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Category: Social Media Marketing

Social Media, Intimacy, and Creating Community

we-are-worldSocial Media, by nature, is not an intimate space. Considering the level of exposure that can occur online, however, it is realized that it can be a very vulnerable space, particularly if left untended. Our ability to be open and honest, in a way that communicates and connects with people on a more intimate level, the more we can manage how we are perceived by the online audience. Just because it is not an intimate space by nature, does not mean we cannot create a sense of intimacy.

Simple Translation:

Let the personality of the social media manager (or yourself) also engage your audience in personable and human ways – sharing common traits and interests that connect people. This intersperses the marketing messages, bringing the human relationship into the online space you manage, and becomes a more inviting and recognizable space as a community forms.


The caution here is to not overdo the marketing and selling. If all we do is push products and services, our relevance can become stale quickly, as people tire of seeing the same thing repeatedly. If you haven’t time to manage the space and contribute more than what you sell, spread your message out more over time. Don’t flood it repeatedly. This will help it remain fresh when it does appear.

How does your website make you money?

money-magnetThis idea of building a website and seeing orders pour in seems to be a predominant perspective in a lot of businesses. I encounter, at times, a comment that negates the value of a company’s website by saying we have no internet sales. And yet, I wonder how many people phoned because they saw the company website?

Just like the earlier and simpler days of the White Pages and the Yellow Pages, people looked you and others up and made some phone calls. You had another step in the sales process. And an important one: Build rapport and earn the business.

Now you’re probably freaking. As if you haven’t enough to do already. Right?

Business is a first-things-first arena, though. A living, breathing, heart-beating, red-blooded lead that calls you is definitely a first thing. And you, the business owner, are even better served by getting out there and meeting people, making phone calls, and building relationships. If you can have a small showroom store-front to establish a stronger presence, all the better. All these factors will have a greater influence than your website.

So why bother with the website and all this social media marketing stuff? Right?

Simple. Many of the people you will meet and the events you will be attending will have a social media profile. You’re building a network, and in building this network you’re leveraging the power of social media, the internet, and basic internet marketing principles. As you grow in the real world, you will grow in the virtual world too.

In reverse, the same is possible. The risk, however, is deadly if caught into the trap. Many endeavour to launch their web presence and build a following and neglect the face-to-face interactions and marketing events. Ironically, the social media arena opens avenues to attend events locally and still connect. Many do, of course, but as I said opening this paragraph, if caught into the trap it is deadly. Internet connected and real-world isolation… followed by what?

Are there benefits to online marketing, an ecommerce store, etc?

Absolutely! And even more so today. First of all, you need to manage many aspects of your business. As you establish relationships with your customers, you can offer an online ordering system through your website that helps you to automate your business processes, saving you time, making you and your operations more efficient. The sky is the limit when you have some money to throw at the technical requirements.

You’re on a modest budget though, and as a small business, can see the future possibilities but have to deal with today’s realities. I hear you.

The fascinating thing about the internet, and websites in general today, is that they are living breathing entities that continually transform to keep fresh, inviting, current, and relevant. And in the beginning, one can start with a basic few systems and manage many aspects of their business at a modest fee. As you grow and your revenues, you can scale to larger systems to accommodate the business growth. It’s simply a question of where you are on the timeline.

And in the process of doing these many things on a consistent to semi-consistent basis, is an increase of traffic, search engine ranking, and social media presence. It’s all just a question of work and time.

Plant the seeds.

A Typical Day Social Media Promotions

Email Envelope on White backgroundWith coffee in hand I sit at my computer ready to tackle my incoming email and catch up on my social media spaces. Two tabs are open in my browser when it starts; one is Facebook, the other is my Gmail inbox.

Skimming my inbox, I quickly eliminate a host of emails that belong in the garbage and/or are spam. Others are set aside for general reading when time permits.

Having the email sorted and out of the way, I jump over to the Facebook tab in my web browser. No messages in my Facebook inbox, a few comments to reply to, post a good morning status, and I switch to my Fan Pages.

Responsible for multiple fan pages, I quickly jump from one to the other to post updates. Simple and clever posts using popular quotations that inspire, inform, or laugh, as much to topic of the crowd when necessary.

