I’ve recently been answering questions asked by attendees at my recent “10 Secrets of Social Media Marketing” seminars. Here’s the conclusion to the series. For free webcasts on this topic, check out the recent event sponsored by Listrak and another sponsored by Awareness just this week.
Q: What are the best ways to link social media marketing directly to increased sales? Our clients are looking for absolute metrics.
A: Make sure the links on any social media channels you use lead back to unique URLs. This can be done through a simple server redirect, which in techie terms is called a 301 redirect. The person who administers your website should know how to do this. Unique URLs enable you to track which links are referring visitors to a landing page or order form. It’s then a simple task to find which of those visits result in orders.
You should also keep a close eye on referring URLs and visitor paths. A referring URL is a Web page that sends a visitor to your site. Look for the domains give you a lot of traffic because you’ll want to cultivate the owners of those sites. Visitor paths show you the track a visitor takes on your site. This can yield insights about which pages do the best job of guiding a visitor to a desired page, such as an order form. You’ll want to focus your marketing efforts on sending more traffic to those pages.
Referring URLs and visitor paths are standard metrics provided by tools like Google Analytics.
Q: How do you deal with legal issues when blogging and still make sure that reading your blog do not take what you are saying as legal advice?
A: Disclaim like crazy. Each page of your site should include a disclaimer and it’s a good idea to also disclaim individual content items such as blog entries or videos. However, I don’t want to be seen as giving legal advice myself :-). In some regulated industries , even disclaimers may be insufficient. It’s a good idea to check with an intellectual property attorney to understand the issues specific to your business.
Q: When you’re ready to spin off new blogs from established ones, should the timeframe be shortened from the original schedule, or should you count on the same schedule/time requirements?
A: Effective campaigns should achieve enough traction within a year to enable the owner to consider spinning off targeted sites or communities. You should expect to develop traction much more quickly in spun-off properties because the audience is already familiar with your content and your value. Very often you will be dividing an audience into two parts, much as a cell divides, but the combined growth of those two parts should be greater than it would have been had you not divided them. In addition, some of your members or participants will continue to be active in both communities, providing an additional boost.
Q: Are there certain phrases or keywords that rise up on the blog list?
A: Keyword popularity is entirely dependent on the topic. I suggest your goal should not be to dominate the most popular keywords in your market but rather to own the keywords that customers use to find you.
Think outside the box. A bicycle shop’s best prospects may not be people looking for “bicycles” but rather people searching for “green transportation.” One free tool you can use to assess keyword popularity is Google AdWords Keyword Tool. A less useful, but still interesting tool is Google Trends. The Wordtracker Keyword Suggestion tool is another one to look at. It actually recommends keywords you should use.