SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING (PART 1) - The Art of Digital Marketing: The Definitive Guide to Creating Strategic, Targeted, and Measurable Online Campaigns - Ian Dodson

The Art of Digital Marketing: The Definitive Guide to Creating Strategic, Targeted, and Measurable Online Campaigns - Ian Dodson (2016)


An Introduction

Find me on Facebook. Follow me on Twitter. Check out my blog. Ten years ago these phrases meant nothing, yet now they are part of everyday speak. More and more people are connecting through social media—to stay in touch with friends, to date, or to interact with brands and businesses. Which is great news for digital marketers like you.

This is no time to be a wallflower. Because in order to survive and thrive, you will need to be active on the main platforms, competing in an online popularity contest with other companies.

Welcome to social media marketing (SMM).

Formal definition of SMM: A form of Internet marketing utilizing social networking sites as marketing tools, thereby gaining traffic, brand exposure, and interaction with customers through social media.

Informal definition of SMM: Flirting with your biggest fans!


This chapter begins with an overview of the SMM landscape before exploring the goals it can help you achieve and the channels you can use. In Chapter 7 you will see how to implement and analyze your social media campaigns.

The four stages within the iterative process are shown in Figure 6.1; the first two are described here:

1. Goals. The chapter kicks off by explaining social media formats and how you can choose the best ones to achieve your objectives. You will also learn how to form an effective SMM strategy by setting goals—because even though social media is reactive, your strategy still needs to be built slowly so that it can improve gradually over time. A bit of foresight now will work wonders down the line!

2. Channels. This stage will cover the different channels in which social marketing likes to swim—including the usual suspects, such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+, YouTube, and blogs. It will help you to identify which of these channels will increase customer reach and show you how to improve your profiles as they grow.

Figure illustrating four-stage SMM process denoted by four circles connected by arrows and arranged in a circular manner. Starting clockwise from top left the circles represent goals, channels, implement, and analyze

Figure 6.1 Four-Stage SMM Process

As SMM is such a big topic, stages 3 and 4 will be covered in the next chapter to avoid an information overload!

Key Terms and Concepts

Social media marketing is an amazing way for businesses to keep solid relationships with existing customers and to woo new ones. This chapter will help you to play Cupid by:

· Understanding the concepts and mechanics of social media and how you can use them to your advantage.

· Discovering how to set up engaging Facebook and Twitter business profiles.

· Creating a professional LinkedIn profile and participating in LinkedIn groups to expand your network.

· Running effective Google+, YouTube, and blogging accounts.

Social media gives you the power to direct your business's online life. Whether that life is long and happy depends on what channel you post to and how you manage your profiles—in short, how you maximize your social media marketing.

This chapter will help you become a social media butterfly and starts with an overview of the world in which you can fly.

Stage 1: Goals

In order to meet your social media goals, you need to understand the game first. This is the first step of the process and is highlighted in Figure 6.2. This section will act as a pre-match pep talk, equipping you with everything you need to help you:

· Distinguish between earned, owned, and paid media.

· Recognize the most common forms of social media.

· Grasp what makes social media marketing effective and the implications for businesses.

· Identify different SMM goals and explain how to set your own.

Figure illustrating four-stage SMM process focusing on the first stage (goals). The circle representing goals is shaded

Figure 6.2 Focus on the First Stage in the SMM Process

Media Types: Earned, Owned, and Paid

Before getting into how you can promote yourself on social media, let's look at the options that are available. You can choose to post content through the following media types:

· Earned media is free publicity, generated by fans and customers in response to content they like (your kudos for making them happy).

· Owned media includes communications that a brand creates and controls via its own platform (you blow your own trumpet).

· Paid media is any paid activity that drives traffic to owned media properties (you pay up for the shout out).

Whatever option you choose, remember that there will be hidden costs involved. An engaging profile requires great copy, multimedia assets like photos and videos (which you may want to take yourself), and a solid strategy. And since there is no point having the world's greatest profile if no one knows you exist, you will have to fork out for some kind of advertising to reach socially tuned-in audiences.

Finding and training the right staff, compiling digital assets, and advertising your business takes time and money—so bear that in mind when setting out your short- and long-term goals.

Forms of Social Media

Social media comes in all shapes and sizes. Facebook and Twitter are two of the big boys but blogging platforms such as WordPress, review sites such as TripAdvisor, and Podcast platforms such as PodOmatic can also be classified as social media channels. And let us not forget YouTube, Vimeo, Flickr, and Instagram, which have surged in popularity thanks to people's love of capturing moments and sharing them with friends.

Whatever the format, remember that social media never sleeps. Smartphones have completely revolutionized how people connect with one another—so businesses can now reach consumers on the move, 24 hours a day. Managing this can be a full-time job in itself, but one that can reap unlimited rewards.

Stakeholders of SMM

The three key players within social media are users, advertisers, and social platforms. And they have quite an interdependent relationship—users want to have a place to engage and can do so on social platforms. These in turn need to be paid for, since server space and staff do not come for free! The advertiser covers these costs and also uses the platform to reach users. The relationship is shown in Figure 6.3.

Figure depicting the three key players within social media represented by a three dimensional triangle. The top, left, and right vertices denote users, advertisers, and social platforms, respectively

Figure 6.3 The Three Key Players within Social Media

The way in which users interact with websites has changed considerably. Initially they visited sites and little else happened. Then so-called transactional experiences appeared and users were able to buy online. The likes of eBay introduced a dialogue between users and advertisers for the first time and marked the beginning of the interactive process.

Today this dialogue has expanded into a full-blown conversation between users and advertisers around the world. The continual communication has allowed users to tell businesses what they want (through user-generated content) and for businesses to stand out from the crowd with original and engaging profiles.

