How to leverage social media, social marketing

WASHINGTON, DC – We are reaching a noise stage in the social media realm where there is just too much information, too many choices and too much chatter.  In an attempt to both clarify and contribute to the chatter, these would be my recommended approaches to leveraging social media tools for business purposes:

1.  Establish social profiles for business

Create business profiles for your brand, i.e., Twitter.com/inQbation on social media sites like YouTube, Facebook, BizNik and LinkedIn – or any other type of website that allows you to register, login, create a profile, add a link back to your blog or website and upload a profile photo.  There are tons of them.

2.  Create two-way RSS feeds

Create an automated feed from your blog to your Twitter profile so that every time you create a new post, its headline is fed to Twitter and vice versa.  If you make a remark on Twitter, it should feed into your blog.  Use social media aggregators like FriendFeed.  Ensure that your blog RSS is fed into your LinkedIn account and your Facebook account.  Ensure that your YouTube videos are pumped into your Facebook account.  Synchronize your Twitter with your YouTube.  Make sure that there is an electrical connection between and among your website and all of your social profiles.

3.  Brand the social sites

Some sites, like Twitter, MySpace and YouTube give you some flexibility in changing the background, logo and profile image.  Make sure that the background pattern and color scheme of these sites matches or reflects that of your corporate branding, corporate identity and style guide.  Ensure that you place your corporate logo everywhere so that visitors to your social media site recognize it as the official profile of your business.

Examples:

4.  Put bookmarking chicklets on your site

Post those icons for Digg, Delicious, Reddit, StumbleUpon, BuzzUp and make sure that you customize the customize the hyperlink code to pre-populate the fields.  The less work that your web visitors have to do to bookmark your site the better.

While your at it, include icons to allow web visitors to post links or status updates of your site to their social media site.  For example, Facebook as a way to allow people to post the URL or domain name of a website on a member’s page as a link.  They can also post these in their status bar.  Both Twitter and LinkedIn have the same functionality.

Do what you can to encourage people to share a link to your site from their social media sites.

5.  Engage, interact and encourage feedback

Comment on other blogs that discuss relevant subjects.  Be sure to register with your business name and website so that if the blogs allow links from your comments back to your site that you get credit and link juice.  Be active on your Twitter page, discuss your news and relevant topics.  Try to post a relevant blog post on your site at least once a week and discuss things that will be valuable to your readers.  Allow people to comment on your own blog entries.