pages of copy and then slap something together for your website. Your landing pages have to be something special — they should grab the reader’s attention, succinctly describe what your company has to offer (and why the reader should care) and then provide some sort of incentive to buy.
A call to action extraordinaire, if you will. This is how you increase sales and maximize the traffic referred from social media marketing and web PR efforts.
3. Identify, research, understand and write for your social media audience.
Once your house has been cleaned, it’s time to start inviting people over. Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn are great places to start, since they let you target your audience via groups, bio content, geographic location and more.
Free online PR tools like Hootsuite enable you to track specific keywords in the Twitterverse, so you’ll always know who’s talking about your company, your products or topics relevant to your industry. Sure, you can throw a lot of spaghetti at the wall and see what sticks — but when you take the time to target the right people, more of it will stick to the wall.
(If there’s ever an award for dragging out an already dead metaphor and beating it back to life, I should totally win it.)
3. Sign up for HARO for free PR and backlinks.
Out of all the free online PR tools business owners have access to, HARO is by far the best. You may need to keep at it for a few months before a journalist writes about your company, but when they do your traffic will see a definite spike. It’s also a great way to get backlinks.
4. Only share content that people care about.
If you’ve done a good enough job with targeting your social media marketing friends/fans/followers, you’ll have a pretty good idea of what they do (and do not) care about.
The next step is to write keyword-targeted blogs that delve into the subjects they’ll care about.
Web content writing is just the first part, the next step is to promote it via social bookmarking sites and social media marketing pages. When you link to your content, do it in a way that makes people want to click — try to turn your blog title into linkbait.
5. Repeat steps four and five maniacally.
If you keep targeting your followers and creating tons of fresh content using SEO web content writing strategies, you’ll start to see results. Once the search engines notice you, people searching for your products or services will start finding you, too. In this type of game, slow and steady wins the race — and every backlink, blog and keyword are important steps to victory. (Again with the crappy metaphors. I can’t help it!)
Once those things are in place, there’s no limit to what you can do with social media.
It’s fun to watch the Alexa rankings go up with each tweet and status update. Marketing with Facebook will never really work if the website isn’t good to go, though. Likewise, you’ll never increase your fans and followers if you don’t have good content to share (and to be shared by others).
Effective social media marketing is just a function of SEO web content writing, targeting your consumers and interesting copy.
When in doubt about the interesting copy part, make some sort of “Top 10” list or write about celebrities. If you sell clip in hair extension kits, you might want to write about the 5 Celebrities Who Wear Hair Extensions. For some reason, people can’t get enough of Kate Gosselin — in our experience, tweets and status updates containing her name get all kinds of clicks. True story.
Anyway, if you keep plugging away at social media marketing and web PR, you’ll eventually see that it’s 100% worth all of the time and effort. If you have any tips or tricks to add, feel free to do so in the comments section!