In the last post we looked at ways to drive traffic to product reviews using keywords & content. Now we'll look at promoting products & reviews via Social Media.
Most people immediately think Facebook or Twitter when you say Social Media Marketing. But any form of media that is "social", or conversation driven, can be considered Social Media.
I prefer to call it Conversation Marketing, in contrast to Content Marketing which we discussed in Part 1. With Content Marketing you are the one doing the talking, by creating content and leading your visitor into a decision. With Social Media you are joining their conversation, usually on their terms and in their space.
Easily Find Current Conversations About Products
People are discussing products all over the web. In addition to doing searches they are talking about them on blogs, in discussion groups, on forums, at Facebook & Twitter, on Social Q&A networks, and inside membership sites.
It would be overwhelming to try to find and keep up with all of the conversations starting and happening every day across all of these places. Instead you want to aggregate those conversations so that they come to you as they are happening. The best way to do this is with the free Google Alerts service.
With Google Alerts you can sort conversations by updates (tweets), blogs, news, discussions (forums), etc:
I recommend that you set up a Gmail account just for this purpose, so as not to clutter your business email account. Using a Gmail account allows you to access the alerts from any device. You can have the alerts emailed to your account, or set them up to go to a feed. I prefer to keep up with alerts using a feed reader on my mobile device so that I'm on top of new alerts as they happen.
Google Alerts Tip: Use "quotes" to get exact match results.
Spamming = Banning
How To Join A Product Conversation... Properly
If you do drive-by link-dropping your responses will get removed, you'll get banned or unfollowed, and your time will basically be wasted. Your goal is to join the conversation with helpful information, not to annoy the entire group. You want to add value to the web as a marketer, not add to the growing pile of spam & junk.
To give you an example, I have a product review here at ClickNewz for the best Apple iPad case. I dropped and shattered my original iPad, so I went through several iPad cases before I found one (actually 2) that served my needs.
Other people are searching for iPad cases too, and asking for recommendations. A quick search on Twitter yesterday brought up these results (and more):
I replied to one of those tweets conversationally, and included a link to my personal experience (with a video demo) for reference:
Having personal experience with the product you reviewed and are promoting goes a long way towards joining these discussions. Other people who are aware of my product reviews also share them when they see people asking for input. Ironically, later the same day you see one of my friends recommending my review to one of his friends on Twitter (perhaps after seeing my tweet come through earlier):
Using the Search box in the right navigation column on Twitter, you can create and save searches you'll use often. Each search also has it's own RSS feed, allowing you to keep up with them in your feed reader instead if you prefer.
There were great forum results from Google Alerts on the same topic, so I would reply with my personal experience about shattering my first iPad - and what I discovered you should really look for in an iPad Case.
Often I won't actually include a hyperlink in a forum reply - simply because it's considered "spammy" or self-promotional. Instead I'll leave a detailed reply and invite them to "Google" my review if they want to see my video or read more details. This works well on YouTube as well, since you can't leave hyperlinks in the video comments:
(This reply was on one of my own videos so I was a little more to-the-point here than I would be in a discussion forum or on someone else's channel/site.)
Where Product Conversations Are Happening
In addition to Facebook, Twitter, and Discussion Forums there are many more places around the web where people are asking about products and product experience. One of the most common in the last few years is blogs.
Blogs offer a lot of opportunities. You can:
- Leave a comment, linking back to your review in the URL field. This will often offer very little click-through rate, but does count as an inbound link.
- Create a Trackback to their post, if they publish Trackback links. These count as inbound links and also see a higher click-through rate than blog comments. One idea is to do a round-up post as a follow-up to you review that includes links to other blogs discussing the product - with the call to action being to read your review or comparison.
- See other bloggers who are affiliates for the same product? Offer to let them interview you about your results with the product. Allow them to use their affiliate link to the product in the interview post, with your only requirement being a hyperlink back to your review.
- Write guest blog posts for other affiliates, including their affiliate link to the product, with a call to action in your bio or byline at the end that leads them into your review.
Social Q&A Sites
Another great resource for Product Conversations are the many Social Q&A sites. One of the more popular is Yahoo! Answers. A quick search shows quite a few questions on my review topic:
Your buyers are out there asking questions. Your job is to find those buyers and join their discussions. By being helpful, and conversational, you can get your products or your reviews in front of the very people who are looking for them.
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