Back to my Gmail inbox, I click Reader in the menu at the top of the page. A new tab opens with my Google Reader. From here I can scan the RSS feeds I am subscribing to and see if there are any new and interesting stories I can use on my fan pages to share with my audience.

In addition, Google Reader has a share button too, which pushes the article I’ve found to my Google Buzz! and Google Profile. And I’ve also got it importing Google Reader shares to my Friendfeed account too, which selectively pushes updates to my Twitter account.

Some days, I will visit YouTube and click Like on videos I’m enjoying, knowing that I’ve set it up to post what I Like to my Facebook profile. Again, a semi-automated way to increase my social media activity to more than one space without having to do double the work.

Managing Your Online Profile

quality-stand-out-crowdIt is quickly becoming conventional wisdom for professionals to realize the importance of establishing and maintaining a robust and communicative online profile. As has become the case with searching for knowledge of all manner and type, most individuals go first to the Internet – and of those, approximately 85%, go to Google to get the information they need. It’s no different for recruiters, hiring managers, potential employers or contractors, and other stakeholders who need to carefully examine the history, qualifications, and relevant attributes of alleged talent with whom there is potential to forge a professional relationship.

Whether we want to or not, our cyber presence is being developed. Even those who deliberately shy away from social media networking may still have a bio posted on their company’s web site or could be listed on an association’s site as having given a talk at a conference. Maybe you or your company have been reviewed on one of many consumer review sites or someone’s cell phone snapped you at a social event which is now on YouTube. To think your name and reputation can or should remain hidden from the web in this day and age is naïve and potentially harmful to your career.

Getting out in front of how your character is to be perceived by the world will give you the advantage of crafting and determining the message and image that accurately and powerfully presents you to those who may offer opportunities, which could result in career enhancement. Although you may not be able to control all of the content about you that gets caught in the web, there are some steps that can be taken that will anchor your message of core professionalism that can optimize ahead of any weak or worse material that may be out there. The target outcome is simple – to have an online profile that displays your value and talent.

The place to start, however, is with a document that may never make it to the Internet and that is your resume. If this is well written it should be economically and succinctly capturing your value proposition with supporting competencies, achievements, skills both hard and soft, education and training, and any other information highlighting your qualifications. With this foundation in place the professional is ready to communicate a self-appraisal with a variety of online means. Here are four recommended ways in order to accomplish this:

1. LinkedIn – With 85+ million users and growing this is the strongest place to establish your presence. The profile components are designed to give you a well rounded professional look and it is easily updateable. You control the message entirely and it should mirror the value as described in your resume. There is the added advantage of linking to a wide network of colleagues, associates, and groups that increase your exposure and intellectual capital.

2. Twitter – This microblogging service is a great way to build your reputation through sharing relatively frequent commentary on industry insights and promotion of web-based content. It’s simple to use and once you learn about the # and @ communities you can target your messages to people who care about what you have to offer.

3. Your Own Web Site – Controlling your image in a positive and creative way can be done by having your own site designed by yourself or by one of the gazillion boutique webmasters that are around. Here you can write a profile; add pictures; link to other relevant sites or blogs; post a video of yourself talking about what you do, which can be recorded using your webcam or by a friend with a digital camera; include an audio podcast, and post your own blog.

4. Blogging – A wonderful self-promotion technique is to share your professional expertise. Doing so projects knowledge, experience, confidence, and legitimacy. Including your blog as part of your web site by using a sophisticated blogging tool such as WordPress eases the process. Blogging takes commitment, though. Keep posts often and current to get the most impact.

Taking these four steps will position you well for managing your online profile. Remember that your value proposition is the theme that ties all of these tactics together. Be consistent in communicating what great things you offer and be prepared for the career benefits this effort will yield.

William W. Ryan is a Concord, New Hampshire based career consultant specializing in customized career coaching, resume and cover letter writing, and personality assessments.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Bill_Ryan

Are You an Ethical Social Networker?

we-are-worldToday as I logged into my Facebook account, I was disturbed to see that a “friend” had sent me a direct message on my wall promoting his opportunity, one that I am familiar with. I voiced my objections privately and removed this person as a friend. He did not see my point of view, and felt he had done nothing wrong. He shared a quote with me that summed up his philosophy regarding business: It went something like You can be right, I’ll be rich.

