Engaging Social Media: Webinar Q&A

Jay and I recently conducted the webinar Engaging Social Media and received some great questions about social media best practices. While we answered lots of attendees’ questions during the webinar, we’ll try to answer more social-media-q-and-ahere on the blog as well.

Ginger: What is today’s primary demographic for social networkers? And are there social networking sites targeted to the luxury product and services demographic?

Heidi: There is a lot of information available about demographics for social media. I’ve included a few of my favorite links below for your reading pleasure. In regards to the luxury product and services demographic, you have a few options. First, here’s an interesting post from Kevin Eklund on ToMuse titled Social Networking Demographics: Who Has Smartest and Wealthiest Users? It’s clearly an older post with MySpace ranking higher than Facebook in unique visitors, but gives interesting insight into the education and income levels of some of the top networks. Additionally, finding a community within a major community (by using tools like LinkedIn groups, Twitter hashtags, Facebook groups, etc.) can be a great way to identify a subset of people within a larger site. Lastly, I encourage you to search for the point of need… look for key words like “designer brands” or “luxury hotels.” Search for blogs discussing these topics and research where those bloggers are congregating. Meanwhile, check out these social media demographics links:

Lyne: Is there a best-time-of-day to comment on other  blogs, twitter, and generally participate on other sites? I’m a 1 man biz & can’t get to social media until middle of night after operating biz hours.

Heidi: Unfortunately, Lyne, the best time to comment on something or respond to someone is in real-time. However, many of us have already jam-packed schedules and struggle to find the time to engage and respond. I will say, however, that responding overnight or in the evening is much better than not responding at all. Here are just a few quick tips for managing your social media time:

  • Use tools like the Cision Social Media Dashboard, Twitter Search and Google Alerts that will notify you in real-time when someone mentions your brand, product, service or competitor so you don’t spend all day reading through feeds and blog posts.
  • Carve out two or three 10-minute chunks of your day to respond to any crucial mentions. I like to get to work 15 minutes early, check my Cision Social Media Reports and sign in to Twitter and Facebook. I can usually quickly respond to any pressing queries. I do that again for 10 minutes around lunch and once more when I arrive home from the office.
  • Pick your battles. If you find the number of posts and comments that you want to respond to to be overwhelming, look for the most important, the most influential and the most relevant to you.

Sherri: Where’s the best place to host a blog? On your website? Or on a public site like WordPress?

Brandon: (Brandon is Cision US’s Interactive Marketing Manager and much better suited to answer this question than me.) Good question, and there’s a lot of debate around this one.  There are many different blogging tools out there, which means you have many options when creating your blog.  As much as SEO and inbound links should play a part in where you host your blog, pay attention to how comfortable you are hosting a blog and what you want to do with it.

If you don’t know HTML from CSS, I would suggest you start at a blog service like WordPress.com, where you can set up a blog in minutes and don’t need to do any special programming.  Once it’s set up, you can purchase additional features such as a custom domain (which will look more professional than the default “mysite.wordpress.com”) and paying to remove ads from your site.  This is great for beginners who don’t want to mess with custom coding and just want to start blogging ASAP even though their site won’t have a very customized look and feel.

If you aren’t scared to get your hands dirty (or your local web developer’s), check to see if your website’s content management system (CMS) already has blogging features built into it.  If your CMS doesn’t offer a blogging solution, you can still use WordPress.org as your CMS, which is free and you can install it on your own web host.  (WordPress.com is a blog hosting service.  WordPress.org is an open source CMS you can freely download and install on your site.  This link compares the two. Unlike WordPress.com, WordPress.org allows you full control over the look and feel of the site, so you can format it look like your regular website.

Regardless of where you host your site, use a sub-domain under your existing website (blog.mysite.com, mythoughts.mysite.com, etc.) for consistent branding across your sites and to ensure that any links to your blog will also count as a link to your regular website.