Tag Archives: social media optimization

Managing Your Social Network: Dos and Don’ts

This is a guest post from Carrie Oakley.

Do's and don'ts of socialSocial profiles are more the norm than the anomaly today; most people have more than one because they don’t want to miss out on anything happening in social media. However, not everyone who’s online knows how to maximize the use of their social profiles and minimize the damage that they can cause; they sign up and start doing what everyone else is doing without realizing that information that goes online stays online for eternity and renders your life an open book and your privacy a thing of the past. There are no written rules or laws to use social networks, except of course that you don’t abuse or spam other people (you risk getting your account blocked). However, in order to protect yourself and prevent strangers from gaining access to your information, here are a few dos and don’ts to manage your personal social networks.


  • Protect your profile adequately; this means you need to separate your friends into groups – family, close friends, and just acquaintances. Allow each group different levels of access; for example, your close friends can see all of your profile; your family is allowed access to your photographs and personal contact information; your acquaintances can see only relevant updates and information; and those not on your list of friends cannot see anything beyond your name and sex. Facebook has many privacy settings that you can use to protect your data from being used against you, so utilize them effectively.
  • Keep monitoring updates from Facebook – there have been times when your privacy settings have reverted back to the “default” settings that Facebook deemed appropriate enough. Most options were opt-out instead of opt-in; so check your privacy settings every now and then to ensure that people can see only what you want them to see.
  • Delete friends who are abusive and intrusive – you don’t have to inform them, and they will not know until they explicitly try to write on your wall or see your profile.
  • Report as spam anyone who harasses you or forces you to friend them.


  • Accept friend requests from people you don’t know – even if they’re friends of your friends, it’s not wise to put them on your list unless you know them personally.
  • Do not Put up photos that are not appropriate for public viewing; they could come back to bite your butt if potential employers use them to discriminate against you in a job interview.
  • Don’t say anything you don’t want the world to know – status updates and comments on your friends’ updates are public and could come back to haunt you if you’re not careful.
  • Send out friend requests to all and sundry; ask politely, and if people ignore your request, don’t keep asking again and again.
  • Intrude into the lives of people you hardly know; they may have accepted your friend request just to be polite, but if you see that they’ve blocked you from seeing their wall and photos, leave quietly instead of calling them out on it.
  • Waste time playing games and checking out new applications all day – social networks could get addictive, so restrict the time you spend on them to an hour or less every day.
  • Use social networks to spy on your spouse or significant other; in fact, it’s not wise to friend them in the first place – you may be married, but they deserve their space just as you do. If you get too snoopy and start questioning their every post or comment, your relationship could be in danger.

Social networks are supposed to make our relationships stronger and easier, not destroy them through nosiness and jealousy; bear this in mind when you sign on to use one.


The connection between content, strategy and social media

These days having targeted content alone doesn’t help you much. You have to approach it from different directions. There was a time when you could attract targeted traffic by simply having good content on your website or blog. Now you need a strategy and while formulating the strategy you have to keep in mind how you want yourself represented on social media and networking websites.

Combine content and strategy and they give you good search engine traffic and add social media and the combination gives you fruitful engagement with your prospective customers and clients. As mentioned in my earlier post the days of one-directional marketing are over. Now you have to engage people in conversations. It is no use having conversations just like any other person because then you become just like any other person. You need to become an authority figure. People should be able to trust you and trust your judgment. You become an authority figure by continuously sharing your knowledge and wisdom with your friends and followers and visitors. You can do this on your blog and through your social media and networking profiles/pages. When you give unconditionally people trust you. This trust is your capital.

So when you are creating your content strategy you also need to simultaneously create your social media strategy because they are interrelated. By the strength of your content you can build your social media presence and through a credible social media presence you can engage your prospective customers and clients and once you are able to engage them positively they do business with you more eagerly and they have no problem recommending your business to their friends, family and colleagues.

Developing a content strategy

In order to develop a content strategy you must realize what you want to achieve through your content. Identify your audience and identify what that audience is actually looking for. You don’t have to provide exactly that but initially you need the traction so be tactful. You have to be attractive enough to your core audience. As a ground work you must

  • Identify your core audience
  • Develop a dos and don’ts policy for publishing content
  • Create a list of your primary, secondary and ancillary keywords
  • Decide whether you want longer or shorter articles/blog posts/web pages
  • Decide whether you will be generating content in-house or by outsourcing
  • Develop metrics to continuously analyze the effectiveness of your content
  • Develop long-term evaluation policies

A well-defined content strategy helps you focus better and consolidate your content publishing effort. Since you will be investing money and effort into producing content you have to be particular about exactly what sort of content you want on your website or blog. A list of dos and don’ts helps you keep distractions at bay. Keywords will help you increase your search engine rankings, although you should put more stress on the relevancy of your content rather than the keywords but they definitely help you create more targeted content.

