How Do I Get My Web 2.0 and Social Networking World All Working Together in Synchronized Harmony?

Finding the most efficient ways of using photos, blogs and videos to promote your company on the Internet, far and wide!

It’s interesting, but as we enter into the latter half of 2009, we can look back less than a year and see how when it comes to social network marketing, we’re living history as we speak. There was a day when only a small handful of early adopters even knew what Twitter was. Now, it’s become part of our daily dialogue (can you say “Tweet”), the way “Google” has turned into “Googling” and become a verb.

From our July 2009 Gay Business Report, we went into great detail as to how and why to use Twitter, and over the past two months, even more has evolved on this topic that provides even greater relevancy to using Twitter in our business lives. But Twitter is still only part of the story, as it is both one of our primary TOOLS for managing our online content and one of our primary TOUCH POINTS for communicating our content’s message to a wide and relevant audience worldwide.

Our company’s main focus with clients is to break up the social networking world into two main components, the TOOLS used in social networking (photos, videos, blogs and micro-blogs) and the TOUCH POINTS used to broadcast the photo/video/blog message to as wide an audience as possible. There is a lot of gray area in this concept, as the tools used in placing photos, videos and blogs online are also some of the best touch points to use when broadcasting that message and communicating with as wide an audience as possible. When placing photos online, Flickr.com serves as both an excellent site to post, manage and maintain a user’s photo albums, as well as serves as one of the best sites to share photos with other Flickr.com users using some of their social networking features they’ve built into their site. Lastly, Flickr.com is also one of the best sites to use when virally spreading those photos far and wide online, as their RSS and XML?features, as well as their integration with Twitter.com, blogs and other sites.

It is this concept, using sites such as Flickr.com for photos, YouTube.com for videos, Blogger or Wordpress for blogs and Twitter.com for micro-blogs (also known as status updates) that should form the cornerstone of every social network marketing plan in place today. This content is then integrated with your social networking sites including Facebook, FriendFeed, LinkedIn and Twitter (yes, Twitter... thus the gray area of Twitter being both a tool and a touch point), and the more automated this integration is for you, the easier your life is and the more efficient your social network marketing strategy becomes.

For example, let’s say you have some photos you’ve taken of a business reception or mixer you attended, and you plan on using a few of those photos for your blog posting as well. Here’s what to do.

1. Upload the photos to Flickr.com and specify that they are part of a SET all their own (in Flickr.com, a set is synonymous with a photo album). You can upload the photos directly online at Flickr.com or use their handy photo uploading software, which makes your photo uploading work even quicker and easier.

2. When using the Flickr uploading tool, you can both create a description for the Photo Set as well as for each individual photo. If you have all of the photos selected (using CTRL-A or your Control Key to select multipe individual photos at once), you can also specify a generic description for each photo as well. Make these descriptions work for you by being exact about what event the photos were taken, along with the website addresses of the organizations you wish to promote. If you’re just an attendee, be sure to add “Photos Taken By: xxx” and enter both your company name and your website address. Do the same for the general photo set description, and now when someone clicks on any of your photos, they will be just one click away from where you want them to be... either your website, a specific page on your website, your client’s website, etc. Your Flickr.com profile will also have your website information on it as well, but since the user has to actually find your profile link, click on it, etc., you’ve now maximized your photo’s performance by placing all of that information and more directly in each individual photo’s description.

3. Place a few of these photos into one or more relevant Flickr.com groups. If the photos are related to gay travel, then make sure you’re a part of a few gay travel Flickr.com groups (some groups have thousands of members). This creates just another way for your photos to be seent.

4. Using the integration feature of Flickr.com to Twitter.com, you can select a few key photos and click on “Share”. Scrolling down to their BLOG selection under Share will allow you one-click access to then sharing your photo using Twitter as well. Use some good key words to describe your photo as you send it out into the “Twittersphere” as you want as many people to find and click on the photo as possible. Your photo will have a new link using http://flic.kr and this link will display your photo, the descriptive text you entered along with hyperlinks, thumbnails of additional photos in this photo set, direct links to your other photos and to your profile, etc. All of these can then allow a user to discover more and more about you, your company and some of the various activities you and your company are doing. You are both informing and entertaining your viewers, with the hope of further engaging them andconverting some of them into potential clients.