What does that say about the way some people market? This says to me that it doesn’t matter what tactics you use, as long as you make a sale. That it’s not at all about building relationships but about the bottom line. We all have a choice to make when we market online. Social marketing sites are a great way to promote your business, but the most effective way to use these sites is through relationship building.

If you use social networking sites for marketing, how you use this platform can affect your bottom line. Think of your wall as your online home. When people come to your home, are they getting to know, like and trust you or are you simply bombarding your guests with self promotion? People want to get a sense of who they are doing business with, and if there is nothing on your wall but ads for products and services that benefit you financially, most people will be turned off and either remove you from their news feed or unfriend you. You need to give your prospects a sense of why they would want to work with you; what is the benefit to them to do business with you?

A few tips for ethical social marketing:

Don’t try to sell something in every post you make. Make posts that let your audience get a sense of who you are, what interests you etc.

Share good content, even if it doesn’t directly benefit you. Examples are links to articles, an interesting video, an inspirational quote.

Give something useful away like an ebook or a free report. Make posts that encourage interaction with your friends.

Post relevant comments on your friends walls.

Don’t spam your friends’ walls. Sharing information with your friends is great, but be considerate of their space. Posting your links on a friend’s walls without their permission is disrespectful. Put yourself in their shoes; how would you feel if your friends posted their offers all over your site without your permission?

Successful marketing is not just about making money, it’s also about changing other peoples lives for the better. People will follow those who help others succeed.

Deb Lane has been marketing online since 1998, and been a small business owner since 1993.

Among other duties, Deb handles the office/financial functions for Marketers Edge, the business she co-owns with her business partner, Stephanie Remers. Marketers Edge specializes in providing online marketing tools for both online and offline businesses, as well as help for those seeking to work from home.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Deb_Lane

Your Social Media Checklist for 2011

social-media-marketingIf you haven’t already, now is a critical time to get your social media (SM) checklist going, reviewed and implemented to make your 2011 a successful networking year.

So many things change in such a short amount of time, so it’s hard to keep up with everything. However, if you want your business to be successful, there are certain areas within SM that you should take note of. Sometimes, not everyone will have time or understand all these areas, therefore, many people will need a social media virtual assistant to help.

Here is a detailed SM check-list of things you or your virtual assistant should cover:

Marketing Overview:

• Create and carry out a plan to syndicate your articles
• Create and implement a plan for all marketing strategies and campaigns
• Run split tests on all of your marketing campaigns and view results

Your Blog:

• Make a plan that allows you to consistently post updated or new content
• Keep your blog up-to-date with all new plugins and upgrades
• Always be sure to submit your blog to RSS feeds
• Focus on creating a strategy for keyword placement, tagging and categorizing
• Be sure to connect your blog with all your social media platforms so updates are relayed in real-time


• If you’re using a custom background (which hopefully you are) make sure it’s professional and compelling
• Follow up on your past objectives and goals for Twitter to see if they need to change, and ensure you are achieving your original purpose
• Create or update your plans to get more followers
• Examine how often you “tweet,” and if you need to do less or more. Also examine what tweets received feedback and which do not, then construct a new plan for 2011


• Make your personal profile strong, unique and professional
• Create a Fan Page or update your current fan page with many of the special features that Facebook offers such as a welcome page and FBML tabs
• Examine your objectives and goals for Facebook and update it, examine why you are on Facebook and what you can do better
• Create a plan to get more Fans on Facebook
• Be sure to add your Facebook Badge to all your sites i.e. blog, website, etc.
• Create or update your Facebook plan to engage past, current and potential clients
• Create a plan to keep your Facebook page up-to-date and consistent with updates


• Be sure you’ve created a professional profile and that it is completely filled out with appropriate information
• Ask for endorsements
• Create a plan and start it by being a Q&A expert role
• Make sure your LinkedIn account is connected to your other social media accounts

Other Social Media Accounts:

• Stay updated with the new sites developing to make sure you are where your clients are
• In finding new sites to participate in, set up a plan and times to update and create those accounts
• If you haven’t before, create a video campaign plan with YouTube on your social media accounts

This list is by far not the total amount of work needed to actively keep up with the numerous platforms out there. However, it’s a really great start if you’re new to this arena. Furthermore, if you are new to or have experienced social media and its many benefits, this list will certainly help you to make 2011 a far more successful year than before. In any case, these platforms can take up a lot of time, as you can see, so hiring a social media virtual assistant may help you to clear up some of these tasks.