The choice of longer and shorter articles may also affect how well your content performs. You will need to decide whether your audience wants longer web pages or shorter. Here is a nice analysis of the benefits of long and short articles by usability expert Jakob Nielsen. It is an old article but it is still relevant.

Routine analysis keeps you on the right path. Before launching your content strategy you must clearly define where you currently are and where you want to go. Analysis helps you gauge whether you are moving towards your destination or not and you can then make changes accordingly.

Content strategy and social media

People are constantly curating content on social media and networking websites and then talking about that. They find an interesting link, post it on their profile and then their friends and followers comment on it. Their friends and followers may also share the posted content with their own friends and followers and this is how your content may go viral. The more relevant and useful your content is the better exposure it gets on social media and networking websites.

But it is more than that. It is not simply about posting your content. Your content gives you an authoritative presence but you have to strike up conversations with people. Seek feedback and provide answers. Express doubts and show disagreement wherever necessary. The underlying idea is keep the conversation going by seeding new thoughts. This is where your content helps. If you just seed thoughts without backing them with authoritative text people soon begin to lose interest. They need something to read and ponder upon.

Your content begins to make an impact when it encourages people to have conversations. When it stimulates it creates impressions. When they also begin to find your content on search engines the bonding strengthens.

Stay tuned, I will write more on this.


What is conversation marketing?

Although the meaning of the term “conversation marketing” is self evident there is lots of confusion regarding what it actually means and what are its benefits. You must be wondering why I am talking about a marketing concept on a content writing blog. Content writing is basically a form of marketing:you communicate your marketing message to your readers so that they do business with you. In the same vein conversation marketing encompasses communication both ways; it is an exchange of ideas in real time. You are not only marketing your message you are also aptly listening to your customers and clients.

But listening and communication doesn’t just happen. Why would anybody be interested in knowing what you have to offer or in communicating what you want to know? To know people better and to make them know you better you have to strike up conversations. Interesting, direct conversations that make people think constructively. When they talk about ideas seeded by you it becomes easier for them to remember you and associate you with the service or product you provide.

These days I am closely observing companies and organizations indulging in conversation marketing through their social media and networking profiles. There are many few who get the hang of it. Most of them simply want to accumulate hundreds of thousands of followers and friends and dump their marketing messages upon them as if they are carrying out the usual advertising campaigns using traditional media channels. What is the use of broadcasting your message to those who don’t want to listen to you or have no idea what you’re saying?

They don’t realize that more than marketing they have to initiate conversations. The marketers call this the conversation age due to a plethora of social networking tools available on the Internet and almost everybody using them. You throw a stone and it will probably hit somebody having a Facebook or a Twitter account. It shows people are desperate to have conversations among their friends and new people to stumble upon on these websites. Okay, let us not use the negative word “desperate” but everybody wants to converse with everybody else. May it be common folks or celebrities everybody is talking to everybody.

Amidst all this talking you rise like an uninvited Sphinx and start blaring out your marketing message urging people to do business with you. Nobody cares. It’s not that people don’t want to buy but when they are interacting among their friends, relatives and the loved ones they don’t want somebody to butt in and make offers. It puts people off.

Conversation marketing helps you get over this psychological hurdle. Become familiar to your prospective customers and clients by striking up conversations with them. You need to be a part of the crowd, while standing out at the same time. You have to be interesting and useful. If you’re simply there to spout your marketing messages nobody is going to follow you unless you are targeting the MLM industry.

When both the sides talk you develop a rapport. People don’t take you as an irritating marketing person when you talk to them about their day-to-day concerns. Of course if you are a bigger company talking about mundane things may not be possible all the time and in this case it is better to stick to your brand but here too you can be interesting. Share interesting stuff about your business. Ask people how they prefer to use your product and so far what has been their experience. Be prompt in replying because people very soon lose the thread due to scores of other ongoing conversations.

The basic idea behind conversation marketing is to familiarize people with your presence without bothering them with too much marketing speak. It is a great opportunity in fact. If you are an adept conversationalist you can quickly develop a following and people begin to pay close attention to what you say and how you respond. The actual benefit manifests when people begin to talk about your product or service among themselves even without your presence. This is the actual essence of conversation marketing — people begin to converse about you or your business and preferably in a positive manner. I will talk more about this in my future posts


My understanding of social media marketing

It has become a cliché I know, “social media marketing” but then every trend sooner or later, as more and more people begin to adopt it and begin to claim themselves as experts in, becomes a cliché.

As it often happens with me my entry into the world of social media has been a bit lackluster. I have been interacting on Facebook and Twitter and have also been providing consulting services to some of my regular clients but when it comes to my own presence on social media I haven’t been very particular. Actually, the same thing happened with my blog too. When I was helping other people promote their blogs I was totally neglecting my own blog. Anyway, this post is about my understanding of social media marketing.

