Social Media Tool Set
Social media is all the rage. Nearly a billion people are on Facebook, Google+ got to 100 million active users in short order, and search has been turned on its head because Google and Bing are trying to figure out what really matters when ranking web pages.
In fact, social media signals are becoming more and more important in search engine algorithms and will continue to grow in importance. It is our belief that social media will become the most important component of search.
Twitter hasn’t stood still, either.
How to Use Twitter’s New Search Features buff.ly/Lg5RMt
— Bill Davis (@billspaced) July 17, 2012
We are proponents of watching emerging trends and either making our own way (sometimes very difficult) or following the leaders (let them prove the worth of a new trend before you commit)…in the case of social media, it is apparent to us that the market has spoken, the leaders have led, and now it’s just a matter of devising a method to get active and engaged in social media.
Now that we have established that you ought to be “doing social media,” it is time to share with you the tools and resources that are available to you for maximizing your social media efforts.
3 Keys to Social Media Success
Consistency, engagement, and clarity are the 3 keys to making social media work for you and your business. It is in these 3 areas where we will focus. We will show you what we use to manage our social media presence, helping us with our consistency, engagement, and clarity.
Your Social Media Tool Set
Like any professional, you will find that “doing the work” is a lot easier and can be done with higher quality if you have the right set of tools. That’s what this post is all about: Putting together a social media tool set that enables you to maximize your social media efforts.
Tool #1: A WordPress blog
The very first thing you need in your social media toolbox is a blog (i.e., web site). Everything starts there. You also need accounts at all of the major social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Google+, and Pinterest.
If you base your blog on WordPress, you will find many useful plugins that make it super-simple to “auto post” your blog posts to social media networks. Of course, you will need to produce a lot of content — either write it yourself, “curate” it, or recruit some guest bloggers to write for you. Of course, you can incorporate a hybrid approach that uses these methods in combination with one another.
We find it easier to write the content ourselves, with a little curation thrown in for good measure (curation is a fancy word for using another’s work—in excerpt form—and giving proper attribution to the author in your published piece). Not everything we write is 100 percent original (SHOCKING!!!); we make no bones about the idea that we get inspiration from all over the web, the news on television, radio shows, the newspaper, and even from our talks with businesses face-t0-face!
Tool #2: A syndication plugin
There are undoubtedly free ones out there, but Bryan and I use a premium WordPress plugin called “WP Syndicator.” With this plugin, you can automatically syndicate content or choose which posts you want to send out to social networks. The networks included are Blogger.com, WordPress.com, Twitter, Posterous, and Tumblr, among others. There aren’t a whole lot of networks, but these are the biggies anyway. Obvious omissions are Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google+.
But we have a solution for that, too (
Google+ is still in manual mode because Google has not opened their API to the public yet. ANNOUNCEMENT: Hootsuite now can publish to Google+. Read all about that here. See more about Hootsuite below.)
We chain Posterous together with other social networks, too, to cast a very wide net. We’re working on a “content syndication” site that will show you exactly how to make this work.
Tool #3: Hootsuite
We use Hootsuite to “auto post” our newest blog posts to Facebook and LinkedIn (and now Google+). It’s a free web service with a paid option. We use the whopping $5.99 per month paid version because we have quite a few web sites and the free version limits you to just a few.
It’s easy to set up: Just tell Hootsuite what your RSS feed URL is and you’re pretty much off to the races.
Tool #4: Digg Digg WordPress Plugin
A plugin that really rocks social media is called Digg Digg. Silly name, but highly effective. This plugin does not auto post or syndicate anything for you. But what it does do is encourage your visitors to share your content on their social media networks. This is critical to your social media success!
Getting others to promote your content is the key to success. The search engines are really looking at whose content gets shared, mentioned, “liked,” “plus one’d,” etc. These social signals are very important in terms of where your web pages get ranked as well as prompting your social circles to navigate to your content when they’re presented with choices.
A note on that: Which of the following two search engine results page listings are you most likely to click on, especially if you know me?
I suspect the latter. If I weren’t in your social circles, however, you might not see my name; however, the image naturally draws your eye to my listing and if I wrote a good meta description, you might just click on my link, even though my listing was about halfway down the page.
To summarize, this plugin helps you to get others to do your social media marketing for you.
In a future post, we will share with you some social media icon sets, graphics, and buttons that we use in our blog posts. We’ll also share with you a neat little tutorial on how to make graphics for your blog posts. Graphics in posts rock because they draw the reader’s attention, they look nice when reposting, and they lend themselves very well to sharing on image-intensive social media sites like Pinterest, Instagram, and Facebook.