10 Steps to Social Media Success: A Guide for Sage Partners


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Your mother is on Facebook, your business associates are on LinkedIn, and now everyone is telling you that all this has something to do with marketing, too.

This guide cuts through the fluff and gives you 10 concrete things that will help you come to grips with what social media means for your business and develop a plan of action.

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10 Steps to Social Media Success: A Guide for Sage Partners

  1. 1. 10 Steps to Social Media Success: A Guide for Sage Partners www.hallme.com/sage
  2. 2. No doubt about it, social media is all the rage. Your mother is on Facebook, your business associates are on LinkedIn, and now everyone is telling you that all this has something to do with marketing, too. This guide cuts through the fluff and gives you 10 concrete things that will help you come to grips with what social media means for your business and develop a plan of action. There's a lot more to learn, and we'll leave you with a list of great resources for continuing your education. Who are we? We'd go into detail, but chances are you don't care, yet -- you want information, first. We'll talk about ourselves later, if you're still listening. www.hallme.com/sage
  3. 3. 1 Rethink Your Marketing Strategy The first step in making social media work for your business is to change the way you think about marketing from an "outbound" marketing approach, to an "inbound" marketing approach. What's the difference? With outbound marketing, you're advertising on media that interrupts your prospect - commercials in a TV program or radio show, making unsolicited sales calls or sending unsolicited mail. Inbound Marketing, in contrast, focuses on making sure you are found when your potential clients or customers are looking for answers or more information. The tools of inbound marketing are many - blogs, social networks, online video, podcasts, and even SEO can be considered "inbound." Inbound marketing means making your marketing an interaction, not an interruption. An Interruption An Interaction www.hallme.com/sage
  4. 4. 2 Set objectives Before you can be effective in social media, you need to know what you want and what you're willing to invest - be it money, time, or both. Here are some questions we recommend every Business Partner ask themselves. Write down the answers. Take a hard look at what you want and what you'll realistically do. Then you start the process of hashing out specifics. • Where are you now? • What do you want to achieve? And by when? • How does this fit in with your business? • Who is your audience and what do they want to hear? • What are you going to measure? • What measurement tools are you going to use? • Who is going to do this, and how much time do you want them to spend? • How will social media affect company policies? www.hallme.com/sage
  5. 5. 3 Choose Your Tools Once you have an idea what you want, you can pick out what tools are likely to help you get there. Here are the major choices: • Blog - A blog gives your company its own voice, allows you to establish yourself as an authority, helps with SEO, and gives people the ability to subscribe to your content • Facebook- Facebook is a popular social network geared more towards connections with friends and family than among businesses. However, "Groups" and "Pages" allow your company to make a presence. • LinkedIn - LinkedIn is by far the most popular B2B social network. Every business should have a presence on LinkedIn - how much you participate will depend on your businesses' goals. • Twitter - Twitter lets you post updates of 140 words. It requires active monitoring, but is an influential site that people rely on to gain information. • Email Newsletter - Email isn't social media, but it is inbound marketing. By creating a quality newsletter with content in it that prospects and customers want to read, you nurture relationships and create shareable content. www.hallme.com/sage
  6. 6. 4 Take the Leap For many business owners, social media is like pole vaulting - either you get gracefully over the pole on a safe mat, or your face is ground into the dirt and your pride is 8 feet behind you. But you know what? For the most part, people land on the mat. The top thing businesses fear about social media is not knowing what to write, blog, post or share. You can strategize all you want, but the end result isn’t a carefully crafted plan, it’s content - actual content that people are looking to learn from, share and use to make their next purchasing decision. People care about themselves, their needs, their questions, their problems. What questions do people always ask you? What are their key pain points? Talk about that. Talk about what your customers need, in the language they use, and in the community they participate in. The content you produce isn’t about what you are ready to talk about – it is about what your customers are ready to hear from you. From our small knowledge of pole vaulting one thing is for sure – if you don’t fully commit to you getting your butt over that pole you are going to crash on the floor. Let’s apply that to social media marketing as well. Your level of commitment is going to affect your success. So are you going to make it over the pole? Or will you just sit on the mat and not even try? www.hallme.com/sage
  7. 7. 5 Find Your Voice Developing a voice is an important, if challenging, aspect of creating content for your business in the social media realm. Voice is not just how one blog post reads, but the overall personality of your company that becomes evident throughout the cumulative efforts of your branding, blog posts, email newsletters, and social media efforts. Are you warm and bubbly? Serious and corporate? Off-beat, or clean cut? Your voice tells all of this to your prospective customer. Even the most serious company has a personality. Even within a network of resellers with the exact same products, you have a unique selling and service style that differentiates you from competitors. Not every reseller is the best match for every customer. You have an ideal customer, and your voice should appeal to them better than to anyone else. Consider the role of staff members in defining this voice. Will the "voice" of your company be the principal? Or will it be a diverse group of staff members, each with their own unique writing style, but overall consistent with the voice of your company? www.hallme.com/sage
