Archive for Social Media

Executing a Social Media Exit Strategy

Photo courtesy of xomiele

It’s a fact of life. Everything comes to an end sooner or later. The same goes for social media campaigns and accounts. The trick is knowing when to pull the plug and move on to something bigger and better.

One of the biggest reasons to hit the delete button is to avoid a social media time suck that drains budget resources and doesn’t provide a healthy return on your investment. You also may find that the property has exceeded its shelf life and you’re not generating optimal levels of traffic and engagement anymore. Whatever the reason, you’re now faced with the decision of what to do.

Obviously, you’ll need to consider the platform carefully. Whether it’s a blog, community, microsite or social networking account, each will have its own factors to consider. But once you put an end to that social media fossil, chances are you’ll find more time and energy to focus on something new. The guilt and baggage from those dated social media accounts will free you to do more. So here are a few things to consider.


Dead Blogs and Communities Serve Up SEO Benefits

If you decide that it doesn’t make sense to sustain your blog, don’t delete it without careful consideration. Blogs, and online communities for that matter, are fantastic repositories of knowledge and opinion for readers seeking out specific content. Depending upon the subject matter, they could yield a wealth of information for many, many years. More than likely, your posts and the reader comments are attracting a fair amount of visitors on a regular basis. You may find that much of the content is still valuable and people are coming across it through their online searches and via your SEO efforts. Check your analytics to determine the level of traffic that’s still coming to the blog, as well as where your visitors are coming from (referral traffic) and the search terms they’re using to find your blog or community. This data could certainly help you shape future marketing strategies or even help you plan your next blog. Make sure you draft and publish a final post explaining the reason for the termination of the blog or online community and thank your readers/contributors for their participation. Don’t forget to include a link they can click to find your organization online, join an affiliate community or a recommended group on a social network like Facebook or LinkedIn.

 

Expired Campaign Microsites Leverage Inbound Links

Your company may have built an online destination with a very specific purpose in mind. These microsites are usually tied to a creative campaign to drive visibility around a product or service, promote an event, or may even have been used to hold a contest or sweepstakes of some kind. Even though the product has been discontinued, the event has passed or the contest has ended, you may still be attracting visitors from inbound links. Again, it’s about taking advantage of that web traffic (and your brand equity) so don’t cut off that funnel of interested visitors wanting to know more about your organization. Go ahead and tear down the site (make sure you archive your digital assets) but hang onto the domain URL (those are super inexpensive and worth the cost if it means generating an additional stream of traffic). Use a website redirect to your new campaign site, social media page or official web property to connect them with content that’s current. Of course, if you’re not generating traffic than it won’t make sense to keep the domain name.  Hit the delete button on the whole thing.

 

Unattended Social Media Accounts Aren’t Exactly Social

It’s disappointing to come across a business account on a social network that’s been abandoned or doesn’t respond to comments or customer inquiries. Of course, there could be several reasons for this such as budget cuts, inexperienced community managers or a poor social media strategy (brand conversation monitoring is required for all social media programs). Unlike blogs and online communities, social networks operate on a real-time basis. They are meant to provide ongoing dialogue and can become stale and out-of-date rather quickly. If that’s the case, an exit strategy is probably needed.

I wouldn’t recommend deleting brand name accounts on social networks. I’m talking about branded vanity URLs such as pinterest.com/KLMConsulting. While it’s common for businesses to quickly jump onto social networks to secure their brand names (before cyber squatters beat them), the accounts shouldn’t resemble a ghost town with tumble weeds either. If you’re not ready to activate the account, try to make it hidden (Facebook allows you to do that with pages and groups). If you can’t do that, why not post an initial message stating the obvious – “Thanks for visiting our page, we’ll be launching shortly so come back soon!” If it’s a mature page and you’ll only be gone temporarily, then state that in the last post you publish or in the profile. At the very least this sets the tone and shows your commitment to transparent communications. It also tells the visitor that there is some strategy being developed behind closed doors.

Research from Burson-Marsteller cited that the average number of social media accounts is 33 per company. If you have secondary pages that aren’t performing or you simply can’t sustain or maintain the dialogue, then you may want to consider deleting those. Frankly, they could be doing you more harm than good. Most likely, these will be social media accounts that aren’t imperative to your business and do not contain your brand name in the vanity URL. If that’s the case, you’ll want to send a message to your fans or subscribers letting them know the end is near. Just do so with caution since social media accounts cannot be undeleted.

 

Social Media Strategy Requires Brand Conversation Monitoring

Photo courtesy of LI Refugee

The digital landscape is rife with people talking about their brand experiences every moment of every day. Whether it’s expressing excitement over a new purchase or complaining about poor customer service, people are posting about brands and the products they love and hate.

It shouldn’t be a surprise that monitoring social networks is a great way for companies to capture customer feedback on products and services. With customer data being such an important piece of the social media strategy, I was curious to find out how many companies were actually monitoring their brands.

After a few Google searches, I found several studies attempting to quantify the percentage of companies that had social media monitoring programs in place. Many of the studies I found reported that over 60 percent of companies don’t use  tools to monitor brand conversations.  Are you as surprised as I am?

In 2010, Harvard Business Review Analytic Services issued its report, The New Conversation, which cited that 75% of the companies in the survey said they weren’t sure where their most valuable customers were talking about them. And more recently, a CapGemini study last July found that of the 302 executives surveyed, only 57% of them stated their companies were monitoring online conversations for brand and product mentions.

It’s shocking how low these figures are given that most companies have already implemented social media programs but don’t track customer conversations. At a time when many organizations are jumping into social media head first, getting an analytics program underway should be one of the first items on the agenda. The insights gleaned from a brand conversation monitoring program will provide hard data to help shape digital strategies.

Proactively monitoring the health of your corporate brand online works to identify discussions that could harm your reputation. On the plus side, it leverages positive online commentary to enhance your market offerings and positioning. Without understanding customer sentiment or market impact, social media strategy is missing a vital component.

I know from my own past experiences that collecting insights from online conversations can also be valuable to other functional departments within the organization. Funneling this rich data to your R&D unit, customer care center, or other internal teams can potentially inform additional business, product and customer strategies that aren’t even on your radar screen.

 

Hitting the Blog Reset Button

Photo courtesy of Boris Lechaftois

After a lengthy sabbatical from the blogging world, I’ve decided to hit the reset button and jump in once again. It’s been almost seven years since I launched my first blog in 2005, MediaResearcher. That was before social networks like MySpace and Facebook came onto the scene. Fast forward to 2011 and we now have hundreds of new sites and tools for connecting online. Given this new age of social media, I feet the timing is right to relaunch a personal blog to make my own. I’ll be using this as a central platform to talk about some of the exciting things that are happening in the digital world from both a consumer and business perspective. There’s so much to discuss when it comes to cool social media tools and digital marketing best practices and I hope you join the dialogue.

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