Tuesday, May 18, 2010

10 Ways I Am Messing Up My Social Media Efforts (Part I)

Inbound Marketing: Get Found Using Google, Social Media, and Blogs (New Rules Social Media Series)
Our AlphaGraphics Social Media Activities Can Use a Lot of Improvement In Promoting Our Printing Business

I spent the last couple of days reading "Inbound Marketing" by Brian Halligan and Dharmesh Shah.  I was attracted to this book because I am a fan of David Meerman Scott and he highly endorsed this book.  I will say that, at first, I thought the book to be a little simplistic since I have been studying this area for awhile.  However, as I got deeper and deeper into the book, I started to think about all the good advice that I was not following. I wish I had read this book a few months ago before I started on my Social Media journey I highly recommend this book to everyone who is trying to figure out how to market their business in this new Web 2.0 age. It does lay out the steps you should take in a very systematic way. Based upon my reading, here are the things I am doing wrong in my inbound marketing activities. These are the first 5 out of 10 items.

1.  My Blog is Hosted by Blogspot
When I initially set up my blog,  I took the easiest route simply because I did not know better. Brian and Dharmesh highly recommend that a blog needs to be hosted with the company website.  There are many reasons for this, but the best reason is that a blog drives activity to the website.  The way I have it set up is that the activity is driven to blogspot, which is a Google entity.  Google does fine on its own, and it does not need to have my activity to help its rankings. The same goes for those who have Wordpress host their blog.  How do I fix this? I really haven't figured it out.  Since the webpage for each of my three centers is a sub-domain of the main AlphaGraphics site and right now AlphaGraphics doesn't have a way to host blogs on their website, I am stuck.  I have considered a separate domain to host my blog outside of the AlphaGraphics website, but I am not convinced that this gets me ahead of where I am now.  Even if AlphaGraphics decides to give us the ability to have our blogs on a sub-domain of the AlphaGraphics site, I don't know how I will be able to cover my three centers with one blog. Someone smarter than me will need to help me with this problem.

2.  My Twitter Name Is Personal and Has Numbers In It
When I set up my Twitter account, I did not do a lot of thinking about the account name.  I did want to make it personal because I did not want to run an account that was an impersonal one of just "AlphaGraphics Arizona". I think people want to follow people and not business names. One of my salespeople posts to a generic AlphaGraphicsAz account, but he is not an avid poster and it really is his personal account. The number in the name was decided upon because there are about 4 million Steve Adams' in the world.  Maybe there is only 3.9 million, but you get my point. The 291 represents the store # for my Mesa center.  I have been using that number for years.  In most of my social media activities, I have been using my full name so I can track my activity on Google. Hence the Stephen Eugene Adams. (I got that advice from David Meerman Scott). So how do I fix this? I think I am pretty well set now but I did change my name on the account to Alphagraphics Steve.  We'll see how that works. I also might start using the AlphaGraphicsAZ account more.

3. I Have Protected My LinkedIn Account Too Much
When I set up my LinkedIn account, I treated it the same as my personal FaceBook account. I only wanted to connect with people I knew and did not allow anyone I did not personally know to connect with me. After reading this book, I figured out that I need to open this thing up.  I need to search for people I want to be connected with and I need to allow connections to people who want to connect with me. I also need to start posting on this channel more often to be able to start more conversations.  Although I have joined some marketing groups over the last couple of months, I need to work this area a little better.

4.  My Website Has Nothing For My Prospects To Do Except Call Me.
Our Alphagraphics site does have a limited CMS feature to it.  I am driving people to my website that may not be ready to buy at that point in time. I am able to control the middle of some of our pages, but not the outside frames.  At this time, I do not know how to put a sign-up form into my web pages and we cannot host a PDF file for download. So our websites lack a call to action.  They can call me, email me, send me a file or place an online order if they are an existing customer. The first thing I believe I should do is to figure out how to put a form onto my site(s) and how to have my PDF's hosted at another server.  Again, this will take someone smarter than myself.

5.  My Content is Not Remarkable
I have been trying to have a blog posting once a week since sometime in December.  Sometimes I go a couple of weeks, but mostly my postings have been weekly. I do not seem to be getting a lot of traction with the number of subscribers to my blog. Using Google Analytics and SiteMeter, I do see that I do get a few hundred people to read my blog each month and the readership does increase each month, but I can't seen to increase my subscribed readership.  So, according to Inbound Marketing, it has to be my content. I am not writing what the industry wants to see.  I think some of this is the paradigm shift that is happening in our industry.  We are printers that have determined that in order to survive going forward, we need to be more marketing and communications consultants.  So I am writing about that stuff and not about our core, legacy businesses. No one expects a printer to write about marketing and communications.  There's not a lot of people who want to read about printing, copying, bindery, mailing services and pre-press design. So what do I do.  I believe that I still need to continue to talk about our shift to marketing and consulting, but I need to figure out how to increase my subscriber base.  If anyone has any suggestions, please leave a comment below.

Next week, I will give you an analysis of points 6-10.  There just as brutal and will cause me a lot of work to correct.

You can always contact us at the following websites:

AlphaGraphics Mesa Printing and Marketing        FaceBook Fan Page
AlphaGraphics Tempe Printing and Marketing      FaceBook Fan Page
AlphaGraphics Phoenix Printing and Marketing    FaceBook Fan Page

Twitter: @steveadams291
LinkedIn: stepheneugeneadams

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2 comments:

  1. Excellent post, I think there is a lot that many people using social media for business could learn from it. I think sometimes, people get caught up with the tool and forget what the tool is supposed to be doing for them. Lists are good - just like this one you've made!

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  2. Stefany, thanks for the comment. Sometimes it is easier to just do it without thinking about what the best path would be. We need to stop sometimes and think about what is the best actions to actually promote our business.

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