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StrategyFeb 05, 2013

Part 4: Building a Comprehensive Online Marketing & Digital Strategy – Four Best Practices

Kyle Wahlquist

Part 4: Four Best Practices To Go Viral

In the last post we discussed the advantages SMO provides over other marketing funnels (primarily viral marketing capability), as well as some of the basic concepts of social networks.  In this post, we will be boiling down SMO into four core things to focus on when initiating a social media initiative.  These buckets will give you some tactics you can utilize to make sure you are utilizing best practices, and give you the best chance of reaching social media nirvana—going viral.

From a business perspective, the goal to maintaining social networks is to get your content, products, services, etc., out to your network, and then have your network share that information out to their networks…and so forth and so on. The tactics to make this work fall into four clear best-practices.

1)     Be easy to see and easy to follow – you will want to ensure that your social sharing and following buttons are large and in prominent positions within your content.  They should be easy to find, but in addition to that, they should make it easy for someone to want to follow or share your content.  Spreading your marketing should be an impulse for users. Your job is to make it easy for them to act on that impulse. Place your social icons both above and below long articles and place big following buttons for your brand prominently on your homepage or in your site’s header.

2)     Be an authority – Authorities will have a lot to say on their area of expertise. Publish often to show users you are active and that you will share your learned info. If you have a large audience, show your follower count along with your social buttons, as this will add to the perceived value for users who will respect your channel based on the size of your audience.  Don’t be afraid to engage your community with questions for them, and openly answer their questions where appropriate as a form of transparency and two-way communication.

3)     Have appropriate content – Topics are generally trending in social spheres, and if you are monitoring your networks, you can see what people are talking about and shape your message to incorporate their conversation. This will help others find your info, and ensure that your information is more likely to be relevant and thus more likely to be shared with their friends and followers.  If your industry has something big coming up in the next few days or weeks, go ahead and prep some content that can speak to this and can be shaped appropriately hours before you publish.  You will often see the tech media channels doing this when they create content pertaining to Apple either days or weeks before an Apple press release. Sometimes it is only speculative information, and not even real news. Sometimes it is just general questions. The important thing is to engage in conversations with thoughts that are relevant and targeted towards topics that are ALREADY trending in social spheres.

4)     Analyze early and often – You will want to perform an analysis of the networks you are building and ensure that your initiative is attracting the users you are looking for your core audience.  The ideal users for your networks’ core should: 1) repeat your message early 2) amplifying it widely or 3) restructure/rebrand it for various sub networks within a larger social structure.  If you are not attracting and maintaining users who hold some or all of these desired characteristics, you are not building your social spheres in ways in which they will be capable of going viral, and you will need to either restructure your efforts or your messaging to attract these audience members.

Having these four understandings of social media in your sights will make sure that you are on the right path to best optimize your social media campaigns.  I hope this article as well as the last has given you some insight into the potential of the Social Media marketing funnel if executed correctly.  In the next article we will discuss a strategy on how to stack these marketing funnels in order to get the most bang for your buck.  In the meantime, feel free to follow me on Google+Twitter or LinkedIn!

Read all five parts of Kyle’s blog series: Part 1Part 2Part 3Part 4, and Part 5.