Social Media Infrastructures White Paper

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A term coined by Internet marketing expert Chad H. Pollitt, a Social Media Infrastructure is multiple Social Media platforms chosen to engage social media users, how those platforms are connected to …

A term coined by Internet marketing expert Chad H. Pollitt, a Social Media Infrastructure is multiple Social Media platforms chosen to engage social media users, how those platforms are connected to one another pushing and pulling content, and the synergies they create.

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  • 1. This Social Media Infrastructures White Paper is intended to give you an introduction to the concept, strategy and execution of a social media infrastructure. It is also the basis for my forthcoming book entitled, "Social Media Infrastructures." Please continue to follow the Social Media Infrastructures Blog for the publication date, rants and raves, and good internet marketing banter. Introduction Just over 96% of Generation Y is utilizing some sort of social media. They're entering their mid-thirties and are making business purchasing decisions more and more every day. Because of this, social media marketing is a must for future business sustainability. Building a social media infrastructure is a strategy and path for companies to fully take advantage of this newest form of marketing to gain exposure, build leads and grow revenue. The recommended strategy has two considerations. The first is the social media infrastructure itself or those social media platforms chosen for engagement and how they are connected to one another. Most companies that fail in social media marketing have each platform in a silo without regard to connectivity and the efficiencies of time and message that can be gained. The infrastructure approach will maximize your share of voice while creating consistency, clarity and congruency of message on the internet. The second consideration is the execution of engagement and recommended engagement techniques on the selected social media platforms. It is also important to understand that each social media community has its own rules of engagement and that detractors from the community are scorned and can be labeled as spam. Successful companies in social media act more like hosts, party planners and content providers than traditional advertisers and sometimes blur the line between personal branding and company branding because Social Media is personal by its very nature. Building Blocks of a Social Media Infrastructure Before starting your social media campaign it is important to have a keyword workshop to identify those keywords that your potential fans, followers, customers and future customers may type into a search engine or a social media search. If a proper social media infrastructure is deployed search engine optimization is one of many results. Not just for your individual social media platforms, but for your blog, websites and all other online assets included in the infrastructure. I've been able to hog up over 80% of organic search listings on Google for my targeted keywords with the infrastructure approach. The words defined in your keyword workshop will represent the "theme" of all of your posted content that the search engines will index.
  • 2. Social media and SEO have a synergistic relationship. As Google and the other search engines spider the internet they will discover all of your social media platforms, blogs and websites because they're all connected via links and RSS feeds. In essence, since all of the aforementioned platforms exist in the same "keyword neighborhood" the social media platforms are passing votes of confidence (link juice) to one another. As a result, the search engines will identify the keywords in your content and determine that you are even more relevant for those words than if you just had a website. Another added benefit to a social media infrastructure is efficiency. Once the infrastructure is in place content that is placed on your blog by blog contributors is automatically posted on Facebook, Twitter, FriendFeed, CompanyPond, PeoplePond, LinkedIn, YouTube and any other platform you choose to utilize. This does not eliminate the need to listen and engage your audience in those mediums, but does dramatically reduce time spent posting content while maximizing your company's share of voice. 1. Blogs When building anything from the ground up it is important to define and develop your base. Social media infrastructures are powered by a blog at their base. Since most social media platforms limit the amount of characters you can use to communicate it is important to allow interested fans or followers to access your blog for more information. Not all social media platforms allow you to connect your blog. Additionally, blogs represent the transition from pull to push marketing via RSS feeds (Real Simple Syndication). Visitors to your blog, whether they be from social media or from a search engine, can subscribe to your feed. Users that subscribe to your feed will automatically be notified when you post new content via their RSS reader. 2. Choosing Social Media Platforms The more social media platforms you can utilize in your infrastructure the bigger your share of voice will be on the internet. In addition, the SEO benefits will be greater. However, it is important that you do a little due diligence and research before you choose your platforms. You should start by looking at your target demographics and developing personas. Then you can compare the demographic data with that of the platform itself. When choosing what social media platforms to build your infrastructure with it is important to take inventory of what digital assets are available to use as content in the infrastructure. Below is a list of possible digital assets you could use in your social media infrastructure:
  • 3. • Video • Pictures/Graphics • Music/Audio • Documents/Presentations/Files • Press Releases 3. Connecting Your Social Media Platforms Once you've chosen which social media platforms to use for building your social media infrastructure you need to establish accounts on the respective social media platforms and decide how to connect them. Most social media platforms can be interconnected in one way or another. Also, do not forget to link your conversion platforms, websites, microsites and landing pages to the infrastructure. Below is a short list of ways to connect social media platforms. • Links • RSS Feeds • Widgets • Apps • Audio Players • Video Embeds • Presentation Embeds • Java Script • HTML • • • and many others. . . *For the "Na-Sayers" out there that like to rant about no-follow links and duplicate content: Yes, some social media platforms use no-follow links. However, keep in mind that Google reserves the right to follow a no-follow link and there is no such tag as "no-follow" in an RSS feed. Regarding duplicate content, Google has said on several occasions not to worry about it unless your intent is to be deceptive or manipulative. Matt Cuts of Google was quoted as saying, ". . . finds honest webmasters worry about dupe content when they don't need to."
  • 4. 4. Sample Infrastructures
  • 5. 4. Social Media Rules of Engagement A few lines about engagement on social media platforms does not do it justice, but I will share with you a few "golden rules" to guide you through the social media engagement experience. Keep in mind, each social media community has its own rules for networking and communication. It will take time to learn them all, but in the mean time follow these principles: T.H.A.R.G • Transparency • Honesty • Authenticity • Reciprocity • Gratuity E.L.L.E Engage: Engagement is a two-way street. When you engage people in an online community, they will engage you too. Engagement will allow you to build the image and brand perception you want while handling customer service issues at the same time. Direct communication will allow you to build real relationships with your customers and/or potential customers. Have you ever heard the saying, "People buy from people they know?" Listen: No matter what industry you're in someone, somewhere is talking about your company, industry, brand, product or service. Usually these discussions are on one or more Social Media platforms. Most organizations don't even know these conversations are taking place because they're not listening. Your campaign will allow for the active listening of your marketplace while providing invaluable insight into the mind of your customers.
  • 6. Educate: People only go to the web for two reasons: to be entertained and/or to solve a problem. By presenting yourself or your company as the subject matter expert in your field, someone will find your content compelling enough to listen to your campaign more often because you can help solve their problems. Entertain: As mentioned in the educate portion, entertainment is one of two reasons people go online. It doesn't necessarily mean you have to be funny to be entertaining either. Iconic88 entertains thousands of people a day on Twitter by simply posting famous and not-so-famous quotes. A company called Blendtec created a "Will It Blend" video series on YouTube where they put items like an iPhone, Silly Putty, golf balls, etc. in their blenders to see if it will blend. Their campaign resulted in over 50 million video views and a 700% increase in sales. If you need further guidance or have questions feel free to connect with me at Good Luck! Chad H. Pollitt @CPollittIU