Thursday, March 26, 2009

picking low-hanging social media fruit

2009's the year to get into social media, if you haven't already begun to use it as a communications tool--for entirely new projects or to adapt your previous communications techniques. Try picking the low-hanging fruit of social media--ripe, ready to pick and relatively easy options that will get you started fast. These ideas work for the new-to-social-media, but also for organizations and companies looking for fast, easy and economical ways to expand their presence:
  • Share photos: If you've been running a typical communications or PR operation, you've already got photos to which you own the rights, from event candids to portraits of your corporate officers to pics of your headquarters, and more. Start a photostream on Flickr and create albums of your photos on Facebook (the most popular photo-sharing site), and make sure you allow the photos to be used by others, to encourage downloads and republishing. This makes it easy for all sorts of groups to spread your visuals, from reporters and bloggers to your members, customers, and advocates. Even better: Encourage your members, employees and fans to post their photos relevant to your topic or from your events. Check out data from the Library of Congress's successful Flickr project for more evidence.
  • Feature your existing bloggers: Starting a blog couldn't be easier, but for really low-hanging fruit, find out who's already blogging about your topic, company or cause and ask whether you can feature or host their blogs on your site. Your already-blogging colleagues may be your employees, faculty, customers, suppliers, students, get the idea. While you're at it, ask who's Twittering about your topic, too; it's easy to assemble a Twitter feed on your website that shows real-time updates from a variety of authors, especially if you issue a topical hashtag. Check out how online retailer Zappos displays tweets from anyone who mentions the company on Twitter--some from employees, some from customers.
  • Post events on Facebook: Not ready to create a Facebook page for your company? Then post calendar events--sales, openings, special events--as a quick and easy way to start a presence. Be sure to promote your calendarizing ways with employees and with customers, as well as on your website. Once you've built up some buzz this way, you can work to migrate those followers to a more official page.
  • Feed one social-media update into the others: Lots of applications exist for automatically feeding your updates from one social-media site into another--for example, you can have a frequently updated Facebook profile or page by importing notes from your blog's RSS feed, or get your blog or RSS feed listed on, where readers can scan your first few posts easily, and all feeds are sorted by topic. Cross-promoting one site on another helps you build audience without working twice as hard to do so.

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