A few weeks ago I attended the Maryland Chamber of Commerce session on Social Media and Online Marketing with guest host Mario Armstrong from XM radio. The panel consisted of Greg Cangialosi, CEO of Blue Sky Factory, Matt Goddard, CEO of r2integrated and Leah Messina, CEO of Sinuate Media.

The panelists spoke about various topics such as; online tools, social marketing and challenges their clients face. Some good points were made throughout the session however, as most panels go, they were all intertwined and scattered. I have highlighted some of the main items that are beneficial to all businesses either as a refresher or as new information.

Communities

How are your customers currently buying items or services? Social media outlets such as Twitter don't work for everyone or every business. Let's take a business such as a local plumber or heating specialist. When do you need a plumber? Typically when something is wrong! Most people will more than likely pick up a phone book or do an online directory search. It's doubtful that anyone will follow a plumber's business on Twitter. On the other hand, if you are looking for a recommendation for a plumber, Twitter or Facebook might be the perfect place for you. According to Goddard, "Social media is really about reducing a risk by reaching out to like-minded peers. It's our way of saying, how do I not make a bad decision?" We go get advice and it's sitting inside these communities, we are getting the information when the conversation is happening and it's all about reducing the risk. The social tools that exist are about streamlining the process.

LinkedIn.com has been around longer than Twitter and it isn't getting as much hype. LinkedIn is a risk reduction and helps members make better decisions on how to build relationships. It's Quality over Quantity. Your business should be tied to your area of expertise, local community or industry specialty. If you are a local business in a specific trade industry try to focus on what you do and important topics that are relevant.

The Clutter

There's really no need to tweet about the peanut butter and jelly sandwich you just ate. According to Cangialosi , "THERE'S A LOT OF A LOT! " There is no way we are paying attention to everything you have written. There is so much white noise that it is crucial for businesses to stay focused. Try to use important keywords or tags that can be searched for easily.

Blue Sky Factory leverages social media technology by using Hubspot. The Hubspot tool looks at web analytics and takes all the keywords you want to optimize and ranks the conversations that are really important. Blue Sky's goal is to engage the community, cut through the clutter, and sharpen the focus.

Tools and Tracking


Messina recommended several different tools which keep a watchful eye on what people are saying about your product or who might be interested.
Search.twitter.com - Twitter's basic search tool
Google alerts - a great way to have information pushed instead of searching with the other tools
icerocket.com - a social and search tool
radian6 - a monitoring source for your brand across the web
Chi.mp - helps steam line across multiple accounts
Dragon Search - social media calculator

One tool that was not mentioned was Twitter Analyzer, which is a tool that is fun to explore.

Rule of Thumb to Execute Social Media

Mario's last question to the panel was, "How much time do you have for all of your social responsibilities? We all know that owning a dog can be free, but don't you have to nurture it?"

Leah recommends before you update your Twitter account to spend 2 hours researching and compile a list of daily social media updates. Update once in the morning and at the end of the day. Leah typically puts aside 1 hour a day for updates.

Greg doesn't use Twitter to update his Facebook account. The Twitter stream is primarily used for business and he separates his personal account from corporate account. He does his tweets in spurts. He recommends that your conversations grow into one on one dialog. You should pick and choose from one platform to another because it is not relevant between the two socials. Try not to use hash marks in your Facebook account - it may be Greek to many of your friends.

Final Words

Matt states, "The Internet is a buying engine - not a selling engine. You have to be a part of the buying process." You can't force the buying moment. Experiment with the tools available to you and evaluate the outcome.

Leah - "When you reach out you can tease out the most important people that are the influencers. They can help you be a bridge to the community. Be genuine and use it methodically."

Greg - "The influencer in today's social world has a very wide footprint so you need to be very authentic, transparent and methodical." The long term strategy for social messaging is making sure your messaging is exact. What's the right story to tell your audience; is it compelling and why?
June 25, 2009





President and Founder Local Roll Call.

Local Roll Call is a search listing provider and consulting firm dedicated to helping businesses get in front of consumers and understand the complexities of the local search landscape. Carberry formed the company after realizing that many businesses large and small don't understand the depth of local search optimization across the search engines and vertical/yellow page directories.

Dave has worked in Search Engine Marketing since 2000 and has worked with organizations ranging in size from small businesses to the Fortune 100. Dave is actively involved in the SEM Community. He speaks regularly at various search marketing and online focused conferences and is a member of SEMPO and the IAB.

A recognized expert and educator in online marketing, pay-per-click advertising, search optimization and local search. Prior to starting Local Roll Call Dave was Director of Feed Management and Search at Advertising.com and Platform-A, delivering new opportunities to clients on an ongoing basis with Consumer Shopping Engines, Paid Inclusion Programs and Cross Channel Feed dispersion.

Dave also served as Vice President of Sales and Marketing for The G3 Group. Dave has launched several successful start-up business ventures during his career, including WJFK-AM, Targetware.com and InstantPosition.com.  He and his two children have also written and self published two children's travel books. Where Was I? New York and Where Was I? Washington D.C.






Comments(4)

I'm astounded that there was session about online social marketing; but I shouldn't be. So many businesses look at Facebook and Twitter and blogs as tools of the young rather than a promotion/marketing tool.

These sites are so misunderstood. I have lots of friends with small, tiny businesses and they're afraid to promote them online, because of "privacy issues." USPS is considering canceling Saturday deliveries because email as replaced snail mail. I do a lot of ordering online, but most of my packages are delivered by Fedex and UPS.

I started my business (Pet Impressions Photography) in Feb 2009 and I'm astounded by the success I've had in such a short time (and I also work full time).

Great post!

That is the same problem I have with Social media... The clutter. One person cant keep up with it all so how do you except people to listen to what you have to say. How do you stand out from the crowd?
Just my thought

sites should be used to YOUR advantage. whatever works, works. this was quite informative however. nice article

I believe that Twitter is very effective tools, also with google. I am also using the Twitter tool in updating my Facebook and Myspace account. Really effective.

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Search Engine Guide > David Carberry > Tips for Social Media Success - A Panel Discussion