Trying It On for Size

Social media marketing may not be for everyone. Before jumping headfirst into the social media rabbit hole, consider whether SMM will fit your business, and if so, which channel (or channels) you should use.

Here are the main considerations you should take into account:

· Target market. Does your ideal audience use social media? If the answer is hell, no! then there is no point in wasting time and money.

· Public reach. Social media blurs the lines between personal and public content. Users can rate and slate your business very quickly and visibly, so just make sure you have nothing to be ashamed of. Your reputation and credibility are in their hands. Also, since you have greater access to a user's interests and behaviors, you need to be careful about how you use this data.

· Instant communication. When social media strategies are put in place, communicating in a traditional way becomes a thing of the past. Your interactions with consumers are no longer monitored, controlled, or carefully managed, as the process is much faster. This does give your brand a more human, approachable feel but it also means slip-ups can happen easily. So be careful if your content manager is in a bad mood!

· Ongoing nature. Social media is not a six-week campaign—it has a calendar with no endpoint. That can be quite a scary thought, but by continually adjusting goals and tweaking objectives, the process becomes far less intimidating. Deep breaths.

Going for Gold

Once upon a time…you decided whom you wanted to reach and thought of a great way to tell those people you exist—social media. Next you created a profile so amazing that users started to consider your brand and some even became customers. You made the transaction process so seamless, customers kept coming back and told all their friends. And you all lived happily ever after!

For a fairytale ending like this you will need to get some specific goals in place. These may include:

· Business goals like lead generation, sales, and cost reduction.

· Customer service goals like consumer satisfaction and the chance of referrals/repeat business.

· Product goals, such as research, design, and enhancement.

· Communication goals to build your brand personality and reputation (with an effective crisis management strategy in place).

· Marketing goals, such as branding, awareness, and engagement.

Once you have set out your goals, you can explore the best channels to help you achieve them. The next section will cover these different channels in detail and how you can use them to enhance your business online.

Stage 2: Channels

Having touched on the various forms of SMM, whether it is right for your business, and the goals it can help you achieve, let's move on to stage 2 of the iterative process, which is highlighted in Figure 6.4 —channels. Starting with a close look at Facebook, you will learn how to:

· Understand the differences between personal profiles and business Facebook pages.

· Effectively create and promote a well-maintained Facebook page.

· Generate engagement with compelling posts and use insights to see what works best.

Figure illustrating four-stage SMM process focusing on the second stage (channels). The circle representing channels is shaded

Figure 6.4 Focus on the Second Stage in the SMM Process


The Facebook platform has exploded over the past 10 years as a social and marketing tool for millions of people around the world. With 1.4 billion active users—of whom 1.25 billion log on via mobile—the opportunity for digital marketers is huge. Users can be reached 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Facebook is one of the best platforms with which to engage people.

You are probably already familiar with personal profiles, where friend requests are made and accepted or declined. This is a pretty time consuming (and often heartbreaking) way of trying to connect with your audience. Users can ignore your requests, so you do not have the instant connectivity you crave. Also, personal profiles are not optimized for search engines (i.e., they do not show up in Google searches). This is great for individual users who want their privacy protected, but not so great for brands trying to grow their online presence.

Instead, most brands create a business page from a personal account. These pages:

· Can have unlimited likes or connections, and take just one click of the Like button for a Facebook user to connect.

· Are optimized for search engines (because the open settings place the page in the public realm).

· Include a large amount of analytics, such as the ages, genders, and locations of an audience and how often it interacts with certain posts. You can also track your page's performance and the posts on it—that is, how many people the page reaches and whether it is engaging users.

With business pages, it is easier to tweak content to better suit your audience—which is why smart brands go for them over personal profiles.

Facebook uses an algorithm called EdgeRank to organize a business page's content. It looks at friends (or “liked” organizations) on the page to feed the most relevant content for each user into one continuous stream. This stream is called News Feed—and it is the most important piece of real estate you can get your eager mitts on.

You may be under the assumption that page “likes” mean nothing. If so, you have been sadly misinformed! Since EdgeRank promotes posts that have been published and liked by friends over other types of content, each “like” means your posts have a greater chance of connecting with the people you want.

However, not everyone who has connected with you will see each post you publish on her News Feed. So how can you become more visible to your followers? Good question. Read on to find out…

Creating Your Business Page

Start by considering your identity. Ask yourself:

· Am I a local business or a place?

· Am I a brand or a product?

· Am I an artist, a band, or a public figure?

Your answers will help you pick the most relevant option available. Next, you need to make your page scream, “Look at me!”—in the most professional way possible, of course.

Some key points to bear in mind when creating your page:

· Include your business details. There is no point in having a million friends if none of them know how to contact you.

· Upload an eye-catching cover photo in addition to a suitable profile picture. Remember, your profile picture will appear beside your business name, so choose one that represents you well—poorly lit selfies will not cut it.

· Keep the tone and style of your brand consistent throughout the page.

· Update your page with entertaining and informative content regularly to keep users engaged. Even though people may “like” your page, getting them to come back and interact with it is a whole different story. The updates that fans see in their News Feed should make them want to take a closer look.

· Add your page to your Facebook favorites—it will be easier to find once you log in and you will also be notified whenever users interact with your page, meaning you will have more opportunities to connect with them.

· Make sure you have at least two administrators to manage your page effectively. This minimizes the risk of the page going down or being hacked—forgotten passwords will be less of a worry, too.

Making Your Page Engaging

As marketers, it is massively important to only post engaging content on Facebook, always bearing in mind that impact is key. Your customers do not want to hear what you had for breakfast (unless of course, it is related to your business!).

In order for your post to gain traction, it must be relevant, interesting, and easily understood. Convoluted and complicated posts will not encourage people to “like” or share what you have to say. And those buttons are what can help you grow your fan base from hundreds to thousands and beyond.

