LEVEL ONE: What is Social Media?
Adding Social Media to your Marketing Initiatives
The use of Social media as a marketing tool is more than just an addition to the marketing
toolbox, it is a cultural change in how we create business. Social media has become the conduit
for social message delivery, opinion development, customer support, as well as marketing and
There are many things to consider when determining how to use Social Media in a marketing mix.
So where do you start?
What is it?
Let’s start with how Social Media was born. Since the beginning of time, people have been
“marketing” to one another. Social behavior dictates that when we like, or dislike something, we
tell others. In it’s simplest form, that “sharing” without the intentional goal of selling defines Word-
of-Mouth Marketing. This “customer evangelism” is the most pure, and least expensive kind of
marketing available. The challenge is that as a marketer, it is nearly impossible to “buy” customer
evangelists. They have to be developed over time.
Enter: Social Media Marketing
After decades of marketing using traditional channels and holding our breath while we hope that a
group of customer evangelists emerge on their own, Social Media is generating brand loyalitsts in
droves. By creating discussions online, building an online reputations and keeping our “friends
and fans” up-to-date literally minute-by-minute, Social Media is changing everything. It is
inexpensive as compared to traditional tools, intangible, yet easily tracked to ROI. Finally,
marketers can track response and progress.
The great thing about Social Media is that there is that we can do much to create our own destiny
if there is a proper plan in place using the proper tools.
Examples of Social Media:
Social networks: MySpace, Facebook, Bebo, LinkedIn, YouTube
Micro blogging: Twitter
Blogging: Blogger, Word Press
Event sites: evite
Online Discussion Groups: LinkedIn
Social bookmarking: Digg, Delicious
Who is using it?
Just about anyone can use social media to their benefit as a marketing tool. Because of the
newness of Social Media, there is a feeling of it being the “next big thing” that will replace
traditional marketing initiatives. It is important to realize that social media tools are not a
replacement, but rather a collection of more tools for the marketing toolbox.
It is easy for a company to become enamored with the “cool factor” of social media, but they must
remember that social media tools should be selected using strategy and followed-through
deliberately. Goals and objectives should be examined and a plan developed so that tracking and
measuring results becomes a part of the process.
Steps for a social media plan
1. Set overall marketing goals.
2. Determine messages and tactics.
3. Determine what Social Media tools can be used to accomplish the goals and deliver the
4. Assess the staff available to create and maintain a campaign.
5. Nail down a timeline for creation and maintenance. Social Media is a living and ever
changing being so time commitment is key!
6. Start implementation.
7. Participate in on-going maintenance.
8. Measure success on monitor reputation.
9. Tweak if necessary and continue.
Keep in mind that Social Media is a double edge sword. Once you decide to enter into the Social
Media world it requires ongoing monitoring and maintenance. However, you will also be closer to
your customers and prospects than ever. So, monitor to your advantage using negative
messages to become opportunities to practice stellar customer service.
From www.pingdom.com as of March 2009
Fresh Dirt can help. Let’s sit down and talk about how to fit Social Media initiatives into
your marketing plan!
www.freshdirtmarketing.com | 615.279.1502
LEVEL TWO: What are the Tools?
Primary Social Media Tools include:
Tool Description Examples
Social Networks Social Networking Tools enable businesses to Facebook
open new channels of communication with MySpace
consumers and business prospects. Digital
Social Networks are the new town square, the LinkedIn
new Chamber of Commerce meeting, it is Ning
where consumers and fellow business owners
are congregating, it is the new contact point
between businesses and potential and existing
Email / Newsletters: Email and Newsletter has expanded to offer Emma (Fresh Dirt is an Emma
extensive connectivity with the advent of Agency)
Mobile technology, enabling businesses to Mail Chimp
broadcast their messages and consumers to
retrieve and read emails virtually anywhere.
Forums: Forums offer businesses an effective method
to engage and carry on conversations on
specific topics and interest. Forums have the
ability to create and develop a close knit,
Wikis: Wikis are web based applications enabling Wikipedia
users to develop, edit and to distribute their
knowledge on the topic of their choice.
Companies are beginning to leverage the
power of Wikis to lower training costs, product
development and to retain various types of
procedural business information.