Dawn Pigoni
Social Media Virtual Assistant
The Social Media Marketing world is important to online businesses and I bring value to other companies by offering social media marketing assistance to those small companies that don’t have the time, knowledge or manpower to keep up with social media marketing.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Dawn_Pigoni

Social Media Marketing in the World of Orthodontics

orthodontist1It seems like the rules and trends for marketing in orthodontics changed overnight. In 2009, orthodontists were first exposed to the “new” marketing paradigm of social media engagement by way of Facebook and Twitter, the orthodontic journals abuzz with “how to’s,” “who’s who,” and “what’s what” articles showing up monthly. Orthodontists charged headlong into the world of social media with less of a blueprint for marketing success and more of a “let’s get there first” approach only to find themselves in 2010 asking, “What now and how do I measure ROI?”.

Most orthodontic practices charged into the revolution without any ammunition and no clear objective, so it would seem obvious to question the social media engagement a year in. Many decided to delay their foray into the revolution because they have no idea how to even fire the first shot. Either way, you are not alone if either of the above applies, and that’s good news. While the majority of orthodontists have some form of social network presence, very few have seen their participation pay off. And most fall short by simply not grasping the fundamental objective in a practice’s participation in social media; increase patient based referrals by giving your “network” reason and incentive to introduce the practice to their “network.” This concept is beautifully summed up by Ford CMO James Farley, “You can’t just say it. You have to get the people to say it to each other.”

Pre-Planning Your Social Media Marketing Plan – Understanding Your Practice’s “Brand” and Creating Objectives

Before delving into a discussion about social media marketing, it is imperative to understand and clearly define your practice’s “brand” and its place in the local market. The importance of starting with this exercise will help you to keep the plan focused on delivering an easily repeated message, one that patients and the community at large will associate with your practice. You have to give the practice a “voice” and “personality” that can be communicated easily. Social media is, after all, social. So you must begin with humanizing the practice. In the social media world, the practice itself is the “person” with whom visitors, colleagues, friends, and patients will be interacting. And as such, if your posts are purely clinical, “How to care for your appliance, etc.”, the practice will be perceived as lacking personality, being “uncool,” and will therefore fail in terms of social interaction. To the point made earlier, you have to provide the “it” that people will say to each other. Ask yourself, or your team, this question, “Why would someone choose my practice over another in town?” Answers may range from “expertise,” to “friendly,” to “cutting edge,” to “best terms.” Then put yourself into the shoes of a potential patient or parent. Aggregate the answers into the creation of personality traits with which you can endow the practice.

Once you’ve established those traits, write them down and share them with your team. The team member(s) tasked with posting need to be keenly aware of the practice personality that you’ve created. He/she will need to become schizophrenic when making posts; he/she is no longer a team member, but rather “the practice.” This is very closely mirrored in your scripting for case presentation. The most successful practices in terms of case acceptance rate, are usually those that invest effort in humanizing the practice by promoting comfort and familiarity. They take the would-be patient on a tour of the facility, introduce him/her to the team, and establish confidence in acceptance because the practice as a whole cares “personally” about the patient’s outcome and the benefits it will yield throughout his/her life. This is the same message that you will convey through social media. Congratulations, you have your “brand.”

Creating the Plan

The social media marketing plan can be as simple or broad as you deem fit. Most practices will find that staying “narrow” will not require adding staff or outsourcing the plan’s execution. A “simple” plan executed properly can and will yield growth. Broader plans simply expand the social footprint of the practice and can increase ROI. Either way, the fundamental parts of the social media marketing plan will follow this outline.

