From Social Media to Social Media Strategy

By on March 1st, 2011

Last week, I posted about my action points from DSCOOP. I’m happy to report that the number one item on my hit list — making my newsletter social media enabled — has been accomplished. This required firing my email service provider and moving to a new one with a deeper commitment to social media.

Now at the footer of both of my newsletters (one B2B and the other B2C) are icons for Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, and LinkedIn. When readers get the bottom, if they like what they’ve read, they are encouraged to share it. I also have the ability to automatically Tweet the newsletter when it goes out. As I’ve heard from others, my B2B site posted to my Facebook page and my LinkedIn profile, as well.

Just by making this simple change, I have the basics of a social media program. I can multiply my time investment far more easily than I could in the past. If I’ve done a good job with the content so that subscribers find it of value, they can help me along by sharing the content easily, too.

Where I’m really going to grow as a social media marketer, however, is through link tracking. On one dashboard, I can see not only the opens, bounces, and opt-outs, but also which links were clicked. If people shared the newsletter with others, I can see which social media options they chose. This is where I’m really going to focus.

At DSCOOP, Val DiGiacento, vice president of technical sales for The Ace Group, shared in one of his sessions how the ability to easily share a Calvin Klein video (accessed via QR code on a Houston Street wallscape) gave the campaign a 36% lift. As he spoke about the critical role of social media in this campaign — and how crucial social media are to the success of all marketers, whether you are marketing your own print business or helping customers market theirs — I about jumped out of my seat. I wanted to shout “That’s me! That’s me!”

What hit home so deeply was when Val talked about how this QR code was printed on one wallscape, hanging on one buildin, on one street in New York City. Despite this limited exposure, the campaign went viral and hit seven figures — in large part due to social media. That resonated with me. My subscriber base is tremendously valuable, but I am only one person with one list. As a marketer, I need my subscribers to share it. I need to make my content so valuable that they want to share it. The Ace Group helped Calvin Klein do it. I can do it, too.

That’s where link tracking comes in. I have two audiences. The needs of both are different. As I learned from the link tracking, their social media activity is different. I need to interact with each audience differently. Watching the click-throughs, the social media activity, and new sign-ups gives me marching orders for how to improve content and better interact with those on my list.

I’ve been active in many social media outlets for a long time, but it’s always been haphazard. With the investment in a new email provider and a commitment to really mining the metrics and acting on them, along with a commitment to spend a certain number of hours per week solely on social media marketing, I suddenly have moved from random social media activity to having a strategy. John Foley would be proud.

What’s your social media marketing strategy?

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14 Responses to “From Social Media to Social Media Strategy”

  1. Doug Ainsworth Says:

    Great post Heidi! I’m pretty much in the same situation. Its time to take this social media seriously! Good luck…and yes John Foley would be proud.

  2. Elizabeth Says:

    Congratulations Heidi on ‘growing socially’. I’m curious to know what email service and link tracking solution you are using. I’ve been pretty pleased with http://www.bit.ly for pushing out content and tracking links – but there are some things that it misses. Google analytics also provides a lot of information on the website – but not the details on the newsletter and email campaigns. I had very bad luck awhile back with Lyris (way over-promised, soooo under-delivered and quite expensive). What combination of solutions are you using?

  3. Susan Says:

    Heidi – I’m also curious what you’re using for link tracking. I’m about where you were two weeks ago, I suppose. So, very interested to better link my efforts and develop a more cohesive social media strategy.
    Thanks!

  4. Heidi Tolliver-Nigro Says:

    Constant Contact and Google Analytics. Considering how commoditized Constant Contact has become, I was actually surprised at how sophisticated the solution is. I can even edit the colors in the templates to match the brand colors on my website using Hex colors. (Done for the Strong Tower Publishing newsletter but not Digital Printing Reports yet.) It’s not the most sophisticated software out there, but for printers and others just getting into social media and content marketing, I think it does a really nice job. Great Reach Communications also offers email marketing as part of its Market Builder programs. They do all of the social media links and everything for you. (I write the content for the 1:1 Market Builder program so I’m a bit biased, so forgive the plug; but it is a very easy way to create a solid content / email / social media marketing presence if I do say so myself.)

  5. Elizabeth Says:

    Hey – I asked! Those tools are also really key for making sure you don’t end up in junk mail – or worse, get black listed. Thanks for sharing.

  6. Heidi Tolliver-Nigro Says:

    @Susan. The link tracking is part of the Constant Contact solution. When you click on the link for the newsletter / email campaign, it gives you the stats for opens, bounces, and opt-outs. Then below are the metrics for the links, including the pie chart for social media shares.

    @Doug. I always took social media seriously. I just didn’t have a strategy. Now I’m being much more deliberate about it. It’s a greater time and monetary investment, but I believe this level of investment isn’t optional anymore.

  7. Bob Morgan Says:

    Hey I get most of features of Constant Contact for free with Mailchimp. This fremium software has great support and really simple templates for building quality newsletters. If you really new and getting started you can’t beat the price at Mail Chimp so give them a try.

  8. Heidi Tolliver-Nigro Says:

    Another quick update — just got an email from Constant Contact updating me on my subscriber list. It told me how many unsubscribes and how many new subscribes received last month. Over the months, I can watch my subscribe base grow in chart form. Great motivation to engage in list-building activities!

  9. John Foley Says:

    And @johnfoleyjr is proud! :) And thankful that you put some words into action. Heidi – Your walking the talk and thinking about strategy first. Great job and good luck.

    Have a great day folks!

    John

    http://www.growsocially.com

    http://www.iflymobi.com – Mobilize YOUR Content!

  10. Patrick Whelan Says:

    Regardless of what program/system you use to send your message, at the heart of any outbound, inbound and social media marketing is the need for high value content that successfully engages your target audience. To quote John Foley at Dscoop, “Content is King”.

    The abandonment rate for social media is very high. Companies start and then stop these efforts. We call these “marketing graveyards” and they can have a very negative effect on a company’s brand. So if you are going to start, make sure you are willing to either commit the time or commit the money. As Heidi mentioned, Great Reach provides these types of programs and content for a fraction of the cost of producing in house. Sorry for my shameful plug! but so many clients are thrilled they found our services. http://www.greatreachinc.com

  11. Stephen Eugene Adams Says:

    Heidi,

    You need to use a URL shortener. Services such as Tweetmeme or Bit.ly also allow you to track how many people re-tweet your message. Both WordPress and Blogger allow you to do this.

  12. Kel Adkins Says:

    What about goo.gl – reports are good and growing + they tie to Google’s other service and process tools for measurement and naturalized web search

    ???

  13. Gretchen Says:

    I was going to say what Stephen said. Your URL took up too many of my 140 characters when I tweeted this post. I could do it myself, but I didn’t. Thanks.

  14. Heidi Tolliver-Nigro Says:

    Great points about the long URL. I don’t have any control over this (it’s handled by the blog owner), but I’ve forwarded your comments to the guy who handles this sort of thing. Thanks for letting me know!