Blogs: Blogs are the most effective, easiest and most Wordpress
popular Social Media Tool to develop; Blogger
communication and conversation, and to
create an environment of trust between your
business’s and current and potential clients
Audio / Podcasts: Without a doubt Podcasts enable your www.feedforall.com
business message to be heard, it is not text, it
is not a photograph, it is a personal recording
of your business message which you can
record on your computer / upload to your
server and enable those interested to
download and listen to on their computers.
Humans have used verbal communication
since the dawn of time to spread ideas and to
influence others. What could be better than
verbal communication for your business?
Video: Video is hard to match for providing an YouTube
engaging experience, it is visual, it is audio Vimeo
and hopefully it is unique and creative. Video
has come to the forefront of Social Media, the
popularity of You Tube is proof of this. Video
enables you to visually communicate with your
target audience in your blog, shared on You
Tube and wherever you audience wants to
view your video on their IPods or mobile
phones, offering you unlimited opportunities to
connect and enthrall your audience
Micro Blogging: Followers and followed develop online Twitter
communities and networks based on interests
and previous friendship and associations. Find
the Micro bloggers interested in your business
and services and begin the conversation and
soon, providing you are offering a meaningful
message you will soon have a following you
can leverage and engage.The immediacy and
portability of micro blogging using online
applications in conjunction with mobile devises
is possibly one of the most powerful Social
Secondary Tools include:
Tool Description Examples
Photo Sharing: Photo Sharing due to its popularity could be Flickr
classified as a primary Social Media tool
however, although they say “A picture is worth
a thousand words” I classified Photo Sharing
as a secondary tool Photo Sharing offers less
interactivity than for example, Blogging, Video
or Social Networks.
Live Casting: Live Casting is both Internet Radio and TV. Justin.tv
Create your own online Radio or TV show on BlogTalk
the topic of your choosing. Creativity,
controversy and informative broadcasts on the
Internet have the ability to develop a large
following for you and your business.
Virtual Worlds: One principle of Social Media and Social Second Life
Networking is a business should active in the
same space as the consumer. With the
popularity of virtual worlds (Linden Labs
Estimated Second Life Population 7.5 Million)
computer generated virtual world have the
potential to connect with consumers and
Gaming: Online Gaming has developed numerous
global communities where gamers compete
and interact in games. In many ways Gaming
is a virtual world with the competitive edge.
Social Book Marks / Social Book marking sites in conjunction with Digg, Delicious and Reddit
Aggregators: Aggregating sites such as offer different Technocrati, Netvibes and Google
methods to accumulate information for easy Reader
retrieval and later use. From book marking a
web site, to following news topics which are
important to your business, to automatic RSS
feeds of information from numerous web
spaces Social Book marking and Aggregation
tools will assist you to keep abreast of what’s
happening online and share and access this
information with ease.
These tools often offer an insight to trends and
the opinions of the general public on an
endless variety to topics, services and
Rich Site Summary (RSS): Managing and keeping up to date with the web Google Reader
content that is important to you is not always
easy when content is delivered by numerous
sources.RSS enables the subscription of
content from Blogs, news sites and a variety of
web sites which update their content regularly
and have the content delivered to your RSS
reader or integrated into web pages. RSS is
also a valuable Social Media Tool to enable
your company to broadcast updated content to
web site visitors and subscribers.
Communication: Communication tools are not new to Social Skype
Media, instant chat from MSN, Yahoo and Ichat
AOL have been around for years. However,
new Social Media Tools are constantly GoToMeeting
developed which assist with communication
and collaboration business to business and
business to consumer. A couple of my
preferred Social Media Communication
Skype enables users to have video calls,
conference calls all free when computer to
computer and access any land line or mobile
phone for extremely competitive rates.
Go To Meetings is becoming an increasingly
effective and popular Social Media Tool for
providing Webinars, sales presentation and
empowering business to collaborate online
reducing travel costs significantly.
This is by no means a complete list but rather the tools that you should be familiar with to begin!
LEVEL THREE: How do I use the Tools?
Understanding how to use the tools and their functionality is the first step to utilizing them to their
fullest potential. Below are some helpful links to get you started (and dig deeper) on the three
major Social Networking sites.