The rest is easy... you would then write your blog, use some of your photos in the blog posting, and link to this Flickr.com photo set directly from your blog. You would also make sure to upload these photos into a new album you’ve created, but from your Facebook Fan/Business page. Placing these photos onto your business page and not your personal page means that every online Facebook viewer who checks out one of your photos is exposed to your business, not just you as an individual. Of course, since you’ll probably be in a few of the photos, they will be linked from your personal profile since you’ll be tagging yourself in these photos as well and they will be featured in your profile’s news feed.

And yet, we’re not stopping here... your blog is hopefully already integrated into Facebook Fan page using the NOTES feature of Facebook, whereby you can automatically have your blog postings appear in your Facebook Fan page with no extra work on your part. Thus, after posting your blog and waiting a few hours (these integrations aren’t always instantaneous), you can check out your Facebook Fan page and find that your members have already commented and shared this posting with their friends as well.

A lot of time was not spent on these last concepts, as most people seem to be more and more comfortable with how Facebook and blogs work nowadays. We’ve written extensively on them in previous Gay Business Reports as well. Our main focus now is to do a more in-depth analysis of the way these components work together, especially using some of the newest tools at our fingertips such as Twitter.

On that note, let’s continue the thought process from above. Your blog posting is now on Facebook, but it hasn’t made its way automatically to Twitter. That is where TwitterFeed.com comes in. Using TwitterFeed.com (or other programs out there including HootSuite.com), you can automatically have your blog postings converted into a Twitter, along with a shortened URL, and posted to your account automatically. By also having a Bit.ly account (http://www.bit.ly), you can also make it so that you have more detailed analysis of how many click-throughs you receive, as well as how many click-throughs your blog posting has received from others ReTweeting it as well. You’d be fascinated to learn that some articles and blog postings are now receiving between 100 and 1,000 click-throughs on a normal run, and others related to hotter topics receiving upwards of 10,000 click-throughs and more. Thus, Twitter is a force to be reckoned with... do we really want to ignore such click-throughs driving RELEVANT?traffic (aka potential clients) to our website?

Further continuing along the thought process from above, let’s go back to Facebook but keep thinking about Twitter. You’re on your Facebook Fan page and you want to communicate with your members and other viewers of your fan page. Just a week ago, Facebook enabled your Facebook Fan page to integrate with your Twitter account so that when you post a business-oriented status update in your fan page, it can automatically appear as a Twitter as well. This is powerful, in that it allows you to post once on Facebook and have it appear on Twitter as well. We’ve argued in the past that to post your Twitters automatically into Facebook is not the right way to go, and we stand behind this still. Twitter conversations are developing a life of their own, with retweets, Twitter replies, shortened URLs and more, and these conversations are no longer in the form of status updates to be shared on Facebook as well. Especially in your personal profile. But to share a business posting FROM Facebook TO Twitter is relevant, in that you are starting a conversation from Facebook and allowing it to have a life in both places now. On Facebook, the conversation takes the form of comments which stay on Facebook and appear below your original status update. On Twitter, they take the form of replies using the @ symbol and ReTweets using the RT sign, with perhaps a few # signs thrown in by other users to improve their search relevance. All more indications that your Twitters now have a life of their separate from status updates in Facebook.

Of course, these same rules starting with Flickr.com above apply equally well to videos on YouTube.com as well. You’ll typically have less views on a video than you would on a photo, but the views you do receive are considerably more engaged in you, your product and your service. Using sites such as 12Seconds.TV, your video can quickly and easily be integrated on Twitter as well.

Stay tuned for our next posting in the upcoming Gay Business Report where we apply everything we’ve just discussed here in this article and take this process further, setting you up as a potential “Thought Leader” in your specific field.

Direct Link to September 2009 Gay Business Report:
http://www.pinkbananamedia.com/pdf/pbmbizreport_sep2009.pdf

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