You can optimize each post by asking whether the user will:

· Find it interesting or funny.

· Click on the post to find out more.

· Share it with their friends.

If you think your post will not have any of the above effects, it probably needs work.

In theory, Facebook offers unlimited space for posts; however according to research carried out by Jeff Bullas, Facebook posts with no more than 40 characters receive 86 percent more engagement than posts with a higher character count. While writing a long paragraph is easier, and whittling down descriptions to 40 characters or fewer means having to get more inventive, the statistics don't lie. As with all online content, the golden rule is to keep it short and simple. Use a conversational tone and try to evoke a response with your posts—in this way you can encourage two-way interactions with users.

Some tips to bear in mind:

· Paint a picture. Emotive imagery is a great way of catching people's attention.

· Try, try again. Okay, so you may not get it right first time…or the second…or even the third! But keep going. Change one or two things at a time until you find a style that works.

· Quality, not quantity. Avoid publishing hundreds of dull and dreary posts every week. Instead scale back on the number and only post content when it serves a purpose.

· Stay positive. No one likes a Negative Nancy! Use an upbeat tone and make your page a place where people will feel good about themselves.

· Make them laugh. Throw in a little humor where possible—a witty status or a funny picture can go a very long way.

· Get the camera rolling. Video has emerged as the new power tool in the world of Facebook. Clips play automatically in News Feeds, which immediately hooks people in. Engaging videos get shared by personal and business pages alike, with the potential to reach a massive global audience.

· Stay balanced. Even though the aim of your content will most likely be to drive revenue, you will risk losing users' interest if you constantly go for the hard sell. Instead, sweeten them up and earn their trust by sharing content that interests them, even if it does not directly relate to your business. An effective page means striking a balance between viral content and business-led posts. So by all means, include your deals and offers to drive revenue, but mix it up with entertaining, educational, and engaging content to encourage interaction.

Using Analytics

You could be posting the cleverest content in the world, but without knowing how to analyze it, it becomes as useful as a waterproof teabag.

Studying a post's reach can reveal lots of interesting data about its activity, such as:

· Did it go to 15,000 people or just 1,000?

· How many of your fans did it reach? When are these fans online?

· Is the post's success due to paid reach or organic reach?

By the way, organic reach is how well your posts perform by themselves, without paying for any advertising, while paid reach is boosted advertising for your posts. Sponsored posts will reach audiences that currently aren't fans as well as your own followers, so when a post is performing well, you might want to pay for boosting its reach. This will increase the likelihood of your post being seen on Facebook, while generating more likes for your page.

Analytics can help you when you're writing your content and when you're deciding on the best time of day to post it for maximum traction. You can learn which topics are hot to adjust future content accordingly. Also, since there is no such thing as bad press, you can even use negative feedback (if fans hide your posts, report them as spam, or are prompted to unlike your page) to learn from your mistakes. We all make them, after all.

About Social Plug-Ins

Not only can you connect with your audience on the Facebook platform, you can also use social plug-ins to encourage these connections to share their experiences across the web. The plug-ins appear on different websites but the information in them comes directly from Facebook.

For example:

· The Like button allows users share pages and content from your website back to their Facebook profile in one click.

· The Send button allows users send content privately from your site to their friends.

· Embedded Posts allow you easily insert public posts on your site.

· The embedded video player lets you add Facebook videos to your site.

· The page plug-in lets you embed components from your Facebook page right into your website.

· The comments plug-in allows users comment on your website's content using their own Facebook accounts.

· The Follow button allows users subscribe to the public updates of other users or companies on Facebook.

Facebook Features

You can encourage likes, shares, and comments on your Facebook page and beyond by offering your fans incentives.

A popular way of doing this is to run a contest in which you ask your fans and their friends to “like” a post and comment on it, before entering them into a contest to win a prize. The prize can be anything, from a weekend away to a novelty hat. Usually it is something pretty awesome, so the post and your page get a lot of traction. It should also be relevant to your industry, so if you are a dog walker, offering an iPad might be a bit of a stretch.

There are some considerations around running contests on Facebook:

· Facebook does not want to be liable for any of your terms and conditions. So make sure that you utilize its tools for the right reasons and that your competitions are fair.

· Stick to “like” and “comment” as your calls to action, meaning you ask people to “like” your page and to comment on the competition post. Newly enforced company-page policies now state that you cannot ask fans to share a contest post with their friends. If in breach of this rule, your contest could be cancelled and you may even risk having your page be suspended. Best to behave yourself and stay inside the lines.

· Manage the contest carefully, making it interesting, shareable, and engaging for your audience. Users are bombarded with a lot of salesy messages. How can you make yours stand out? Here are a few tips:

o Offer a prize that users will actually want.

o Include an eye-catching image and snappy copy, with a very clear call to action.

o Promote your contest daily until your deadline.

o Consider boosting your post to increase your reach.

Another way to attract fans on Facebook is through utilizing its Offers and Events features.

Creating an offer is done through a status update by clicking the Offer/Event+ button. Start by giving it a title, which can only contain 25 characters. Then describe your particular offer in 90 characters or fewer and make sure to include a call to action.

If your offer is an online purchase, use an online redemption link. Facebook will then email the individual user who claims your offer. Users can redeem in-store offers by simply walking into your store with a printout of the e-mail, or a saved version on their phone. Simple!

Events are a great way of increasing brand awareness and they can be easily customized. Take for example an event page for a Kodaline concert in Figure 6.5, which has a huge cover image of the band attached to the event.

A screenshot image depicting a Facebook event page for a Kodaline concert having a huge cover image of the band attached to the event

Figure 6.5 Facebook Event Page

Source: Screenshot reproduced with permission of Facebook.