The Twitter Guide Book is a one-stop shop for getting up to speed with everything Twitter. The
Twitter Guide Book will be cultivated, maintained and updated to bring the latest tips and tricks as
Twitter evolves. http://www.twitter.mashable.com
Here are a few resources to help you set up an account and get started:
http://www.butterscotch.com/tutorial/How-To-Sign-Up-For-A-Facebook-Profile - 10 part tutorial on
how to set up your Facebook account
http://www.facebook.com/help - The official help area on Facebook
http://blog.facebook.com/ - Official Facebook blog that has up to date info on features
LinkedIn provides an official learning center to help you set up your account and learn about
LEVEL FOUR: How to Sell Social Media Internally
(from Interactive Insights group. Find it online at http://tinyurl.com/92ocoy)
Trying to make the case to someone on the benefits of using social media? Maybe a boss or a
client or a co-worker who’s a little resistant? Maybe a lot resistant?
Here’s an arsenal of articles with solid advice, data, and tips to help you think through your sales
strategy and put together some convincing arguments:
* Get On the Right Side of the Fence
From Chris Brogan: Stellar advice and suggestions for explaining the benefits of social media
to your senior leadership. You can also view a free webinar from Chris and Hubspot ”How to
Demonstrate the Value of Social Media to Your Boss”
* 8 Tips for Selling Social Marketing to CFOs
From Decker marketing: At some point, you’ll probably have to sell social media to your
finance department. Culled from answers to a question posted on LinkedIn, this article provides 8
tips for justifying social media marketing programs to your finance people. From being prepared
to provide hard numbers (e.g. ROI) to emphasizing the low capital expenditure of social media
programs — this article provides helpful tips.
* Selling Social Media “Up” to Management
From Pistachio: Advice on how to convince your management that social media can provide
value to your organization. One piece of advice: Step off your enthusiasm about how “cool” all
this stuff is and cut straight to the value. Also reviews five likely objections (budget, audience size,
loss of control, priorities and uncertainty) and ways you can address them.
* How To Champion Social Media At Work
From Social Media Explorer: If it seems the people you work with think using Twitter or
Facebook is simply “playing” here are 6 steps to becoming a social media champion at work –
from making sure you operate within your companies rules to targeting the right co-workers to
help you in your efforts.
* Twelve Ways to Sell Social Media to Your Boss | chrisbrogan.com
From Chris Brogan: 12 ideas to help you convince your boss that social media has value for
your business from pointing out that social media can help with customer retention to showing
that social media can help your business differentiate itself & establish thought leadership in your
* Ten Common Objections to Social Media Adoption and How You Can Respond -
From Read Write Web: An excellent article that list each of the top 10 common objections to
new online tools and provides advice on what you can say in response to each of them. From I
suffer from information load already to I don’t have the time to contribute and moderate.
* The Importance of Social Media Marketing: Why You Should Learn and Master it
From DoshDosh: Discussion of the benefits that social media marketing can provide to your
business. This definitely will help you craft a persuasive pitch.
* Top 10 Reasons Brands should Listen to Social Media
From Power Shift - Social Media Blog: There are a multitude of reasons for paying attention to
what’s being said in social media. This article lists the top ten which include uncovering
complaints so you can remedy them and identifying customers who praise your products so you
can use these as testimonials.
* 5 Ways to Sell Social Media to Your Boss
From Read Write Web: Suggestions on ways other companies have used social media tools
that you can use to sell social media to your boss. One way other marketers have benefited from
social media: Social media gives marketers the chance to give quick feedback and break down
* 9 Reasons You Need Social Media Marketing in 2009
From Stuntdubl: Offers up advice on how to pitch social media marketing internally in 6 easy
steps along with 9 reasons you NEED social media marketing in 2009. One key reason: No
matter how non-technical your customers are - social media impacts their consumption decisions.
* 21 Ways to Share the Social Media Love
From Altitude Branding: The first step in convincing someone about social media is making
sure they understand it. This article reviews 21 things to do share what you know about social
media with others — business or individual. If you want to increase your own confidence in social
media try our post 100+ Resources to Boost Your Social Media Savvy.
* Overcoming corporate resistance to social media
From Social Media: Links to 4 good articles with advice on dealing with specific excuses you
may encounter for not using social media such as no corporate budget for social media, no one to
monitor the social media, not being able to control social media, etc.
* Secret Guide to Social Media in Large Organizations
From Colin Mckay of Canuckflack: A handy little guide for exploring the world of social media
and building support for social media in a large organization. Presents a range of guerrilla tactics
from operating as a cell to marshalling external support to sneaking social media over the fence.
* When The Boss Fears Social Media
From Brazen Careerist: Advice on what to do if you have a boss that doesn’t get the whole
social media thing or has concerns ranging from fear of the unknown to discomfort with
customers being a too candid to hesitancy about something whose ROI can’t be easily measured.
