To start the year off on the right foot, we've compiled a checklist of tips to consider when you engage in web marketing this year. Happy New Year!
- Listen First. Before you dive head first into online conversations, take some time to listen to what others are saying about your organization, industry and competitors. Start with Google. Type in your organization, campaign or product name and see what comes up. You can also set up Google alerts to organize multiple searches. Dashboard tools like Google Reader, paper.li and Netvibes keep your searches out of your inbox and in one place. And don’t forget about Twitter. Subscription services like Buzzstream and Hootsuite have made it easy for you to search for key words in the twitterverse.
- Make Friends. If you've embraced the first resolution, then you already know who's talking about you. You can start to reach out to influencers by linking to their websites, subscribing to their blogs, following them on Twitter, or liking their Facebook fan pages. It’s important to connect with people, organizations and communities you’re genuinely interested in and can make contributions to in the future.
- Be Inspired by Others. Give credit and shout-outs to campaigns, brands and organizations you think are doing great work. Sites like Mashable, MarketingProfs and TechCrunch are generous when it comes to campaign mentions and online work they like. Check them out. Here at Capulet, we're consistently impressed with online advocacy campaigns like Code for America, 350.org and the World Wildlife Fund. All three of these organizations are a step ahead when it comes to connecting to their audiences and encouraging real world action.
- Never Lie on the Internet. Three principles that matter online are honesty, authenticity and trust, which is why you should never lie on the Internet. As tempting as it is to spout off generous fibs in the name of your brand, sooner or later you’ll be caught in the lie and your reputation will take a beating.Here’s a classic example. Back in 2009, a representative in charge of sales at the technology company, Belkin, was caught hiring people to post positive comments about Belkin products on Amazon.com. It didn’t matter that the reviewer had never owned the product or even tried it. The rep was trying to create the appearance of positive customer feedback and he got caught doing it. Eventually, news of the lie made its way onto Gizmodo, a popular tech new site, as well as various other news outlets.
- Don't be a Social Media Spammer. Social media spam has grown beyond your email inbox and can even appear in the form of your own Facebook feed. As an organization, you must follow opt-in marketing rules. For example, automatically adding bloggers to your press release distribution list is a no-no. Think personal pitches and real connections. Just because technology makes it increasingly easy to send marketing messages to others, doesn’t mean that you should.
These and other resolutions can be found in “Friends with Benefits” by Darren Barefoot and Julie Szabo of Capulet Communications.