Since users share events with friends and connections, all of the imagery gets passed along too—which means great advertising for your company.

You can apply what you have learned from creating an effective Facebook page (how to maximize its reach with engaging content and how to analyze your results) to other social media channels, which will be covered in the upcoming sections. Stay tuned….


Introducing Twitter, another key player in the world of social media, which quickly grabs a hold of users' attention and encourages them to share and engage with content.

Soon you will be able to hold your own in the chirping world of Twitter, once you know how to:

· Set up a Twitter business account.

· Recognize the best ways of interacting with other users.

· Effectively promote your Twitter profile, utilizing features like social plug-ins and lists.

A Bird's-Eye View

Although Twitter's logo is a cute little blue bird, the platform is an information-sharing powerhouse and packs a powerful punch in terms of microblogging and connecting with other users.

Like Facebook, Twitter is a mobile platform that is constantly connected. It has over 280 million active users around the world—80 percent of whom are logging on via their smartphones. Not too shabby for a little bird, right?

The average number of followers per user is 208, and with over 500 million tweets sent every day, the platform is buzzing with activity all the time.

Creating Your Account

Private accounts mean that a user's tweets are protected from Google and other users are unable to retweet them. So as a business seeking promotion and publicity, you definitely want to go for the public option.

A few more things to bear in mind when getting set up:

· Your user name is limited to 15 characters, with no spaces, hyphens, or any other characters allowed.

· Your About Me section must be under 160 characters. So feel free to show off, but keep it short 'n' sweet.

· You must include a profile image and a background picture. As with Facebook, make sure your snaps are of a good quality and relevant to your company.

· Register your account as quickly as you can. The early Twitter bird catches the worm, after all!

When creating your Twitter handle (the name that appears alongside your account), let there be no confusion. It would be such a waste to go to all the trouble of setting up an amazing account, only to have people forget the name because your handle is too complicated.

Your handle should be:

· Relevant

· Short

· Registered early

· Unique

· Memorable

· On-brand

For example, take Manchester United's handle—@ManUtd. It does exactly what is says on the tin—it is just a shortened version of the account name itself. Loyal fans and glory supporters alike will easily remember that one.

Ready, Set, Tweet!

Once you have registered an account that looks great and has a memorable handle, you can start tweeting. Tweets are short messages of 140 characters or fewer. Take a look at the famous example in Figure 6.6.

A screenshot image depicting a world famous tweet by comedian Ellen DeGeneres. The tweet depicts selfie of many people standing in a group and it reads “If only Bradley's arm was longer. Best photo ever.&rdquo

Figure 6.6 World-Famous Tweet by Comedian Ellen DeGeneres

Source: Twitter.

See how a picture really can paint a thousand words? It had over 3 million retweets and is a perfect example of how powerful social media content can be. The tweet shown in Figure 6.7, from the popular marketing blog Mashable, includes a lot of content—call-to-action buttons, pictures, and key information—but it is well organized and easy to digest. Watch and learn.

A screenshot image depicting an example of an effective tweet by the popular marketing blog Mashable. The tweet reads “ A group of artists secretly installed this Edward Snowden statue in Brooklyn this morning.&rdquo

Figure 6.7 Effective Tweet from Mashable

Source: Twitter.

Twitter can be a very serious forum but it can also help your brand to let loose a little and have some fun. If in doubt about what to tweet, think back to what works best for Facebook and then do the same on Twitter. Your content should be short, snappy, and very visual. Track Social believe the ideal Twitter character count is between 70 and 100 characters. According to Salesforce's ‘Strategies for Effective Tweeting’, posts with a smaller number of characters than 100 have a 17 percent higher engagement rate than those that do not. If a post seems weak, do not publish just for the sake of it. Hold back and revisit it at a later time—maybe then inspiration will come and you can tweak it to make it stronger. If in doubt, leave it out!

More often than not, a link to something else will be contained in a tweet and this will count towards the character limit. A handy way to sidestep this is to make use of space-saving tools such as or Bitly, better known as URL shorteners.

For example, this could be the link you want to tweet:

Bit of a mouthful, right? By entering it into Bitly it gets condensed to something like this:

That's more like it! Every character is precious in a tweet, so if a link of 20 characters can be included instead of one with 87 characters, you have more room for a catchy line of copy.

Like Facebook posts, tweets are published from users' accounts and appear chronologically on a News Feed. Ads are also contained within this stream and are called promoted tweets.

This is where marketers can shine as the tweets they sponsor appear directly into the user's stream.

Twitter cards, such as the one shown in Figure 6.8, are large, interactive pieces of media within the News Feed. The message must still be 140 characters or fewer but it can also include:

· An image.

· A headline.

· A CTA button, which in this case is “read more.”

A screenshot image depicting a twitter card

Figure 6.8 Twitter Card

Source: Twitter.

Users can retweet and favorite this piece of content in the same way as ordinary tweets, so it will seem organic and does not immediately stand out as paid content.

Another great innovation from Twitter is adopting a carousel-style method for displaying ads within the feed, as seen in Figure 6.9.

A screenshot image depicting a twitter carousel ad

Figure 6.9 Twitter Carousel Ad

Source: Twitter.

These ads are similar to Twitter cards, but they run alongside one another. They are a really effective way of displaying multiple paid content posts without breaking away from the News Feed.

Remember, there is no point in having a witty and pretty account if no one knows it exists—especially if you have paid for certain tweets! When promoting your profile, seize every opportunity possible. You can publicize it:

· At events

· In newsletters

· On television and radio

· In social ads

· In your email signature

· On webinars/talks/slides

· On business cards and posters

· During any offline conversations

Key Features

Twitter has a few great tools to help you stay ahead of the social media game:

Twitter lists. This handy feature allows you to segment audiences and organize followers within a pool of Twitter accounts.