* How to Sell the Value of Social Media To Your Boss
From Influential Marketing Blog: To help you convince the people you need to convince to do
more with social media, here are the five core arguments you’ll need to make, as well as a
method for how to back up each with examples. One such argument- demonstrate that people
are talking about your company or your industry by noting the number of blogs or conversations
listed and having those numbers ready to share.
* How to sell social media to your boss
From eBizz by Chris Salazar: More ideas on things you’ll want to do if you have a boss who
can’t yet see or appreciate the potential value of social media. One idea: illustrating how your
company can benefit from the “human” contact that social media facilitates.
* How to Get Your Organization to Stop Worrying and Love the Blog
From Social Media @ Work: A rundown on some of the objections you might encounter within
your organization and how to deal with them head on. One possible objection: Won’t this take
our employees away from more important work?
* How to Measure your Social Media Program
From Web Strategy by Jeremiah: Excellent discussion of how to measure the success of your
social media program and how to use these metrics to sell the value of social media to others.
* 20 Reasons Why You Cannot Ignore Social Media
From Kyle Lacy: Culled from the Wave.3 Presentation from Universal McCann, key facts
relating to the power of social media that you can use to demonstrate it’s importance to others.
* Social Media Will Change Your Business
From Business Week: Discussion of why businesses need to be involved in social media.
Their bottom line advice: catch up….or catch you later.
* Making a Case for Social Media Marketing
From Wild Apricot Blog: Advice for non-profits but helpful for anyone looking for reasons their
organization should get into social media marketiing - discusses what is this thing called “social
media” and why should your organization get into it. Also includes a link to a helpful resource - an
ROI calculator for social networking campaigns from Frogloop to help stimulate thinking about
how to measure the success of social media programs.
* Data: What are the Benefits of Social Media Marketing?
From Mashable: Looking to make the case for why your organization or clients should be
using social media marketing? A recent survey outlines the benefits that marketing executives
cite as reasons to embrace the medium.
* Social Media ROI—What’s the ‘Return on Ignoring’? : MarketingProfs Articles
From MarketingProfs: Different take on ROI for social media, providing perspective on what is
the Return on Ignoring social media.
* The Limitations of Social Media From Logtrenpreneur: Social media sites can be a
tremendous source of exposure and they’ll help you to build links and indirectly search engine
traffic, but the visitors you will get from social media marketing will have some limitations that
you’ll need to be prepared for when you put your case together.
* Why does your boss hate social media?
From Tangyslice: Some reasons your boss may resist your social media pitch.
* How to Find Statistics on Social Media
From Mashable: Great article by Aaron Uhrmacher discussing how to find and use statistics
on social media to convey the value of corporate social media participation.
* Video- How Do I Explain to My Boss the Value of Social Media
During the keynote presentation kicking off the Inbound Marketing Summit - David Meerman
Scott - author of New Rules of Marketing & PR was asked the ultimate question during the Q&A
session - How do I explain to my boss the value to letting go of control and engaging my
customers in a more intimate and public forum?
* Consumers Want Businesses on Social Networks
From Marketing Pilgrim: Discussion of the 2008 Cone Business in Social Media Study
showing that most consumers think businesses should interact with consumers, Good statistics
for your arsenal.
* The Top Ten Reasons for Building an Online Community in 2009
From Vovici: If you don’t currently have an online community, and you are not thinking of
building an online community next year, you should be- this articles lists 10 reasons why you be.
One reason: an opportunity to generate tons of new ideas as Starbucks and Dell have done with
their efforts in social media.
* Online Communities and Their Impact on Business: Ignore at Your Own Peril
From Rubicon Consulting: Review of research done by the firm that provides data supporting
the value of online community to businesses. A PDF of the report is available for download.
* 20 Reasons Small Businesses should be Using Social Media
From Blissfully Domestic: List of benefits for a business in using social media - mainly
targeted at women who are small business owners but useful ideas for others as well.
Establishing yourself as an expert, increasing linkability, and expanded global reach are just a
* How to Measure Social Media ROI for Business
From Mashable: Understanding how to think through ROI issues will be critical if you want to
sell social media. This article will help you get a handle on options for measuring social media
ROI - both qualitatively and quantitately.
