LinkedIn allows members to ask and answer questions of each other through a feature in calls LinkedIn Answers. It’s a great tool to get some advice, or to show off your knowledge by answering questions. I picked a few good social media questions from the past month and decided to answer them here on the blog. You can add your answer in the comment section below.
|Photo Credit: Mario Sundar|
What do you think of forcing yourself to blog for a set number of days?
Asked by Pam Moore, social media consultant in Tampa. See the original question here.
Blogging is not something you do when you feel like it. If you blog for your business, it is a responsibility, not a pastime. Therefore, yes, you should force yourself to blog for a set number of days. “Force yourself to blog” is a harsh term, perhaps, “set a blogging schedule” is is a little better.
If you wonder why you should commit to a blogging schedule, remind yourself of why you launched your business blog. Businesses should start a blog for one of the following purposes:
- Drive traffic to your website
- Build your credibility and authority
- Acquire new customers/clients through the display of your expertise
- Help customers by providing valuable information
If you are blogging for one of the above reasons, and you should be, then you must keep a blogging schedule, especially for reason #1. There is a direct correlation between blogging and web traffic: the more you blog, the more traffic you get.
Do brands need a social media strategy?
Asked by Paul Alex Gray, marketing consultant in Sydney. See the original question here.
The obvious answer is yes. Almost everything in business needs a strategy. As with my answer to the blogging question above, social media marketing for business is not something you do when you feel like it. If you decide to engage in social media for your brand, it becomes a function of your business and you must have a strategy. That strategy is dictated by your brand. Here are my top three practices for developing a social media strategy for your business:
- Define the purpose of your social media marketing. What exactly do you want to accomplish? It may be one of the purposes listed in the blogging answer above, but it could also be to deliver customer service or build customer loyalty.
- Determine the best social media channel to accomplish that purpose: Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Blogging, Linked In, something else? Choose one and get good at that one first. If you have limited manpower, don’t launch a presence in all at the same time. (For help in choosing see: Social Media: What to do for your business.)
- Be relevant and frequent. Your social media activity is an extension of your brand, be your brand on social media. Post frequently to get noticed and seen.
Will Facebook Fan Pages eventually replace websites? What are the advantages/disadvantages of each platform for a business?
Asked by Patrick Hester, marketing professional in Kansas City. See the original question here.
I don’t believe they will and I hope they don’t. Yes, Facebook is huge now, but I remember when AOL was huge and when the fax machine was going to replace the post office. Things change and they will for Facebook eventually, just as websites have changed dramatically over the past 10 years. There are some distinct advantages of each, more so I believe for websites.
- Lots of people all in one place – If you have a Facebook page you are part of a huge community of people who gather together in one central location: Facebook. Once you get a few fans on your page, it’s easier to get more fans on your page because everyone can potentially be connected to everyone else on Facebook.
- Real-time engagement – Respond and reply to customers immediately.
- Facebook is social – Social interactions with customers build customer loyalty.
- You don’t own your Facebook page, Facebook does – If you do something wrong, Facebook can take your page down without warning. Everything you have will be gone and you can’t get it back. I’ve seen it happen.
- Limited platform – There are only so many things you can do with your Facebook page. It’s much harder to manipulate the look and personality of your Facebook page.
- Real-time engagement – With each new status update, the previous status update gets pushed down your timeline. You can use tabs on your page for more permanent content, but fans rarely see those tabs. Bottom line, there is no real permanency on Facebook.
- It’s yours – You control the content. You can put anything you want and as much as you want on your website.
- Flexibility – Make it look like you want it too look. Add a page, subtract a page, add a blog, sell stuff, have a contest. You get the picture.
- Search Engine Traffic – Yes, they say Facebook business pages can be indexed by search engines. Occasionally I do see them show up, more accurately, rarely I see them show up in search engine results. Your company website is much more likely to attract search engine traffic than a Facebook status update.
- It costs money – Not that much, but you do have to buy a domain name and pay for a hosting account.
- It must be built – You either have to build it yourself, or pay someone to build it.
Those are my answers. What about yours?
Don’t miss out on free marketing advice. For updates on new articles: Receive The Marketing Spot by Email or Get The Marketing Spot in a blog reader.