The Hierarchy of Social Media Marketing

Syndicated

Recently I gave a presentation to the Silicon Valley chapter of the American Disc Jockey's Association (ADJA) based on my own experiences using social media to market my businesses and causes. The one element of that presentation I'd like to share with other small business owners, advocates and hobbyists is why a blog post is always my preferred medium to publicize anything.

For most of us, blogging has the potential to be a more effective marketing medium than Facebook or Twitter to deliver the messages we want to publicize whether it's a product or service, promoting causes that are important to us or simply having a way to communicate with people who share our hobbies and interests without having to join a forum.

social-media-hierarchy

Access to the Information
Facebook is great, but it's marketing to a closed audience. When you blog the entire world is your audience. According to Statcounter there were 155,000 new and returning visitors to The Flirty Blog in 2010. This total doesn't include the people who have subscribed and read each post in their RSS readers. Compare that number to the 597 friends who have the opportunity to see my content on Facebook, and the numbers speak for themselves.

Limitations
My own experience tells me that Facebook offers a limited audience and Twitter is too limited in the amount of information I can post. Which isn't to say you shouldn't have and use both -- I have and use both. I'm just saying don't use them as your primary marketing medium. They play supportive roles to my blog.

Archives
Neither Facebook or Twitter have an archiving or search function that compares to the effectiveness of these features on a blog, giving new visitors/readers the ability to hone in on exactly the topics that interest them as quickly and easily as possible.

Search Engine Indexing:
But one of the most important reasons I prefer posting content on my blog vs. Facebook or Twitter is because search engines index blog content more quickly and effectively, often within minutes. Indexing is important because this is how your blog or website shows as search results for random queries on sites like Google and Yahoo leading new readers to your content. I rarely see Facebook links turn up in organic search results and when "tweets" do they have always been long gone from the Timeline Page when I've clicked over.

Take this query to show you an example of how information is not indexed by Facebook or Twitter. I did a search for two photo albums I created on the same day last fall. One is an album on Facebook set to "Everybody" and the other is a collection of photos on my blog. Both are of my dog's 2010 Halloween costume. So for the purpose of this example say I'm selling Dog Otter Costumes as my business, and I want people to discover these photos because some of them may order an otter costume for their dog next Halloween.

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Kitai's Halloween Costumes 2010 Album on FB

This is the Facebook album titled "Kitai's Halloween Costume 2010" which I copied verbatim and searched for in Google. With an exact phrase and an unusual word like "Kitai" in it, it should show up...

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Kitai's Halloween Costumes 2010 Web Results

Notice even when I search the exact album title the album doesn't show up in the Google web results. Google has not indexed my Facebook photo album.

But the web results do draw up other sites that talked about Kitai's costume, including my blog, his Cutest Dog Ever website and even The Flirty Guide where I featured an earlier costume as a Flirty Idea in 2009.

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Kitai's Halloween Costumes 2010 Image Results

And on Google images nothing leads back to Facebook even though I'm still searching the exact album title and all of my images were search engine optimized with correct image file names.

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Cutest Dog Ever Sea Otter Halloween Costume Blog Post

But, when I search the Blog Post title "Cutest Dog Ever Sea Otter Halloween Costume" the Google results direct people to The Flirty Blog.

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Cutest Dog Ever Sea Otter Halloween Costume Web Results

Not only does the The Flirty Blog show up in the web results, but links to Cutest Dog Ever.com and several viral links come up on page one of Google. But no Facebook and no Twitter where I did post a link to this particular blog post.

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Cutest Dog Ever Sea Otter Halloween Costume Image Results.

And searching the same post title in Google images, there were 14 links back to The Flirty Blog. But still nothing about my Facebook album. So when it comes to marketing on Facebook, it looks like no one outside of my Facebook friends have the opportunity to discover my content there.

dog-otter-costume-web-results
Dog Otter Costume Web Results

But a stranger wouldn't know to search an exact photo album or post title, so let's do a search that's a real world example. I need customers to order my otter dog costumes so say someone searched "Dog Otter Costume." Again in Google's web results, my blog and Kitai's Cutest Dog Ever website turn up on page one.

dog-otter-costume-results
Dog Otter Costume Image Results

And in Google images my blog and Kitai's website show up on page one of the search results. But , again, nothing from the Facebook album.

I hope your takeaway from this example is that posting only on Facebook will give you little to no exposure on search engines which is where new people, fans, clients, and enthusiasts could and would have discovered your information had it been indexed.

Cross Posting and RSS
Once you create a post, you can then republish it either manually, by cross posting (pasting the direct url to a particular blog post into Facebook or Twitter) or you can automate the function with a single keystroke (using your RSS feed) to republish your blog post directly onto Facebook, Twitter, Linked In and other websites when you hit the "Publish Post" button on your blog.

ping.fm
Or, if you only post things that are appropriate for everyone (your clients, colleagues, friends and family) to read, you can use a service like Ping.fm whose tagline is "Post From Anywhere » To Anywhere" allowing users to create content once and republish it to multiple sites simultaneously. While you can selectively set the sites you republish to, I'm not a fan of people republishing all of their Facebook comments and Twitter tweets outside of their designated groups of "friends" on each site because often the friendly and less formal way people converse on FB and Twitter doesn't lend itself to maintaining a professional persona across the Internet. The tweet or status update that makes sense or is borderline or over the line on FB or Twitter can appear odd, rude, or damagingly off color if shared on your company website or blog through an RSS feed.
ping-networks
Why does this matter?
As a user of all three mediums, I often see friends, particularly small business owners and advocates, only publicizing content to their existing friends on Facebook or Twitter. The same information on a blog would receive far more exposure and that's (imo) one of the main reasons to market at all:
  • To help people (clients, supporters and enthusiasts) who didn't know about you to discover you.
  • To reinforce your brand to people who may have heard of you but haven't connected with you yet.
  • To keep supporters updated so that they can help you by sharing information with others who would be interested to know about you.
The Solution
The next time you want to publicize something and find yourself posting it only into FB or Twitter, I urge you to think again and post it on your blog first, then cover your bases either manually or using your RSS or ping.fm to feed the same content to your Facebook and Twitter accounts :)
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