* A Framework For Measuring Social Media
From Peter Kim, a nice framework for measuring social media success that you can use to
help to shape your ROI arguments. Peter discusses four common factors that can quantify social
media success: Attention, Participation, Authority, and Influence.
LEVEL FIVE: Is my business ready for Social Media?
The Social Media SWOT Analysis
Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats
The SWOT analysis has been used extensively in business to obtain an overview of the critical
businesses issues. A SWOT analysis is simply a series of questions asked about your business
to assist in determining the business’s Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. You
can be assured all these aspects are present for your business in the Social Media realm.
It only makes sense to use SWOT analysis within the Social Media realm to determine the
strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats that business has or will encounter upon
initiation of a Social Media program. Without a SWOT analysis it will be impossible to develop an
effective Social Media Marketing Strategic Plan, develop company guidelines and effectively
initiate the Social Media Program.
To leverage the power of Social Media businesses must understand:
• Strengths the company can utilize.
• Discover weaknesses to enable the development of solutions, thus changing weaknesses
• Identify opportunities to improve business performance and competitiveness.
• Identify threats to develop effective responses to alleviate the business dangers.
To determine the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats your business faces
with regards to the implementation and deployment of a Social Media program the
following questions are a starting point to what should be asked about your company’s
1. Is your company and its employees, familiar with the Social Media tools available and
understand how to use the tools to the company’s advantage.
2. Do you currently have employees / business owners who use Social Media for personal
use and understand Internet Social Media interactions?
• Is there currently any business use of Social Media?
• How steep will your learning curve be?
3. Does your company have the creative people required to develop meaningful high quality
content and communication on a regular basis?
• Are copy writers and public relations experts required?
4. Does your business understand the keywords customers and prospects use to find your
Social Media content?
5. Does your business have strong change management skills?
• Will external change management consultants be required?
• Are staff and management adaptable and prepared to accept change?
6. Do you have a happy satisfied work force that your company feels comfortable allowing
employee / customer interaction using Social Media tools?
• Are you confident a positive message will be broadcast by company representatives?
7. Does your company have a disgruntled work force which could cause detrimental
company messages being broadcast to consumers via Social Media?
• What can be done to alleviate this issue?
8. Does the company feel comfortable with empowering company employees to interact
with customers using Social Media?
9. How do you perceive you customers and potential customer’s familiarity and comfort
zone with new technology?
10. Are your customers currently using and adapting to the various Social Media Tools and
• Which networks, which tools?
11. Are you customers using Social Media for personal or business reasons?
12. How do you currently communicate with your customers?
• How will this communication change with Social Media?
• How will you manage the change?
• How will the effectiveness of both current and changed communication methods be
13. Is it necessary to educate your customers on your product and services?
• How do you currently educate your customers?
• Is the information your customers require easy to understand and obtain?
• Do your customers have easy access to company representatives who possess the
14. Have you identified and evaluated the efforts if any of your competitor’s Social Media
• What Social Networks are you competitors active in?
• What Social Media Tools are your competitors using?
• What is the consumers reaction to competitors Social Media initiatives?
This by no means a comprehensive list of questions which need to be answered to complete a
SWOT for your business’s Social Media program however, it is an indication of the types of
questions you should be considering about your business’s capability to thrive in a Social Media
Credit: Pete Hollier and to www.seowizardry.ca
LEVEL SIX: Social Media Strategy
Use & Measurement
Some of the best known brands are successfully using Social Media in
meaningful ways to reach their customers. Here’s what we’ve found…
Blendtec is famous for its bevy of inexpensive “Will It Blend” videos posted on YouTube
(YouTube) and shared by millions.
Adobe maintains a list of interesting company related websites and conversations on the
social bookmarking site Delicious (Delicious).
Best Western sponsors a blog, “On the Go with Amy,” where the author travels the
country writing about her experiences.
Cisco hosts 12 blogs addressing a variety of audiences for their global business.
Coca-Cola Conversations is a blog written by company historian Phil Mooney that
focuses on Coke collectibles.
Dell leverages a variety of social media platforms for customer engagement, including an
island in the virtual world of Second Life.
Ford publishes news releases with lots of multimedia content and employs a social
media news release format to display them in their newsroom.
Fujifilm recently launched a social network to build a community of photo enthusiasts
around its newest camera.
GM uses blogs to communicate directly with its customers around topics ranging from
design to green tech.
H&R Block created a Facebook fan site to aggregate its social media activities, engage
customers and offer tax advice/resources.