For example, you might want to compile a list of speakers for an event. Attendees can then access the public list and follow the speakers, instantly making the event more interactive and connected. Or if you work in the digital space, your list might consist of the top companies that tech-savvy users would be interested in. Happy users = loyal followers!

You can create a Twitter List in four simple steps:

1. Click Lists from your profile page or from the drop-down menu under your profile pic on the top right-hand side.

2. Click the Create New List button.

3. Enter the name of your list and a short description before choosing whether you want it to be private (only accessible to you) or public (anyone can subscribe to it).

4. Click Save List.

Social plug-ins. Like Facebook, Twitter uses lots of these to tempt visitors into sharing content from different websites.

The plug-ins include:

· The Share a Link button.

· The Follow button.

· The Hashtag button.

· The Mention button.

Once they have found their way onto a company's website, people can tweet directly and share content through Twitter.

Advanced search. Many businesses use this feature to search for businesses they wish to follow. By doing so they can keep an eye on competition, stay up-to-date with industry standards, and become involved in relevant conversations. It is pretty simple to use—just type Twitter advanced search into Google and off you go!

Geolocation services. These allow users to selectively add locations, such as cities and neighborhoods, to their tweets. It is a cool way of informing followers where in the world you are tweeting from and means you can share more than just a link or status update.

Multimedia elements. Images and video can also be added to tweets—and it gets better. Video can now be recorded within Twitter itself! Just grab your phone, hit record, and get ready for your close-up.

To Tweet or Not to Tweet…

Just as with Facebook, posting regularly to a Twitter account may not suit every business. However, it does have some key advantages:

· It enables one-to-one conversations to take place like never before.

· It is a very public forum that may be quick to tear down individuals and businesses but is even quicker to build them up.

· The all-powerful hashtag (which groups tweets into one collective space) has been responsible for bringing attention to the world's greatest travesties and its biggest accomplishments. It gives you instant access to the global stage—if you like that kind of thing.

Even if you are a total Twitter newbie, we recommend that you at least give it a try. Because soon enough, you are bound to discover just how rewarding a little blue bird can be.


Now that you have a clear understanding of how Facebook and Twitter operate, let's move on to LinkedIn. It is a platform whose aim is to “connect the world's professionals and enable them to be more productive and successful.”

This section will equip you with all the know-how you need to:

· Create an engaging LinkedIn profile.

· Use the platform effectively by participating in groups and engaging with other companies' pages.

· Advertise job vacancies and career opportunities in your organization.

About LinkedIn

Believe it or not, LinkedIn is a year older than Facebook—it was born back in 2003. And it has grown quite a bit over the past 13 years, with 347 million active users and two new sign-ups every second. The platform has a massive reach, across more than 200 countries and territories.

So who uses LinkedIn? Well lots of people, really—more than 3 million companies have LinkedIn company pages and 94 percent of recruiters use it to vet prospective employees and their résumés. Although it is in essence a social networking platform, it has a more professional, industry-focused approach than the likes of Facebook or Twitter.

Creating Your Profile

You can boost your company's credibility by encouraging all employees to set up a professional LinkedIn profile. It humanizes your brand, and by showing off the individual skilled workers involved in its day-to-day running, it helps people to get to know you better.

When creating your own profile, you need to fill in sections about your work history, education, and relevant education to give people a taste of who you are. The next step is to write a LinkedIn summary, which will appear above all of the other sections and is what most people will see first. This is the area where users can really sell themselves, and to do that effectively, sentences should be SMART, as shown in Figure 6.10.

Figure depicting SMART criteria represented in the form of ascending steps. Starting from bottom to top the steps denote time-bound, relevant, achievable, measurable, and specific

Figure 6.10 SMART Criteria

Source: The SMART acronym was first coined by George T. Doran and was inspired by Peter F. Drucker's The Practice of Management, published in 1954.

Try to avoid the use of fluffy language, such as “I'm a great leader.” Instead say, “I'm a great team leader. I have led a team of 15 people who have risen in the ranks and achieved sales uplift of over 20 percent.” Such a specific and measurable statement will be far more attractive to prospective employers and clients alike.

Rich links, images, presentations, and even videos can be contained within every LinkedIn profile. Each section can be linked back to a reference or can include an image or video. These make profiles come alive, and if managed effectively, can really help you to stand out from the crowd.

With LinkedIn, there is no place to hide—your skills, that is. They are displayed prominently in your profile once you, your friends, and your colleagues add them. And since it is only polite to pay it forward, you can endorse your connections in return. Simply go to their profiles, see which skills you want to endorse, and then click (you guessed it) Endorse. No rocket science required.

Another way you can boost credibility is by including personal recommendations. The rule of thumb when it comes to LinkedIn recommendations is that both users must be connected. One will send a recommendation to another through the platform, which will automatically be added to their LinkedIn profile after it has been approved.

When building your profile, take the time to utilize your connections—because the more skills endorsed and testimonials received, the juicier your profile will be. Also, make sure to update skills and endorsements as you increase your connections so you are seen in the most professional light possible.

Building Your Network

LinkedIn can be a very lonely place if you are not engaging and connecting with others. Take the leap and approach as many people as possible, including:

· Email contacts

· Alumni

· Colleagues

· Friends

· Family

This is no time to play coy. You should follow as many contacts and influencers within your marketplace as you can. There are leaders across a whole range of industries on LinkedIn, including Richard Branson and Barack Obama, who both write for the site regularly.

By following specific companies and publications such as Business Insider, you will be notified in your LinkedIn stream whenever they post new content—that way you can stay up-to-date and not miss anything important.

