After my last column on how big brands should organize around social media marketing, I thought it might be useful to get tactical and look at some specific ways that big brands can begin to move the needle on social media. Again, I’m crediting Bill Hunt with inspiring some of these thoughts in a great presentation he gave here at Yahoo! last month, as well as Laura Lippay for leading the charge internally at Yahoo!.
Get the basics right
Like most things I experience here at Yahoo! that hold true for large companies, I find that we need to focus on doing some very basic things across a vast scope and scale. The same holds true for social media marketing. Focusing on a very few, important efforts and doing them well across the company represents success for us and all big brands. So let’s isolate a couple topics and make sure we get them right.
Push all the right buttons
First, enable your site to support social media. Enable your users to join your network and promote your content. Your site needs links or buttons to follow the brand or product on Twitter and Facebook at the very least. Of course, if you have many products, like most big brands, you’ll need to point to different Twitter streams or Facebook pages that are appropriate to the respective product or service. As well, if you produce content on your site, at the end of your articles you’ll want buttons that promote your content to sites like Digg, Reddit, and Yahoo! Buzz. Getting these buttons on your site will take some time and effort, not because the work is difficult, but because the folks who do the work will have many other priorities in their queue. At this point, you will need to rely on your previous work in creating a center of excellence (CoE), working with an executive sponsor to get the work prioritized.
A cast of thousands
Once your site is enabled for social media, you will want to rely on your company’s biggest asset: your employees. One of the nice things about big brands is that we employ large numbers of people who are brand evangelists. That means that at Yahoo! and other companies, there are thousands of potential marketers for our products and services. If we all spend just a few minutes a day talking up our products and services to our respective social communities, the effect will be significant.
With social media, however, we need to be careful how we behave. Social media networks are fragile when it comes to commercial promotion. If your network thinks you are spamming them with commercial messages, they will likely ignore you and you will lose credibility within your network. Right now, the conventional wisdom is that it’s OK to talk about your products within your social network, but this should generally be done in the spirit of conversation. That is, when Yahoo! launches its new homepage, it’s acceptable to post a link to it on my Facebook page and say “Hey everybody, what do you think about the new Yahoo! homepage?” In contradistinction to this, it is generally frowned upon to promote your own products and services through some of the main social channels such as Digg, Reddit, and Yahoo! Buzz. For example, if Yahoo! sports just broke a story about Shawne Merriman and Tila Tequila, I shouldn’t Digg it through my own account. However, it’s OK to share the story with my social network and invite others to “buzz it up.” You can imagine that if all my fellow Yahoos worked in this way we could really start to move the needle on our social media efforts.
Get your social social on
Another great way to increase awareness and share best practices internally is to schedule small, informal meetings with the folks in your organization who are really interested in social media. We came up with some interesting ideas around this in our SEO and Social Media Conference in Santa Monica last month. Having lunch, brainstorming with other Yahoos, we developed a formula for putting this into practice. We’re calling it a “Social Social” and we’re scheduling our first one next month, thanks to Laura Lippay. The idea is that we can have a small, targeted gathering where we can swap war stories and share strategies around social media. The goal is to make sure we’re executing in effective ways around the organization. The recipe is simple: Invite a small number of social media types. Pick a topic. Open with a Pecha Kucha. Add beer. Rinse and repeat.
Now that you’ve got the tactics down, you’re well on your way. Remember, with big brands: do a few things, but do them well and do them everywhere.
Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land.