HP used Twitter to power a scavenger hunt at a recent conference.
HSBC built the HSBC Business Network to connect entrepreneurs using blogs, videos
IBM was the first large enterprise to embrace employee blogging and now boasts
thousands of blogs related to every facet of its business.
Intel has also developed many social media touch points with its software communities,
which includes blogs, Twitter and virtual worlds.
Intuit sponsors the Tax Almanac wiki, where anyone can find and contribute to this
resource for tax information.
Jeep connects with customers via a community page with links to photos on Flickr, the
company’s MySpace and Facebook pages and a list enthusiast groups.
Johnson & Johnson uses this blog to show another side of the company, with frequent
video posts and interviews.
Lenovo launched “Voices of the Olympics Games” to aggregate posts from the athletes
competing in Beijing.
Marriott CEO Bill Marriott posts regular updates and stories from his travels to Marriott
properties around the world to fuel the content for this entertaining blog.
McDonalds maintains a blog to highlight the company’s corporate social responsibility
National Geographic uses Google’s new virtual world, Lively, to bring people together
around its new show, LA Hard Hats.
New York Times is beta testing a Firefox add-on that allows users to share and
comment on stories through a decentralized social network.
Nike started a social community on Loopd to connect athletes interested in surfing,
BMX bike racing and similar activities with the brand.
Sears partnered with MTV to create a social network around Back to School shopping.
Southwest Airlines employees share their stories and communicate directly with
customers through the “Nuts About Southwest” blog.
Sun CEO Jonathan Schwartz’s blog is the example most often cited for what the CEO
blog can be.
Starbucks started MyStarbucksIdea so that customers can submit ideas for the company
which are then voted on by other users, the best of which will be implemented by the
Toyota started its own virtual world to promote its products in Japan.
Visa launched The Visa Business Network application on Facebook to connect small
business users and to help them promote their businesses to a larger community.
Measuring Impact of Social Media Activities
Social media measurement is one of those topics about which everyone has an opinion, but
nobody agrees on the solution. The question about how to measure the return on investment
(ROI) for social media participation comes up in every workshop I deliver, as definitive, statistic-
based metrics seem to be the primary way communicators feel they can secure approval and
budget for these programs from their management teams.
If you’re waiting for someone to provide that magic bean, then put away your watering can. It ain’t
gonna happen. That’s one of the reasons why I tend to think that social media (by which I mean
actual conversations and relationship building exercises, not widgets and Facebook (Facebook)
fliers) is more aligned with the goals of a PR program than it is with marketing.
In the absence of any accepted metrics, businesses still need to be able to determine whether or
not a social media program is moving the needle, moving product or otherwise making an impact.
This largely depends on the company’s social media objectives. Because these dramatically differ
based on the organization, it’s impossible to agree upon standards. That doesn’t mean we can’t
measure ROI at the company level, though.
With that in mind, here are a few ways to consider measuring social media ROI for your business:
First, determine what you want to measure, whether it’s corporate reputation,
conversations or customer relationships. These objectives require a more qualitative
measurement approach, so let’s start by asking some questions. For example, if the objective is
measure ROI for conversations, we start by benchmarking ourselves with questions like:
- Are we currently part of conversations about our product/industry?
- How are we currently talked about versus our competitors?
- Then to measure success, we ask whether we were able to:
- Build better relationships with our key audiences?
- Participate in conversations where we hadn’t previously had a voice?
- Move from a running monologue to a meaningful dialogue with customers?
There are companies that offer services to assist with this kind of measurement, which requires a
great deal of human analysis on top of the automated results to appropriately assess the tonality
and brand positioning across various social media platforms.
If the goal is to measure traffic, sales or SEO ranking, we can take a more quantitative approach.
There are some free tools that can help with this type of measurement, including:
AideRSS allows you to enter a feed URL and returns statistics about its posts, including
which are the most popular based on how many times they are shared on a variety of
social networking sites (Google (Google), Digg (Digg), Del.icio.us).
Google Analytics and Feedburner are essential, free tools to help analyze your
company’s blog traffic, subscriber count, keyword optimization and additional trends.
Xinu is a handy website where you can type in a URL and receive a load of useful
statistics ranging from search engine optimization (SEO) to social bookmarking and
In addition, you might look at how many people join your social network (or become your
connection) in a given period of time, how much activity there is in your forum or what the click-
through rate is to your product pages from any of these platforms that result in direct sales.
