A Social Media Marketing Plan – Part 1

Here’s how to use a few social media services to market a product, service or anything else you’re trying to draw attention to.

This is geared for the small business owner or freelancer who wants/needs some direction in how to use social media sites to help promote their business, campaign, cause or what have you.

The Plan

There are tons of social media sites out there and for this article we’ll use the following three social media sites.  For this first part of the plan we’ll look at Twitter.  Subscribe to my blog for more on the plan in the coming days.

1. Twitter

Currently Twitter is the extremely popular social networking site that asks, “What are you doing?”  You respond in 140 characters or less.  This 140-character message lets the world know what you’re doing.  Of course, the message isn’t limited to just what you’re doing.

Twitter Profile – Pick a name that reflects you, your business, your campaign theme, or whatever makes sense for what you’re trying to accomplish.  Yes, you can have multiple twitter accounts and yes there are tools to help manage multiple account discussed below.

For an example, check out Dell Cares on twitter.  Dell has a bunch of twitter accounts for different areas of their company.

In the “More info URL” box under settings, provide a link to your website, blog or a promotion page.  A special promotional landing page just for your twitter followers will help you keep track of where people are coming from.

On that landing page, can you offer a deal, a coupon, a free downloadable pdf, or some extra special resources in your industry for your twitter followers or the people who click on your twitter “More info URL” link.

Your twitter “One Line Bio” could include your phone number for your business, campaign center, or help line.  Include a human’s name and email address that people can email and feel a personal connection to.

What should your first tweet be?  Introduce yourself and your company, campaign, etc.

Twitter Design – Provide a background that has more information you want to display.  A company logo, company colors, etc.  Design it for a standard screen resolution of 1024 x 768.  Here’s a twitter background design site.  Or go search on twitter backgrounds.

Don’t let your twitter account sit dormant.  Provide tweets on a schedule using TweetLater or HootSuite, and also interact with folks who have questions, comments or compliments.  Again, keep a human aspect to your tweets and twitter communications.  Try tweeting once, twice, three times a week or have someone do it for you.

Twitter Direct Messages – Direct Messages in twitter are messages between you and a follower or between you and someone you’re following.  You can use TweetLater to send an automatic DM to someone who follows you.  These messages are not seen by the whole twitter community.

Using TweetLater or HootSuite, you can setup an automatic direct message to send to anyone who immediately follows you.  Be careful with these auto-DMs (Direct Messages).  Some folks interpret them as spam and just a cold auto direct message that means nothing.

If you’re going to auto-DM someone right after they follow you, write the message in such a  way that is thankful and possibly provide a link to your twitter followers landing page with more goodness – a coupon, a discount, a free downloadable pdf, extraordinary resources for your industry, etc.

Tweet Overloading – Don’t overload your tweets with 10 tweets that are automatically tweeted at one time.  Send them out strategically over the 24-hour day using TweetLater or HootSuite.

Tweak your tweets for the time periods that make sense for your company/campaign, etc.  Should you consider every time zone around the world or just in the U.S., etc.?

Is there a time you end up in front of your computer screen for a longer period of time because of being sick or some other reason?  Fire up a browser or two, or TweetDeck and create multiple searches on keywords or phrases used in your industry.

Find out what people are tweeting about and join the conversation by contributing your experience, tip, trick, or even congratulations to someone whose accomplished something in your industry.

Can you retweet the same promotional message throughout the day?  Sure.  Again, watch the spamming.  You’ll lose followers.  Think “Ad Blindness”.  You know, the Google Adsense and other affiliate advertising that becomes a blob in your vision when you visit your favorite websites and blogs.

Setup a Twitter Contest to give something away every week, or month, or ?, etc.

The Twitter Network – One reason to start early is to build a network of people who are in your industry or around your industry.

Think through who you want to follow and who you’d like to be following you.  Think about who you would want to help spread the word about your business, campaign, etc.  Think about you helping spread the word about others business, campaigns, etc.

Use Twitter Search to find your competition or related industries and see what they’re doing on Twitter and do it better or unique.

Here are some of my twitter resources for my followers.

2. More to come…

Photo Credit: quacktaculous