The Good, The OK and The Bad….

Which social media sites are right for you and your business?  We recognize that a single approach to marketing will never fit all situations because every business is different. The greatest benefit of letting Socialty fulfill your online needs is that we can use our knowledge, skill, experience and talent to determine if certain sites do or don’t match your needs!

Several months ago, the online site CMO.com published its annual Guide To the Social Landscape. Each year the guide, which is published as a downloadable infographic, lists the major players in online social media and grades them on strengths and weaknesses that are important to companies wanting to leverage social media for advertising and marketing.

The 2012 guide features 14 social media sites – from heavy hitters such as Facebook and Twitter to lesser knowns like Quora – and grades them in four categories: customer communication, brand exposure, traffic to your site, and search engine optimization. To explain further, CMO’s list looks at the potential for a company to build business utilizing a site in each of those four ways, and then uses the simple grading scale of “good,” “ok,” or “bad.”

First I thought we might take a look at the sites that were graded “good” across the board. To my surprise, none of the 14 social media sites achieved that spread! That’s probably a great sign that CMO’s list is trying for fairness. While leveraging these sites can be good for your business, the use of each social media site has limitations when trying to manage your online marketing activities.

Four sites did achieve the high grades of “good” in three areas and “ok” in one. These are Facebook, Google+, Twitter, and YouTube. All four scored high marks in regard to customer communication and brand exposure. Facebook and Twitter were stronger in building traffic to your site, while Google+ and YouTube were more useful for search engine optimization.

I don’t think the high marks for those well known and recognizable names are shocking to anyone. A mild surprise was SlideShare – a site that’s rated very highly by CMO’s Guide To the Social Landscape. In its first year on the guide, SlideShare (which has been around since 2006) is called “an awesome communication method for companies” and “a great place to promote your brand.” It’s rated “good” for customer communication and brand exposure and “ok” for building web traffic and for search engines. Subsequent to the release of this year’s guide, SlideShare announced on May 3 that it was being acquired by LinkedIn. Business Insider reported it to be a cash and stock deal worth $119 million.

So far, the social media sites we’ve been discussing have all had two category strengths (communication and branding) in common. StumbleUpon comes from the other direction. In fact, it’s rated “bad” for customer communication. The guide states “reaching existing customers can be random and costly.” For branding, it’s “ok” with the site’s targeting praised for its accuracy. Cost, however, is a drawback. According to the guide, StumbleUpon is “good” for both building traffic to your site and for search engines. StumbleUpon is among those sites that are a bit hard to explain to non-users. According to Wikipedia, “StumbleUpon uses collaborative filtering (an automated process combining human opinions with machine learning of personal preference) to create virtual communities of like-minded Web surfers.”

Similarly, Digg is a social media site where its users submit an outside webpage, and then vote the page up or down (called “digg”ing or “bury”ing, respectively). This is done through voting on digg.com or by websites adding “digg” buttons to their pages. CMO’s Guide To the Social Landscape ranked it generally “ok,” but “good” for brand exposure, which is attributed to the opportunity for promoting articles via Digg. The guide pointed to declining traffic across Digg as its primary weakness.

Also among the social media sites that received mixed ratings:

  • Flickr was “good” for SEO. The guide points out that “proper optimization can rank well in Google Images.” Unfortunately “even with tens of thousands of views” very low click-through to your site earned a “bad” rating.
  • LinkedIn was also “unlikely to drive any significant traffic to your site” (a “bad”) but received a “good” for brand exposure, especially if utilizing its company page features.
  • Pinterest was rated “good” for brand exposure and driving traffic to your site. The guide suggests “Contests” for the former and adding “Pin It” buttons to your pages for the latter. However, this social media service was rated “bad” for both communicating with customers and link values decreasing, stating “Pinterest recently n0-followed its links.”
  • Quora was “excellent for communication with high-level customers” and sharing your expertise (a “good”) but the drawbacks include most traffic staying put on the Quora site and no-follow links (a “bad” and an “ok”).
  • Reddit was “good” for driving traffic to your site but the guide mentioned not to “try too hard and get banned.” It was rated “bad” for increasing your brand exposure as most of the content is from major news organizations. Plus there’s a problem with image attribution which knocked Reddit down to an “ok” for SEO.

Only two social media sites received fairly negative ratings in this year’s Guide To the Social Landscape: Delicious (“Not enough brand recognition to make [it] worth your time”) and Instagram (which received a “good” for brand exposure but literally doesn’t have ways to communicate with customers, drive traffic to your site, or a way to incorporate SEO).

Visit the Guide To the Social Landscape at:

http://www.cmo.com/social-media/2012-cmos-guide-social-landscape

Keywords: social media, online traffic, brand exposure, websites, communication, ratings, socialty, search engines, marketing, Facebook, Google+, Twitter, YouTube, SlideShare, StumbleUpon, Digg, Flickr, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Quora, Reddit, Delicious, Instagram

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Social Media Marketing for Small Businesses… Why Socialty is for you!!!