  8. 8. 6 Make Time to Work "On" the Business ARGGHHH! I'm busy! How can I do all this?!?! Well... we are all busy. You need to find a way to work your inbound marketing initiatives into your regular work flow. None of this will happen effortlessly, but if you define a routine you might find it easier to keep up with your social media efforts. • Check your social media site(s) of choice at three specific times a day. • Leave your office and set-up your laptop at a local free WiFi spot and write your blog. • Set up Google Alerts for keywords related to your business, and sign up for notifications of updates from the social networks. • Google Reader – Subscribe to RSS feeds to your Google account and read them as a single thread, instead of visiting individual sites. • Use applications like Tweetdeck, Hootsuite, Splittweet, Tweetlater to organize your Twitter content by subjects, search terms or people you like to hear from the most. Just don’t forget to check for replies, retweets and other activity. What if I get 1,000 emails, Tweet, Facebook or LinkedIn emails a day. How will I keep up? A wise man tackled this question at a seminar we were both presenting at. His answer? "That would be amazing – but it is probably never going to happen." Why let the worry of having too much success stop you from even starting? www.hallme.com/sage
  9. 9. 7 Get Your Company on LinkedIn You probably already have employees on LinkedIn, but is your company there? One of the features LinkedIn recently added is for your company to have its own page. This allows all of your employees to link up to a consistent page and for people to find your company in search. The profile of your company should reflect the most professional side of your "voice," and come across as honest, clear, and concrete, and not as a sales pitch. When employees connect to other people on LinkedIn, those contacts may be tempted to review their work history, and currently employer, and can use your company page on LinkedIn as a jumping off point to learning more about what you offer, and if it might be right for them. Make sure to include keywords, specialties, and to tell all of your employees to link up their employment to the new company page! www.hallme.com/sage
  10. 10. 8 Create a Facebook Page for Your Business Facebook allows you to create a "Fan" page or a "Group" page for your business. Fan pages are more interactive and let users comment and post information on your pages wall. That sound scary? A Facebook Group page can be made so that all comments, pictures and videos have to be approved by an administrator first. What is the right choice for you? That is up for your company to decide Here are some best practices for making your business' Fan page: • Include a logo • Include pictures • Include videos • Tell people about it! • Monitor at least once a day • Add new and useful content regularly • Keep it professional • Send your fans facebook email updates (but not too often) www.hallme.com/sage
  11. 11. 9 Don't Settle for a Blank Tweet Twitter is deceptively easy to start. Just go to their website and register and you'll be twittering in minutes. Don't believe us? Go to http://www.twitter.com right now. We'll wait. Okay. Now that you're facing a big empty "Tweet" screen, what do you do? Here's some things to get you started: • Put up images of YOU - this is a social web • Brands can be people, too - is this the voice of an employee or your company as a whole? Make up your mind and be consistent. • Optimize your Twitter profile - Put in a good name and description with weblinks and keywords. Your description will appear in Google. • Add your real location – not “Your computer”, “Planet Earth” etc. • Feel clever? Make a Twitter specific landing page on your website Add quality followers that care about your content (you can start by following http://twitter.com/hall_web) www.hallme.com/sage
  12. 12. 10 Measure, measure, measure ROI is the measurement of the money in and the money out – that’s it. What is the money in? Your time. What is your billable worth per hour? Figure that out and keep track of how much time you spend on your social media efforts. What is the money out? True conversions or sales. The act of someone getting off their duff and handing you some cash for your products and services because of your social media efforts. Focus on the quality of interactions, not the quantity. It's not a matter of how many eyeballs. It's which eyeballs. What can you measure? • Popularity - Number of followers, friends, RSS subscribers, etc. • Hard stats - Google Analytics referrers, time on site, landing page activity • Engagement - Number of retweets, comments, mentions in other media, inbound links Remember, this is about CUSTOMERS, not about you. Are you saying things they value? www.hallme.com/sage
  13. 13. Learn More Whew, that was fast. Hopefully those 10 steps get you started, but there's much more to talk about. We recommend you check out: Blogs • 5 Tips to Take Charge of Your Social Media Strategy • Email is an Important Part of Inbound Marketing • Measuring the ROI of Social Media • Humanizing Your Website • Is Your PPC Campaign For You or Your Users? Webinars • What is Social Media and Why Should I Care? • Measuring and Tracking Your Social Media Efforts • Using Twitter for Business • Using LinkedIn to Market Your Business www.hallme.com/sage
  14. 14. Who We Are Still listening? Great. Hall Web Services is a Preferred Vendor for SEO and Web Design. We help Sage Business Partners grow their businesses using the web. This includes design, SEO, email marketing, blogging, and of course, helping you create and enact a social media strategy. We've been around for 10 years and work with dozens of Sage Partners in all product lines. We would love to work with you, too. Authors of this Guide: Amanda O' Brien Fred Greenhalgh Scott Gaw Andre McKay Inbound Marketing Internet Marketing Sage Partner Web Strategy Email Marketing amanda@hallme.com fred@hallme.com scott@hallme.com andre@hallme.com www.hallme.com/sage