Business and Operations
Keys to social media success
By Pam Lontos
By Pam Lontos
Social Media Marketing (SMM) is certainly the newest buzz in the PR and marketing realm. And as with any new publicity tool, people have lots of questions on how to best utilize it. In order to ensure that SMM works for you in a positive way, you need to employ some keys to success.
Social Media Marketing (SMM) is certainly the newest buzz in the PR and
marketing realm. And as with any new publicity tool, people have lots
of questions on how to best utilize it. In order to ensure that SMM
works for you in a positive way, you need to employ some keys to
Put your message on the right sites
There are literally hundreds if not thousands of social media sites
today. You need to determine where your market is and post your
messages on those sites. You don’t want to get on the wrong site, as
that would waste your time and possibly hurt your credibility. With
SMM, being anywhere and everywhere is not the answer. Be strategic and
target your market for the best results.
Also realize that your market might change. Just because a certain SMM
site attracts your market today doesn’t mean it will tomorrow. People
are fickle in SMM and they get bored easily.
Understand the purpose of each site
Just as you want to post to the right SMM site, you also want to know the goal or focus of each of the various sites. Most people, even those brand new
to SMM, have likely heard of the big three SMM sites: LinkedIn,
Facebook, and Twitter. They are the most common ones out there.
LinkedIn is the leading business networking site. Think of it like a
corporate boardroom setting. Facebook is for keeping tabs on personal
and business contacts. If you use it for business, think of it like
entertaining clients in your living room. Twitter is for short sound
Think of it as your company’s billboard message.
A couple of others you may not have heard of but that are useful for
business are Naymz and Plaxo. Naymz is a reputation site. By
registering, you are essentially doing a background check on yourself
and posting it to the Internet. It’s a well respected site among
corporate decision makers, who often use Naymz to check people out.
Plaxo is a hub site. It allows you to link and connect multiple
Internet resources in a single place. People can go there and find
their way to everything about you, if you choose to allow that.
For business purposes, you may want to stay away from MySpace. There
have been more internal corporate scandals and sexual harassment suits
in the past year over things that have been posted on MySpace than any
other single social networking site. If you currently do have a MySpace
page, hide it.
Think in sound bites
Anyone who has done any type of PR in the past knows the importance of
the sound bite message. The same rule holds true when doing SMM. You
want your sound bite message to be original, useful, valuable, fun,
problem solving, and interesting. And you have to encapsulate your
message in 140 characters (not words) or less.
That 140 character limit is not a random number. The fact is that 140
characters is the convention for text messages to cell phones
internationally. Remember, your goal is for people to take your message
and pass it along or to have it forwarded to their cell phone when your
message comes out. You don’t want the ending of your message cut off
because it was too long for the cell phone to display. And don’t think
you can take your long message and split it up into two or more feeds.
That’s called giving a double message or a split, and people get
annoyed by such a tactic.
Post your messages responsibly
A common question is: “How often should I be posting messages onto
these sites? Unfortunately, many people post too often and abuse the
airways. You become an interruption rather than a welcome interlude.
People who are following you and having your messages forwarded to
their cell phone are constantly being interrupted by you. Now you’re a
The other problem is that search engines are designed to ignore these
140 character messages. However, there are strategic ways around that
rule so that your 140 character messages become the alerts. Search
engines only allow a certain number of alerts per source, and it varies
per search engine. If the search engines see too many messages from you
during their standard interval period, they could flag you as a search
engine spammer and lock you out. The best posting interval is every 48
hours, as that’s how long it takes for a message to go through the
When you combine your SMM efforts with your traditional PR avenues, you can create a publicity campaign that gets you noticed.
Pam Lontos is president of PR/PR, a public relations firm based in
Orlando, Fla. She is author of “I See Your Name Everywhere” and is a
former vice-president of sales for Disney’s Shamrock Broadcasting.
PR/PR has placed clients in publications such as USA Today,
Entrepreneur, Time, Reader’s Digest and Cosmopolitan. PR/PR works with
established businesses, as well as entrepreneurs who are just launching
their company. For a free publicity consultation, e-mail Pam@prpr.net
or call 407-299-6128. To receive free publicity tips, go to
www.PRPR.net and register for the monthly e-newsletter, PR/PR Pulse!