Ninety years ago, radio broadcasting was becoming the most popular way for businesses to reach American consumers. Salesmen touted programming in a wide variety of formats and genres, from classical music to news & weather to dramatic plays, and businesses sponsored many of the popular programs during what is now called the Golden Age of Radio. The Bell Telephone Hour, The Voice of Firestone, The Planters Pickers, and Champion Spark Plug Hour are examples of how sponsorships made corporations and manufacturers into household names in the days before commercial interruptions became commonplace.

Sixty years ago, television began its ascent as a primary medium for informing, educating, entertaining, and again, advertising. Today, 60 minutes of broadcast or cable/satellite television includes about 16 minutes of commercial advertising. It’s an expensive option, but if planned and executed correctly, businesses using the TV medium can reach thousands or even millions of consumers.

Fifteen years ago, Internet marketing became a crucial part of advertising strategy. Banner images on web sites and the often-maligned pop-up ads were early methods of using the Internet to grow your business.

During the last decade, and especially in the last few years, social media has become the cutting edge for business advertising. Social media blends the technology that many consumers have at their fingertips with social interaction. Consumer-generated “buzz” – including reviews, rumors, and reactions to official news announcements – will usually result in more traffic to company web sites, and can drive sales, increase utilization of services, and expand brand recognition and loyalty.

Social media has exploded as a business promotional tool because, unlike traditional media (newspapers, radio, television, film) social media advertising is relatively inexpensive and very accessible to almost everyone.

Which brings us to SOCIALTY. We have a simple, yet elegant, mission: helping small businesses manage their social media campaigns and online reputations. Socialty creates dynamic content, manages your presence and engages users to create word of mouth buzz. We use an online approach that focuses on sites such as, but not limited to, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, etc. We also create blogs and email marketing campaigns that delivers your brand directly to users via email. Socialty can help a company take its brand to social media sites, paralleling a company’s existing media outlets. The ultimate benefit in optimizing social media is keeping the fans and followers of your small business interested in your products and services, and ultimately, attracting new fans and followers, and transforming them into loyal customers.

A primary concern of most small businesses is cost; “How will this decision help or hurt my bottom line?” Socialty not only understands this, but can help guide you through the decision-making process, developing a plan that fits your needs and goals.

Let’s take a look at a couple of great examples of companies that use social media to expand their online presence, reported by MP Mueller, a blogger for The New York Times.

Mueller writes that a three-year-old luxury watch e-retailer named Melrose Jewelers rolled out its Facebook page, YouTube channel, and a blog to great success. “The company has seen a 71-percent increase in year-over-year sales (and collected more than 100,000 Facebook “likes”).” This result might be better than average for many social media ventures, but a couple of things stand out in this report.

First, the marketing director of Melrose Jewelers recognized an obvious divide between groups of its customers. Facebook is great for reaching younger, technologically inclined people. For older, more wary customers, the Facebook page and its posts and comments lent credibility to the business. Even those concerned with making a high-end purchase online can be affected by the positive discussions about the business via social media!

Second, the online jeweler also used a Facebook application it commissioned from a third-party programmer to promote some of its products. Through developing a quiz that users could take, it drove buyers toward a certain item based on answers. This kind of personal tailoring is still a huge attraction to consumers, no different than the traditional sales tactic of matching a customer to a product “just right for” that person.

Nellie Alkalp, a small business owner and blogger on Mashable.com, made a couple of points that are important to remember. Just having your social media presence established isn’t enough. In a lot of cases, stated Alkalp, “a neglected social media presence will reflect poorly on your business. It’s actually better to not have an account if you don’t have the time and resources to actively manage it and participate.”

Along the same line of thinking, Alkalp also wrote that social media isn’t free. That is to say that even if building a Facebook page or creating a YouTube video doesn’t cost your business, the time and effort to build up and then maintain it will take its toll on your resources. Whether you’re a one-woman LLC, a small chain of stores, or a large corporation, working on social media takes capable people, numerous hours per month, and in general requires planning and execution to succeed.

That’s where Socialty can help you. Whether you need to take those first steps onto the social media scene, or you possess established pages that aren’t utilized enough, we will work with you to reach your goals. By understanding your needs as a small business, developing a plan for your social media can make an insurmountable task suddenly seem less difficult. By building, then maintaining your social media presence, Socialty can make your professional life easier. The goal is to get your business to where you want it, with speed, professionalism, and flair.

Socialty Inc.’s motto is “Keep Social and Carry On!” Like the old verbiage from the British Government at the beginning of World War II, Keep Calm and Carry On, we wanted a tag line that would convey just that… We’ll keep our clients social (“Keep Social”): blogging, Tweeting, Facebook-ing, and keeping them current for search engines. Meanwhile, you can “Carry On” with making your business succeed. We will Facebook, Tweet and blog clear, concise and coherent posts for the world to view.

Over the years, the media has changed dramatically. But that doesn’t mean your business has to suffer dramatically! Get the service you need. Solve your social media problems. Maximize the ways social media can help your business. Contact Socialty today and get started!

Links to the blogs Referenced above:

http://boss.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/07/11/small-businesses-that-understand-social-media/

http://mashable.com/2012/06/25/small-businesses-social-media-tips/

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