So far Social Media Marketing Tools has discussed the philosophy of and reasons why you should begin your community by targeting users with whom you can have active conversations that generate an organic community around your brand. Now we’re going to talk about how to use tools available on the Internet to put that philosophy into actual practice.
There are many types of people who could be your audience, the most obvious are those on social networks who are using keywords that are a one-to-one match for your product / service. If you are a flower shop and someone is on a social network saying, “I love flowers.” or “I need a flower shop.” Great! That’s someone with whom you could really talk turkey.
Are There Social Media Tools for Finding My Audience?
The short answer is “yes” and social monitoring tools are BUILT into Social Managment Tool’s software. However, SMT’s goals are to see everyone succeed in social media, not just those who use our software. So if you’re new to social media, want to start building a community, and aren’t sure about our software yet read on. We’ll help you go it alone!
Start by searching for blogs. Don’t think of it as searching for blogs about your product or service, however. Get it in your head to search for blogs about your community (remember when we said the best way to talk to a community is from within it?).
You could just go to Google and search your keywords plus the word “blog” but you still won’t get any true insight. Google just tells you what most people click on after searching for those keywords +blog. Your community generally isn’t starting at zero and deciding to jump right in- your community is entrenched in its niche already! So how do you know what the most visited blogs are?
Check their blog rank! The users on the blogs you get at this site aren’t Googling keywords every day just to find the blog they visit every morning- so Google can’t help you find it. These users have the site bookmarked, linked to their RSS readers, they get updates in their email. Chances are the top blogs are getting less homepage views than they are direct links to articles and threads.
Just a side side note: Some of you are probably scratching your heads going, “Blogs? I thought we were talking social media. What’s this blog stuff! Isn’t that from the 90’s?” As with any good straw-man hypothetical, the answer is easy and clear. Blogs are social media. Plain and simple. Blogs are a two way dynamic conversation between author (the person who made the post) and reader (the people who comment on it). More importantly, for you, blogs are a two way conversation between readers and other readers! Take a look at the comment thread of any popular news story. You’ll find most people aren’t yelling at the author or giving the author praise- they’re talking to the other people commenting!
How To Market Through Blog Comments
So what do you do after you find some blogs relevant to your product or service? Well the one thing you NEVER do is hop into their community and ask them to join yours. Don’t ever go to a blog and leave a comment asking users to come to your website or worse yet your own blog.
Just create a user account. Almost every blogging service now allows users to put a “homepage” in their user data. What next? Comment on the blog. As an expert in your field you should have plenty to say- if you don’t then rethink your strategy. If you can’t have a conversation about your product or service you should rethink if you should even be IN that business, and definitely question if social media is the best way to promote yourself.
Begin to take part in the community with thoughtful and relevant posts. You don’t need to write a novel- just a line or two that helps start a conversation. If you want to show off your expertise, feel free- just always remember to be polite, friendly. If you must disagree with someone make sure that person isn’t the blog owner (its their site, after all), and remember that this is the internet- you won’t win any arguments. So don’t start any. Keep your messages positive, focus on what you DO agree with that others are saying, and expand on that, introduce new ideas, but not contrary ideas.
How does being everyone’s friend on another person’s blog benefit your business?
Blog communities are pretty tight knit- if you really wow someone with a great comment, or become a staple of the community over time people will want to know more about you. They’ll find out that you know so much about the topic because its your business. And if you’ve built up enough trust with them by being an active member of the community, your website, product or service will become part of their daily lives.
Sound like a lot of work? It is. But consider the value of a genuine connection and relationship with someone you KNOW is your target demographic. Then, compare that to the thousands of dollars you could be spending on a billboard in New York that some random person saw for three seconds.