You can chase all the people you like, but how do you let other people to find you? Connectivity plays a massive role within LinkedIn communities and so you need to put yourself out there. Having a vanity URL makes it easier for people to find you. Here is what the link to your profile might look like without a vanity URL:

Not exactly snappy, is it?

To get a vanity URL, click underneath your profile picture and your public URL will appear. You can then shorten it to something like this:

Much better!

Just like Facebook and Twitter, LinkedIn places social plug-ins on various websites so that users can easily share content when outside the platform. To get started, go to

Groups and Pages

LinkedIn groups are probably the most social aspect of the platform, as they are where most discussions take place.

By participating in these groups, you can maintain an active discussion with peers and colleagues, as seen in Figure 6.11 —you may even be seen as an industry thought leader.

A screenshot image representing a LinkedIn group discussions tab depicting a discussion between digital animation professionals

Figure 6.11 LinkedIn Group Discussions Tab

Source: LinkedIn.

Company pages are similar to Facebook business pages; while LinkedIn profile pages represent individuals, its company pages allow fans to connect with brands.

So what does it take to start a company page? First of all, more than five people within your company must have a LinkedIn profile that states that they work for you. You can then use your company's email address to apply for a LinkedIn company page.

Next, it is time to populate your page with as much relevant detail as possible, such as:

· Your location

· Your URL

· How many employees you have

· The main industry your company is in

· The year it was founded

· Whether it is a privately held or public liability company

Finally, add your logo and branding to the page. It is a really visual way for people to see what your company is about. An example of a Linkedin company page is shown in Figure 6.12.

A screenshot image depicting LinkedIn company page home tab for Danberley Corp

Figure 6.12 LinkedIn Company Page Home Tab

Source: LinkedIn.

Company pages can also contain videos, images, employee testimonials, and employer information—all of which play a part in selling your business as a great place to work! Subpages of company pages are called showcase pages. They are designed to grow a specific community around a particular product or division of a business.

Another type of LinkedIn page that offers branding opportunities is the career page, seen as a tab in Figure 6.12.

When recruiting your own staff it is useful to have a LinkedIn career page, as you can showcase your personality, highlight available jobs, and include some of your employees (plus their testimonials, if you like). However, if you do not have a LinkedIn recruiter account, this option is pretty expensive (around $6,000 per person every year).

Is LinkedIn Right for You?

Most likely, yes. LinkedIn lets you showcase your strengths while connecting with like-minded business owners and industry leaders outside of your everyday life. There is always more we can learn—and LinkedIn is a great place to do it.

Both personal and company pages can be brilliant marketing tools for your business, as long as they are managed in an effective and engaging manner. As with all of the channels that this chapter has discussed, you get out of it what you put in!


You now know how to utilize some of the biggest social media networks to help grow both your online presence and your business. Keep focused on stage 2 of the process, it's important to master!

Next up is an introduction to a platform managed by one of the biggest Internet companies in the world—Google. You will gain a key understanding of Google+ so that you can:

· Know what Circles are and how you can use them to connect with other users.

· Understand the benefits that Hangouts can have for your business.

· Create an engaging Google+ business page and track its results.

About Google+

Google+ is a social networking service with 1 billion registered users and 540 active monthly users. It combines lots of Google's products, including YouTube, Gmail, Blogger, Maps, Android, and Google My Business. If you have a Gmail account, you already have a Google+ account, which may come as a surprise to you!

Your account can be as public or as private as you want. You can choose to display or hide your email, add or remove your phone number, and even limit who can see certain posts and photos.

Google Circles

These are groups of people that users share content with or follow.

There are family circles, a close-friends circle, a colleagues circle, and a news and updates circle (to name just a few). As you can see in Figure 6.13, these groups can be edited and shared easily by just dragging and dropping them to your chosen locations.

A screenshot image depicting Google circles

Figure 6.13 Google Circles

Source: Google and the Google logo are registered trademarks of Google Inc.; used with permission.

Within these circles, users can segment shared posts—so if someone wants to keep a photo of a family vacation private among family members, they can share the photo on Google+ but only let those in their family circle to view it. Google+ offers a really targeted way of sharing content you care about with only certain people, as opposed to sharing it with the entire planet.

In this way, it is a lot less public than Twitter or Facebook, which may or may not appeal to you. However, just like those guys, Google+ allows users to use social plug-ins to share content in a more public way. These plug-ins are imported into a website, and people can +1 your content (which is Google lingo for “like”). When using Google Plus, your first sentence must be a very gripping teaser, which means it should be 60 characters or fewer.

Google Hangouts

One of the best features in Google+ is its Hangouts feature. This is similar to live video conferencing or Skype but it brings in Google Chat. There is also Hangouts on Air, meaning live Google Chat can be hosted and then broadcast on YouTube—great if you want to share an instructional video about your product.

Many brands have done this already. Rovio (the brand behind Angry Birds) did a live Hangout with all of their developers to show how they built the game and the different tools and characters that are involved. People were able to ask questions through Twitter or Google+, which were then answered live online as people watched via YouTube.

That is about as interactive as it gets, right? Letting your customers ask live questions and having them answered by relevant people in real time, all online, all through Google+.

Getting Started

You can create a Google+ page for your business by going to

Remember, you will need a Gmail account first—visit to sign up for one. You can then create circles and build communities by connecting through your email and with other people on Google+.

If unsure how to make Google+ work for your brand, take a leaf out of Cadbury's book. They use it to:

· Create communities around particular Cadbury products, for example, by giving tips on using Cadbury chocolate in baking.

· Promote new ads on Google+ and create communities around all the hype.

· Broadcast live product demonstrations via Hangouts; for example, the Cadbury Creme Egg Bake hangout with Eric Lanlard, which got a huge number of views and a lot of traction on YouTube.