What exactly is social media marketing? Does it merely mean creating profiles on various social media and networking websites and posting content, and on and off interacting with your friends and followers? This is not marketing, this is simple networking and communication and your mom must already be doing this among her circle of old friends and relatives.

Marketing is a bad word, I know but it is a necessary evil, if you want to call it so. Out of the negative shade it is an activity that makes people aware of the services and products you offer.

Conventional marketing is mostly one-way: you create advertisements for television, newspapers, magazines, and even on the Internet (remember banner and link ads?). You can even publish pamphlets and fliers and get them distributed or mailed. After being exposed to your advertisement people may or may not respond. It depends on how well the advertisement has been created and what is the demand for your product or service.

Social media marketing on the other hand creates ripe ground for marketing. And it’s not just marketing in its pure sense. You may like to call it brand awareness. You don’t necessarily call it marketing because on social media and networking websites people are not very big fans of marketing and business promotion. It happens but it happens in the form of communication. Social media marketing in its true essence means

  • You remain active
  • You keep interacting with your friends and followers
  • You keep them engaged
  • You inform them
  • You educate them and seek advice
  • You let it be known through your fan or profile page what you do for a living and what sort of business to promote
  • You encourage discussions around your product or service, unobtrusively
  • You constantly measure response and take further steps accordingly
  • You reach out to new people and make old people feel valued
  • So on and so forth

You cannot simply put a page there and expect people to start doing business with you. You need to establish a long-term relationship with them. You have to show them that you are interested in them, that you are concerned about their welfare, that it matters to you how they think and what they think, you are there to help within your means, and in between, if they need something and you happen to be selling it, suggest that they can get it from you.

Benefits of social media marketing

There are many benefits of engaging your present and prospective customers/clients on social media and networking websites.

  • You create relationships instead of customers and clients
  • You actually interact with people as an individual
  • The communication is more focused and targeted
  • It is an ongoing process so there is greater brand awareness
  • People become more familiar with your presence and may even respond better to your conventional advertising campaigns
  • You can develop a stand-alone platform to launch products and services
  • You can obtain instant feedback and react accordingly
  • If there is a public-relations problem you have a ready-made communication tool with you through which you can reach hundreds of thousands of eager listeners instantly
  • You can educate people with real-time interaction
  • You can analyze the metrics of conversion with greater and more predictable accuracy
  • You can show your human side to your customers and clients
  • You can strike up new, amazing friendships
  • You can get new product ideas by carefully listening to your social media audience

There can be many more benefits but these are the immediate once that come to my mind.

So should your organization invest in social media? Again, “invest” sounds a bit mercantile but what I mean is investment in terms of effort and money. Of course as a busy person you wouldn’t like to update your Facebook and Twitter accounts multiple times a day and beside you need to be very careful about what activities to indulge in through your social media presence, especially if you are representing your business. You have to define guidelines and you have to strategise your activities. Although social media marketing is an ongoing activity you have to move towards long-term and short-term objectives. Your every single posting and interaction must take you one step forward towards those objectives.

For this, you need help. You will need professional help: people who know the inns and outs of social media and who can take positive decisions for you. This is where investment comes in because you will have to pay them for their time. Social media is fun only as long as you’re doing it for yourself; if you want to do it for others you expect decent compensation because it is a serious job. The person, after all, represents your business. Everything he or she says reflects upon you (your business); hence, it requires lots of maturity, experience and tact to interact with your followers and friends on social media on your behalf. I will be writing more about this in my forthcoming blog posts.


Content strategy before social media strategy

A major part of social media interactions involves promoting interesting and valuable content. Whether it’s blogging, Twittering, Facebook updates, Digging, Stumbling or simply forwarding email messages with engaging links, people are basically promoting content. That content can be in any format: videos, images, animations or text. If it’s interesting and useful, it is valuable.

In this post titled Social media starts with a content strategy the author has rightly stated that on social media nobody cares about you; they care about the content you can provide. People will promote your content if they find it interesting, relevant, topical or useful. So if you thinking about launching your social media campaign you better have some solid content production and content marketing strategy in place.

How do you formulate an advantageous content generation and marketing strategy?

Identify your market and recognize what it is exactly looking for. Does you content meet their requirement? Does it convey the right message? Do you promote your content in front of the right audience? Selling combs to bald people may be an accomplishment but in the long run it neither benefits your customers or clients nor it benefits you.

A successful content generation and marketing strategy involves three fundamental questions:

  • What?
  • Why?
  • Where?
  • How?

What sort of content should your website or blog have? What purpose does it solve and why you should publish it? Where should you promote your content – in front of whom? And what strategy and methodology you should follow in order to promote your content in front of the right audience.

Once you’ve answered these question, you can kick start your social media strategy.