What’s Beyond Twitter & Facebook?

Last week, @dutchessmtg tweeted to me:  How can a new product have a bigger online presence other than from using Facebook and Twitter? (luggage)

Those who have heard my lectures on social media know I am a huge fan of using social media to find core niche spaces for brands (especially new ones) to communicate their messages. Because even if your niche space has 13 fans, those fans are more passionate, more engaged than that hundreds on Facebook who let your messages fly right by them on Timeline. So, this is a topic I love love love to discuss.

I talk about it like this: there are two main spaces in social media. The “Niche” spaces and the “Mega” Spaces. Mega spaces would be Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, while niche spaces might be more like a specialized blog, Ning community, Meetup.com Board, or Yahoo!Answers thread.

I’m a huge fan of using the niche spaces to drive traffic, increase sales, get more shares, and feel there is huge opportunity there.  Mega spaces are great, and pretty much by default necessary these days (since your competitors are probably there and helps you come up in Searches). But, for example, say you’re Hershey’s. You probably have a Facebook page but don’t necessarily need a strong niche campaign because everyone knows what you do. You are well established and well distributed. But let’s say you’re introducing a new organic, Stevia-sweetened candy bar. You need to make sure you are on every organic, diabetes, and green recipe site on the web. You want to be in blogs, you want to do more of a guerilla campaign in talking about your product to generate awareness. The niche spaces play an important role in this type of Word-of-Mouth marketing.

You say you want to learn about social media for a luggage brand. Just like in any communications campaign, we start with the basics. First, who is your target? This will help you identify both the mega and niche spaces where your prospective customers are hanging out. Second, what are you trying to communicate? Is your luggage competitively priced? Is it more stylish? Does it roll easier? What are your differentiators? These are the types of questions you need to ask yourself to determine what type of content will work for your social media campaign. Finally, what action will you drive your visitors to do? Buy? Click on a link? Like the page? Share? What exactly is it you want them to do? Keep that in mind when you are developing content. Maybe you have a great story to tell, but you want traffic to your site. Maybe you tell half of it on an external site, and put a  “… read more” link that leads to your site.

Then find the niche communities where you can post and create content. Here are a few communities off the top of my head for luggage to think about after you have established a list of key differentiators your product has:

Travel blogs (engage bloggers with your content)
Ning travel communities
Meetup.com Travel Enthusiast Boards
Travel boards on Pinterest with high # followers
Sample sale aggregators/blogs
Fashion blogs and forums – is your differentiator style?
Yahoo!Answers – are people asking for a better product? YOUR product? If not, what related Q’s are being asked? Can you answer them?

Well, @dutchessmtg, I hope this helps. Feel free to comment or tweet any further questions.


evil twins & linkedin: the social job hunt

for designers, communicators, and marketers, using social media in the hunt shows we actually have the skills we promise on our resume. For everyone else, your online impression is your first and maybe only impression you’ll make.

when the ball’s in your court,  make it count.
It amazes me how many MBA students in my classes don’t have LinkedIn accounts. According to Socialnomics, 80% of recruiters use social media to recruit, 95% of them use LinkedIn.

Hiring officers now have your LinkedIn profile, your Google listing, and all sorts of social networks as their first impression of you, because if they know how to use a computer, they are 100% “Googling” you before they bring you to the office for an interview. But it’s not only these “mega” spaces where you need to tell the world that you are awesome and in need of some work. My sister Ariel renamed her social media accounts on Tumblr and Twitter to “Hire Ariel” while looking for a job. And while wandering around NYC this weekend, I saw neon posters that said “Sarahneedsajob.com,” which led to a blog, portfolio and website. This Parson’s grad even got on CNN as a result, and weekly site traffic of ~10,000 hits when she began the project.

play good defense.
I had a previous boss “Google” me back in 2007 before my first interview. There just so happened to be a far less…we’ll say mature….girl who shared my name who had quite the presence on social media. Bebo, MySpace, you name it. When searching for me, my boss thought that the inappropriate social commentary and racy graphics she found on these social networks were in fact mine. Lucky for me, she realized after a few clicks that this girl was living in the UK and was 17 years old, and not ME.

I did land that job, but this scared me enough to make sure that I had a stronger presence online and that the Hannah Redmond I wanted portrayed was coming up in search. I published more articles, made an online portfolio, and added a Google profile.

Lesson: be strategic… and find and defeat evil online twins.

Tag, you’re it!

As you are probably aware, we are in information overload with the internet and social media. We don’t open the mailbox and fish out the newspaper to find out what’s going on in the world anymore: news is pushed to us in Tweets, Diggs, Facebook status updates, Gchats, and more. So how do we sort all this information out? We play tag.

It’s amazing what we are capable of tagging and sorting now online and how we can use it strategically.

1. Tags helps the user/customer find exactly what they are looking for.
If you are on a mission to find a product you need to buy today and you don’t find it on overstock.com in a matter of 30 seconds, chances are you’re off to amazon.com or any of the thousands of sites that might sell it. You don’t stick around, you have options. Tagging products (or posts or anything for that matter) appropriately makes your audience find what they want in a matter of seconds with as few clicks as possible. (My rule on my web pages I design is 2 clicks!) Don’t lose your potential business to a competitor in a matter of seconds because your products are not easily found, people! Remember, its one thing getting people to your site, its another thing keeping them engaged and happy.

2. Tags increase your website’s SEO.
Everything on your site should be tagged for search engine optimization purposes. SEO is a much larger animal, but in my work I have found using Picasa and tagging every photo with my website’s key words and links increases our position in Google search results. It’s important in the clutter of information on the internet to tag everything you can with keywords that will help people find you. If you can’t be found, you have no business!