  1. What to say: All posts should exemplify or stand testament to the personality, or “brand,” of the practice that you have defined. Thinking in terms of this personality will make it easier for the posting team member to find worthy topics. All practices should have some form of “patient-focused” as one of it key personality traits. Encourage your team to digest and relay positive patient stories during your huddle. Make yours a “wall of accolades.” “Congratulations to Brittany for making all A’s / being elected student body treasurer / 1st chair clarinet. Not only will such posts endear you to the patients and families, but it will also convey to the message that the practice is, itself, sincerely interested in the successes of its patients. If your practice is “community-invested,” then follow local prep sports in the paper and talk about key games, congratulate local teams, and mention exemplary student-athletes whether they are your patients or not. Link to your local paper’s honor roll. Post funny stories from the paper. If the practice is “cutting edge,” subscribe to Digg’s RSS feed for technology and make posts about new devices and social network “tips.” Of little concern is that your posts are orthodontics specific. The practice’s brand is invariably connected to orthodontics already, so your task is saying something from the “voice” of the practice in which the reader finds value. This value is in turn reciprocated by the reader when their positive perception of the practice is affirmed and they communicate that forward throughout their “network.”
  2. What not to say: If the goal of your social media marketing campaign is to get people to tune into your brand, then the antithesis of your efforts will be to have them tune out. Obviously, any post that could be considered negative, inappropriate, or unprofessional can tarnish the practice’s brand perception and must be avoided. But so too should posts that yield complete ambivalence. Those in the practice’s network already know that you are an orthodontist and expect an occasional post regarding “braces friendly foods” and “mouthguard awareness month.” But without more substance offered in the way of practice personality, they may tune you out entirely.
  3. When to say it: The optimal frequency of posting is a much debated topic. Too many is oftentimes worse than too few. As a general rule of thumb, posting more than once daily to any given network, unless in response to a comment or post string, is too much. Once weekly is about the minimum, but such infrequency necessitates that the posts be meaningful. The strategy that is optimal is to make posting part of the schedule. For example, Monday is patient accolades, Tuesday is events and announcements, Wednesday is media posts (pictures and video), and Thursday is sports and/or weekend events. Once created, stick to the schedule as strictly as possible. Continuity is just as important as content.
  4. Where to say it: Many practices have embraced Facebook and Twitter as their two networks of choice. But let’s delineate the two in terms of orthodontics. Facebook is a social network whereas Twitter is a microblog. As such Facebook is far more capable of reaching potential patients in your market, while Twitter is simply a way to improve your website’s search engine rankings. For simplicity, you may opt to link the practice’s Twitter account to its page on Facebook, thereby keeping both current by simply posting to Facebook alone. But some additional social media outlets exist that are worthy of consideration. Foursquare is a location-based social network that lets people “check-in” to your practice on their smart phones every time they come in. When they “check-in,” a post is made on their Facebook wall that announces where they are. With as little effort as putting up a sign in your practice, you may receive dozens of check-in weekly, translating to dozens of posts made by patients on their walls about your practice. Consider Flickr as the preferred location to post all photos about, for, and by your practice. Flickr is itself a social network. Link your Flickr account to the page on Facebook and your practice’s reach has grown two-fold.
  5. How to incentivize it: If your practice has spent any time participating in social media, you’ve probably found that the most profound way to increase participation is to incentivize it. But a stringent word of caution is offered if you do such on Facebook. Facebook has a particular set of guidelines that specifically disallow many of the most common types of promotions offered by orthodontists on their pages. Contests such as “make a post on our wall and you’re entered to win” and “upload a photo to our page on Facebook to enter,” are violations for which Facebook would, if discovered, remove your page altogether. All the work spent in developing the page would be for nought. Search on the web for “facebook promotion guidelines” to find the full version. In order to properly (and legally) run an orthodontic contest or promotion through Facebook requires the use of 3rd party applications. Few companies exist that specialize in creating such, but Ingenuity Orthodontic Marketing is unique in that it works exclusively in the field of orthodontics.
  6. How to simplify it: A few applications exist that allow you administer all your social media accounts in a centralized “dashboard.” Perhaps the most popular of these is HootSuite. The free version should suit the vast majority of orthodontic practices’ needs, and will save considerable time and effort in administering your social media marketing plan.

Carleton Wilkins is President of Ingenuity Orthodontic Marketing, an orthodontic marketing firm that brings a unique and fresh point of view into the world of orthodontics. By creating, managing, and hosting web-based orthodontic contests and launching strategic social media marketing campaigns, Ingenuity helps its client orthodontists to better communicate with its community, and thus increase patient referrals and dental referrals. For more information, visit http://www.ingenuity.cc

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Carleton_Wilkins