The key takeaway, regardless of how your company chooses to measure engagement, is that
you have a success metric in mind before you begin. Without some sort of benchmark, it’s
impossible to determine your ROI.
[Aaron Uhrmacher is a social media consultant. In addition to his posts on Mashable, he blogs at DISRUPTology.]
LEVEL SEVEN: Best Practices
The Seven Deadly Sins of Social Media & The Five Second Challenge
Seven Deadly Sins
There are a million ways for businesses to use social
media well, and only a handful of ways to do it horribly
wrong. So why do companies keep falling into the same
The answer is easy: human nature. And as we all know,
humans are constantly beset by malicious temptations.
So as a public service, I've decided to break down the
Seven Deadly Sins that make social media go sour.
1. Lust: Loving your customers is great, but take it slow. In the ribald days of 2006, a
business would sign up on MySpace and then start “friending” everyone with a pulse.
These days, lusting after fans like that will get you labeled as desperate — or even as a
spammer. So keep it in your pants and truly get to know the first people who connect with
your brand. In return, they might just love you for life.
2. Gluttony: Don’t bite off more than you can chew. Once companies decide to take a
seat at the social media table, they often dig in with gusto. The downside: They want to
be everywhere at once, spreading themselves across the Web instead of being strategic
and focused. You don’t need accounts on all social networks — just the right ones.
3. Greed: It’s hard to shake hands while you’re reaching for someone’s wallet. We’d
all like to make money through social media, and if your business is strong, it’ll happen.
But if all you do on your Twitter feed or Facebook page is spout off sales messages, no
one’s going to stick around. Be yourself. Be helpful. Be a good listener. Then the money
will come to you.
4. Sloth: Always avoid the temptation to “set it and forget it.” Starting a blog or creating
a presence on a social network? That’s easy. Keeping it alive and growing? That takes
commitment, adaptability and good-old effort. You would never open a storefront, then
close shop two weeks later because of low turnout. Go for the long term, and plan
5. Wrath: There are a lot of people out there itching for a punch in the nose, but
you’re not the one to give it to them. Once you’re active online, you’re bound to get a
few critics. Some will offer valuable feedback. Some will shout obscenities. You won’t
have a hard time telling the difference, so focus on the ones who deserve a response.
And no matter what, never lash out. Your scathing “private” e-mail will probably end up
on 100 blogs before breakfast, and the Internet has a long (if not infinite) memory.
6. Envy: Don’t be dissuaded by other people “doing it better than you.” Someone will
always have more followers, more blog comments, more write-ups in Wired. Focus on
who you are and what your business has to offer, not on what the other guy is doing. And
when you must steal an idea (because hey, it happens), find a way to make it so much
bigger and better, no one can even recognize the original.
7. Pride: Stay humble, rock star. Successful social media really is easier than you’d
think. If you plan ahead, pace yourself and listen more than you talk, you’ll strike a chord
with existing customers and potential fans alike. It will open new opportunities and
enhance your brand in ways you never imagined. But don’t let it go to your head. There’s
always more work to do.
The Five-second Challenge
Here's how it works: Next time you're about to post a Facebook status, Twitter update or blog
comment, pause for five seconds. At worst, it might help you think of a better way to phrase
things. At best, it might stop you from writing something that could have unintended
consequences — like identity theft, hurt feelings, embarrassment or burglary.
A few things you might ask yourself in that five seconds:
• Why am I writing this?
• Am I giving away private info about myself or my family?
• Would I ever say this to a stranger on the street?
• Am I revealing my travel plans or otherwise showing when I'm not home?
• Am I just bragging to impress people?
• How will I feel if my boss sees this?
• What about a client?
• This will live on the Web forever. Am I cool with that?
• Am I adding to the sum of human knowledge?
• Does anyone really give a crap?
OK, so I doubt you'll have time to tackle all that. But you get the idea.
I've tried my best to do this since that talk with Alan months ago. And you know what? I've
probably deleted a fourth of the updates I've started to write. Oh, I doubt they would have done
any damage. But they also wouldn't have had any benefit to anyone whatsoever.
So take the Five-Second Challenge and let me know how it goes.
The goal isn't to make you paranoid or to suck all the fun out of social media. But if it makes you
a little more cautious and insightful, then I'd say it's five seconds well spent.
Credit: The Social Path by David Griner