If someone were to ask you what tools you use to fight website downtime, your immediate answer would likely be, “A website monitoring service”. While that answer in and of itself is not a bad one, if a website monitoring service is the only tool in your arsenal against the havoc that website downtime can create for your online business, you are not taking a comprehensive approach to protecting your business from downtime’s effects, nor are you protecting your site’s reputation to the best of your abilities. While a website monitoring service is definitely a “must-have” tool when it comes to fighting website downtime’s consequences, it is not the only tool you need to employ. If you have yet to explore how social media can be used to your advantage in the fight against the damage caused by dreaded website downtime, here are some things to consider.Communication Is KeyIf your customers can’t do something that they want to do while visiting your site, such as make a purchase or browse your site’s offerings, they are going to want to know why the site isn’t available when they want access to it. Obviously, if your site is experiencing any type of downtime, you can’t use the pages of your site to go into detail about what has gone awry or give your visitors estimates as to when they can expect the site to be functional again. This is where social media comes into play.While your site may be down, social media networks such as Facebook and Twitter are likely up and running. If you have invested time and effort into creating a social media presence and a following on these sites, you can use these platforms to communicate with your customers when downtime issues do arise. Let’s look at two example scenarios to see the difference that using social media in conjunction with your website monitoring service can make.Scenario OneSite 1 has gone down. They have no social media exposure, no accounts, and no followings. They have no way of communicating with their potential customers regarding the downtime they are experiencing or updating customers as to when the site can be expected to be back up and running. When customers visit the site they get an error message saying the site is down due to technical issues, but no further information is given. Customers become frustrated with the continued downtime and as they do, they begin searching other websites to meet their needs and make purchases. Site 1 begins to lose customers to the competition, whose websites are up and running and who have better means of communication.Scenario TwoSite 2 has put social media profiles in place and the company has worked on gaining a large social media following in addition to using a website monitoring service. The company has prepared for the worst and they know that when website downtime occurs, they need to use the social media tools at their disposal to communicate with customers regarding said downtime. When the business is notified of downtime by their website monitoring service, they go to work to determine what has caused the downtime so they can communicate the issue with the public, using their social media accounts. When the company has estimated how long it will take to get the site back up and running, they communicate this with their customers as well. They may even use the social media platforms to advertise an “apology” offer that allows affected customers to receive a set dollar amount off or a percentage off a future purchase to compensate for the inconvenience. Not only does this foster goodwill among customers, it helps ensure that customers will wait until the downtime issue has passed so that they can take advantage of the apology offer rather than going to a competitor to fulfill their needs.Which Company’s Lead Will You Follow?You have a website monitoring service in place. You are made aware the moment downtime occurs. The question is, what will you do when you are notified by your website monitoring service that there is a downtime issue occurring? If you have invested time and effort into setting up social media accounts and creating a customer following, you can use those social media tools to your advantage, providing transparency to your customers and fostering goodwill and respect amongst them.If you have yet to put social media to work for your online business, now is the time to create a social media presence so you can have your customer following created and built before an issue with downtime occurs. Then, when your website monitoring service alerts you that downtime has become an issue, you can go to work to use those social media tools accordingly.Furthermore, if you do not have a website monitoring service in place just yet, now is the time to set that up. The last thing you want is to be notified via your social media followers that your site is down, making you the last to know about the issue and causing you to lose face as well as profits.
All of us want to interact. Sadly, that is not happening. Some are speaking. Others do not want to listen. The “inter” remains missing in “interactions”. Where do we land up? A place where:
there are more monologues than dialogues
the content is generated less by consumers than producers
This, however, does not mean that interaction is impossible in social media. Social media optimization services do it for you.You do not want Social Media Optimization, you NEED it!SMO (where S stands for social, M stands for media & O stands for Optimization) is not a luxury for a firm. In today’s age, it is a necessity. More than you, your audience needs you there, as it wants:
All these factors make social media a favorable space for interaction. The Internet is destined to be ruled by its users. They will decide what they want. Apart from this, they will determine how they want it, when they want it and how much they want it. Businesses need to understand that the strength of media lies herein. Any attempt at manipulation is rejected by users.So, the idea is to let users do what they want to. And, keep them doing that. Keep them networked and, to do that, you need to respond to them, connect them with each other and make it easy for them to communicate more.Optimizing Social Media OptimizationWhen we talk of SMO, the fun part is that the activity never ends. The thread of communication in social sites media is never broken. So, there is no limit to the extent to which you can optimize it.Let us understand this through an example. You make a product. Some people buy it. However, customers find it difficult to use. This stops the product from becoming popular. You create a “how to” video that simplifies the use of the product. You put it on your website, weblog (blogs), forum, microblogging (micro blogging such as twitter) profile and other video sharing sites (such as YouTube, vimeo or blip.tv). Every view will spread the information. People love to share. They will communicate about how the product works much better if one knows how to use it. Online buzz will boost the popularity of your product as the “easy-to-use”; USP spreads like a virus.Just to let you know, the scope of sites that can be utilized for SMO purpose, here is a short list of popular social sites: Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, StumbleUpon, Digg, Reddit, Del.icio.us, Propeller, Clipmarks, Technorati, Mixx, FriendFeed, Diigo, YouTube, SlideShare, Orkut, LinkedIn, BlogCatalog, MyBlogLog, DZone, Yahoo Buzz, Faves, Mister-Wong, Spurl, IndianPad, Searchles, Sphinn, PlugIM, BlinkList, Ka-Boom-It, Megite, Newsvine, Netvouz, Connotea, Folked, A1-webmarks, BUMPzee, Google Bookmarks, Sociologs, Simpy, Swik, Jumptags, Squidoo, ShoutWire, Tagza, Slashdot & Wirefan.The job is not done. It never is with social media. Remember, the time you stop doing social media optimization, your audience has fewer things to talk about. Keep them involved. Build active communities, nourish them and earn the rewards. The unique conversational format can strengthen your relationship with the customer and change the brand perception. It ultimately may drives sales by creating a buzz about your product or service and ensure repetitive business as well as fresh business through referrals. To accomplish it you may even require help of some service provider to perform SMO in a professional and managed way.