You could do the same to create a buzz about your own product, or even about an upcoming event.

Google+ Analytics

Google+ is connected to everything else in the world of Google, so you can instantly see the origin of all your social traffic.

On Google Analytics you can see social reports for your website, which means you can measure how Google+ has contributed to social sharing and conversations. This is a really cool tool that is completely unique to Google+.

That is the lowdown on Google+. Although maybe less known or used than other channels, it is a simple yet effective and highly visual marketing tool with a massive global reach. It is not one to be ignored.

Across all of these social media channels, the importance of video has remained consistent. Video offers brands a new way of connecting with followers. Coming up, you will see how you can maximize your reach on the big daddy of video platforms—YouTube.


Video has more power than any other form of media when it comes to engaging users. In the video-sharing world, the YouTube platform remains king.

Discover what it means to say “lights, camera, action” to your business and get ready to:

· Understand how YouTube works and what some of its key features are.

· Effectively set up and promote your own channel.

· Know the types of video you can use and how to promote them across the web.

About YouTube

The following stats from YouTube are truly mind boggling:

· YouTube now has more than a billion unique users every single month.

· YouTube now claims over 400 hours of content uploaded every single minute.

· The number of hours people spend watching videos (aka watch time) on YouTube is up 60 percent y/y.

· More video is uploaded to YouTube in one month than the three major U.S. television networks have created in 60 years!

· YouTube is localized in 74 countries, across 61 languages.

So if you were thinking that YouTube was just a bunch of cat videos, think again!

Setting Up Your Channel

If you already have a Google account, you automatically have access to a YouTube account—you just need to link the two. YouTube channels should look clear and uncomplicated, and cover photos act as great branding for your channel in the same way they do for other social media platforms.

Once you have set up an account, you can access features and buttons such as Like, Subscribe, Watch Later, and Watch History.

There are a wide variety of features within YouTube, all making it possible to interact with different communities across the site and to hear what they are saying about brands, competition, and the industry in general. These include:

· Comments. You have the option to have a comments section enabled for every video uploaded onto YouTube. People can also give a video a thumbs-up or a thumbs-down, which was unique to YouTube for a long time, as the only site that let users not like content online. Be aware that the Thumbs Down button leaves your brand vulnerable and could negatively affect your business.

· Subscribe button. This can be placed directly into a YouTube video and is a great way of encouraging engagement.

Types of Video

Screen recordings are pretty popular with brands. These are captured by using low-cost tools such as Camtasia Studio or ScreenFlow, and such recordings are perfect for product demonstrations.

A webinar is another great way for businesses to interact with audiences. It might be a 20-minute video showcasing a product or a snappy piece with five useful tips and tricks. There are lots of webinar tools out there. So get creating, get recording, and get broadcasting live to your subscribers. You can then store your webinar on your YouTube channel for people to watch later.

If you prefer to stream your content live, you can use Hangouts On Air (introduced in the previous section). After YouTube users have watched it live it is automatically recorded and uploaded to YouTube for people to watch after the event. The most popular types of video on YouTube are computer screen recording, webinars, live video, and recorded video.

Creating and Sharing Content

YouTube content can be created in many different ways. You can bring in the big guns by using professional tools like Final Cut and PowerDirector. However, these require skill, training, and resources (particularly time and money)—and even though the outcome is high-quality videos that look really professional, these videos only make up a small portion of content on YouTube.

If you are just starting out and do not have a very generous fairy godmother or access to high-quality recording equipment, you will probably want to consider other options—for instance, flash tools like Animoto to compile images, videos, and music. And of course, you can always film videos from your trusty phone; in fact, a smartphone video is the most popular format on YouTube.

Mobile journalism (mojo) is the new buzzword when it comes to creating content. Long gone are the days of shaky handheld videos (unless that is the style you want!).

A smartphone lens is probably just as good as that of some professional cameras. Also, free editing tools (such as iMovie on the iPhone or YouTube Editor) can be used to edit footage quickly and easily. Making the most out of these free tools when starting out is a great way of keeping costs to a minimum. There are lots of mobile video, audio recording, and editing tools available for both iPhone and Android—simply find out which one works best for you.

Once your content is live, there are a couple of ways it can be shared from YouTube to other social platforms. Users can click the Share button when watching your video, and that will produce a direct link. Alternatively, they can click the Embed button to generate a piece of HTML code, which can then be imported into a website, as can be seen in Figure 6.14. The YouTube video will sit live on the webpage and visitors can play it without having to leave the site.

A screenshot image depicting how to embed a YouTube video on a website

Figure 6.14 How to Embed a YouTube Video

Source: Screenshot reproduced with permission of YouTube.

Keep your eyes and ears open to see if anyone is vlogging (video blogging) about your business—then you can share their videos, too. Simply type your product or service into YouTube Search to see if you have made it into the grapevine. As with all social media channels, you should embrace every opportunity you can to share the fact that people are talking about you!

Making It Work for You

The world of video sharing can seem pretty overwhelming to those who have never dabbled in it before—so here are a few pearls of wisdom to remember:

· Promote your business channel to your customers by embedding videos across your website. Show them you are tech and media savvy.

· Subscribe to relevant YouTube channels. It is a good way of keeping tabs on the competition.

· Post regular and engaging video updates. Three-year old content will not cut it.

· Share product demonstrations, including helpful hints and tips. Because sharing is caring.

Now that you know how to create profiles and channels across the major social media platforms, let's take a look at the world of blogging.


There are millions of web logs (blogs) online right now that cover a wide range of subjects—from travel to baking to the glamorous world of stain removal, this is an integral channel of stage 2.

Whatever your business, you can benefit greatly by creating a blog. This section will help you get started by:

· Recognizing that blogs provide strong SEO benefits and give credibility to your business.

· Understanding best blogging practices.

· Seeing how blogs can be shared on social media platforms to increase awareness.

Blogs in Brief

A blog is a piece of content hosted and shared on a website. It should be updated regularly to include the latest news, trends, and events. Blogs give businesses credibility, as well as a voice in the market, and well-written blogs will keep visitors coming to a website even when other content or offers have not changed.

The most popular blogging platform is WordPress—it is used around the world and is known for its safety, ease of use, and customizable options. Another platform that has really caught on is Tumblr. This microblogging platform and social networking website allows users to post text, photos, quotes, links, music, and videos—all from their browsers.

Best Practices

There are many different styles of blogging—some people prefer one that is chatty and informal, others one that is downright nuts. Blogging is a very open and creative form of social media, however, certain guidelines should be followed to ensure your content is engaging and professional:

· Your posts should be anywhere from 1,000 to 2,500 words long. The actual length will be dependent on topic and audience, but any fewer than 1,000 may fall short of Google's algorithm and reduce your chances of showing up in the first pages of search results.

· Include at least one to two images per post to make the post eye-catching.

· Ask open questions at the end of each post to encourage engagement.

· Pack a punch—your content should be easy to consume and organized with the help of lists, bullet points, and headers.

· Keep a conversational tone and avoid industry jargon at all costs.

· Include links within your posts: Back linking to a particular resource is a great way of adding credibility to your blog.

· Be consistent and make sure your content is strong, all of the time. Once you build momentum, keep going—post regularly and don't leave weeks between posts.

· Add relevant tags and keywords to your posts to optimize them for search engines. If your posts are about mobile marketing, make sure to add some tags around mobile!

For inspiration, check out the popular blogging website BuzzFeed. Most of its articles utilize listicles, which are lists that grab your attention right away. The headlines of these lists might be “37 ways to embarrass your dog” or “15 epic cat fails.” Given headlines like these, people expect really funny and engaging content—and they get it too, making BuzzFeed one of the most visited websites out there.

Business/Community Blogging

This is a really effective way of ensuring that your business stays on top of the industry. You can contribute to a community that is interested in a particular topic, allowing you to become a source of great content for people in that industry. In other words, you can show off.

Once you have started blogging, you can gain traction by asking for your blog to be hosted by another, more popular blog that is relevant to your audience. In doing this, you can showcase your blogging skills and get off the ground more quickly than if you were to fly solo.

Promoting Your Blog

Blogging is a powerful way of keeping your brand in front of existing connections, but it also helps you to reach new audiences around the world. You should spread the word about your blog on YouTube, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Google+, making use of these wonderfully connected social media platforms that have been discussed in the previous sections.

All of this cross-platform sharing will increase your blog's visibility online, which in turn will increase marketability. And digital marketers love a bit of marketability. Remember to add your blog's RSS feed to your Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn accounts. Doing so means that every time you post a new blog and hit Publish, the new entry will automatically filter out to these sites—you can choose to write your own description too.

Just as with all the channels covered so far, social plug-ins are a handy way of encouraging people to share your content across the web when users are not on your site. The WordPress plug-in Disqus, which enables people to promote their blogs on their LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter profiles, is a powerful tool when it comes to spreading the word about new posts.

Does blogging require time? Yes. Does it require effort? Definitely. But it is also a great way for companies to get their message out into the public sphere and to connect with a new audience. It's a channel that needs dedication and patience to build up, but it is certainly something worth doing.

So, What Have You Learned in This Chapter?

By now you will have a pretty good idea of how you can use social media to your company's advantage. Here are some final tips to help you on your way:

· Vary all of your content by keeping it funny, engaging, and informative.

· Be quick to respond to users' queries and interactions.

· Be professional, but know that letting your hair down once in a while is allowed and even encouraged!

· Remember that hard work always pays off. Responsive and effective social media platforms will really grow your business if you put the time in.

Now that you have emerged from your cocoon and become a social media butterfly, get ready to spring into action. Start setting up those company profiles today!

imGo to to access the case study on SMM as additional support material for this chapter.


Exercise 1

You are a four-star boutique hotel located in a suburb of Chicago. Your main target market is couples (aged 30 to 45) and small weddings (up to 70 guests). Weddings are a new venture for your business.

Using the business above:

1. Set up your social media goals under the following categories:

· Customer service goals

· Product goals

· Communication goals

· Marketing goals

2. List the social media channels you will use to market the business.

Note: When deciding what channels to use, consider the target market (gender, age, location) and the type of products and services you are offering.

Exercise 2

Log into Facebook and set up a business page for the hotel in exercise 1. Complete the following:

· Fill in About Us details.

· Add a profile picture.

· Set up a preferred audience page.

Exercise 3

Using the business page created above, choose five competitor pages and add them to Pages to Watch in your Facebook page Insights.


· Which page is at the top of the list?

· What posts worked well for them?

· What are the images/video used?

· What are the engagement levels?

What can you learn from this information?

Exercise 4

Log into Twitter and open Twitter Analytics.

· How many tweet impressions have you received over the past 28 days?

· How many mentions and tweets linked to you in the past 28 days?

· What is the top tweet for the current month?

· Who has been most engaged with you?

· Are the correct people connected with you and are your followers based on interests, location, and gender?

Exercise 5

You briefly met a potential client at a networking event but only managed to get his first name (Conor) and his job title (Product Specialist). You would like to connect with him by carrying out an advanced search for him on LinkedIn.

· Take note of additional search areas that are available in premium accounts.

· Refine your search until you have located this person.

· Draft a personalized connection request (it can be completed by visiting Conor's profile and clicking Connect).

im NOTE: The action plan for social media marketing can be found at the end of Chapter 7.