You’ve heard everyone talking about how powerful social media is for marketing your business. How if you’re not using it to market your business you’re stuck in the 80’s. So you go out and create a Face Book page, open a LinkedIn account, start tweeting on twitter, build a Blog and start looking at YouTube. Now what do you do?You’re told by a friend to post snippets about your businesses and create a blog post about things you know, (although you’re not sure what a blog is). You start to share information on various sites in the evening and before you know it. Bam, you’re spending dozens of hours a week and getting nothing to show for your efforts. You say to yourself, what a pain in the neck social media marketing is!If you want to avoid the pain of spending too much time posting to social media sites and not getting anything in return, then read on. I will show you a half-dozen cardinal rules you need to abide by to keep your credibility. I will show you how to avoid the most common pit falls beginners make, and I’ll help you get the most from the time you spend marketing to your social media sites.Social Media is not AdvertisingFirst, remember that social media posts are not advertisements in the typical sense. You need to post what I call the cardinal 4 wanted items! People are looking for useful information. They want interesting facts. Participants want to be entertained and they want to connect with others! Posting information about your product/service should be a rarity. To be successful on social media, you have to give participants what they are looking for. If you want to do conventional advertising on social media sites, use their pay-per-click/view services. Their ads run about $1 to $3 per click through, other wise posts only the cardinal 4 items.Create and stick to a scheduleSecond, set aside a scheduled time to post your information and stick to it. It’s all too easy to sit down, start posting your information and before you know it, it’s three AM! I schedule my post twice a week and spend an hour each time. During the week, I gather useful information and links from my daily life. These include; email communications, my current events, new and old photos I find, online article I read, RSS feeds I use, internet headlines I like and just surfing the net. I suggest you do the same. Use these as part of posting the cardinal 4 items I spoke of earlier.Be patient and stick to your growth planThird, don’t create false expectations for your results. Before your network can produce meaningful traffic, you need it to grow to a reasonable size. Having a total following of a couple of hundred Face Book Fans, contacts on LinkedIn and followers on Twitter is cool but it not a big enough network to produce powerful results. Your social media influences (i.e. power to make things happen), is directly related to the number of members in your network. Social media has a viral quality to it. In this sense, it is a type of word of mouth marketing. Word of mouth depends on your credibility and the size of your network.Save time by using aggregator softwareForth, you must leverage technology to save time. If you are not using aggregator software for your post, start using one today. Aggregator programs allow you to post to several social media site simultaneously. They also let you schedule post at future dates. These programs can save you lots of time and energy. I personally like Tweet Deck and Hoot suite. Search for them on the web and you will find they are free to use.How big is big enoughFifth, if you are going to build a social network, you must have a goal. It’s my experience that real power becomes readily apparent at about 1000 unique followers. I’m not saying that anything smaller is useless. However, real movement, powerful results start with your ability to influence 1000 plus people.If you concentrate your efforts on building your social network by providing your followers with what they are looking for (i.e. the cardinal 4 items), your network will grow at a slow but steady pace. If you want it to grow faster, provide them with what feeds their needs more often. Post to your network every day if you have time. The more often and regular you post, the better. The only other way to make it grow faster is to either spend more time on growing it or pay someone else to spend more time growing it.What does this costSixth, you have to set financial limits. I know what you’re saying. You’re already spending too much time (and money), posting to social media sites. If you still find this to be too time consuming, hire a service to do your posts. They can be had for as little as $100 a week. It can also run you $2000 a month if you’re wanting to grow big and fast all at the same time.If you have, an organized method that you developed, you can hire a college student to enter your post for a lot less. As a marketing expert I can generate anywhere from about eight to twenty new followers per day. You can do the same by following my advice.By following these six rules you will get a lot more out of your social media marketing efforts. Remember to post the cardinal 4 items regularly. Create and stick to a schedule, even if you don’t finish, stop posting when your hour is up. Set goals and limits for time and money your spending. Use aggregator tools to be more efficient and above all be patient. You know the saying. Rome was not built in a day, well that also goes for building your word of mouth social network. That will take some time also. Stick to your plan and before you know it, you will be ready to start harvesting rewards from your social media marketing campaign. That’s my opinion, I welcome yours!