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If you want to be more effective with driving traffic to your website or blog with social media, here are five steps that are sure to improve your results.

1. Targeting the Right Sites

There are hundreds or maybe even thousands of social media sites that you could be using. Obviously no one has the time to use them all effectively, and some of them aren’t worth your time anyway.

One of the first things you will need to do is find a few sites that will work well for you. Of course the larger sites like

Digg, StumbleUpon, FaceBook, Twitter and YouTube

are popular choices because of the large traffic volumes that they send. But if you are looking for sites that can send high quality traffic, first look for niche-specific social media sites.

Also targeting a general news website like Digg or Reddit can be helpful because once you have developed a strong profile you can promote all types of content, not just stuff that fits into one specific niche.

2. Consistent Use

If you hope to ever become a true authority on social media, you’ll have to implement consistent use. As you use the sites that you have targeted every day you’ll become familiar with what works and what doesn’t, and you’ll get to know some of the other consistent users.

3. Development of Content that Appeals to the Audience

Driving traffic to your website through social media will require content development that meets the expectations of social media users. Creating blog content that targets social media users doesn’t mean that you have to alienate your subscribers, contrary to the opinion of some people. What it does mean is that you will have to dedicate the time and effort to find a topic that is of particular interest to your readers and present it in a way that also appeals to social media users. For example, social media users like lists, breaking news, photos, controversy, and informative topics.

4. Networking and Helping Others

Content creation and networking are the two most important aspects of social media marketing. Great content without a network will have a harder time becoming popular and a strong network is an asset, but its value will not be realized without great content.

Networking on social media sites involves voting for the submissions of others, leaving comments, adding friends, and generally getting to know other users. With a strong network your submissions and votes will get more attention and you’ll have some friends to call on when you need help getting those extra votes needed to get over the hump.

5. Conversion

In most cases just getting traffic to a website will not be your ultimate goal. Social media traffic is pretty much useless if you are not able to convert some of it into what you want. Maybe you want to convert the traffic into links, or maybe subscribers. The conversion rate of social media traffic will usually be lower than the rates of other types of traffic, but the huge volumes sent by social media can offset a lower conversion rate and make it very valuable traffic.

While these steps will all help you to reach your goals of promoting your site with social media, they all require one very important step – taking action. So go get started today and build some momentum with social media.

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Twitter LogoI admit I’m a Twitter addict. I enjoy the flurry of tweets and the variety of information my followers share with me. But even though I like the variety, it’s still important for me to feel some sort of connection to the people and companies I follow. On the people side, the way I connect is by getting to know someone’s personality. It’s the same if I’m following a company. Where the person is offering personality, the company is successfully tweeting their corporate culture.

But if all you’re doing is sending out auto-tweets, I’m not sure either of us is getting the full benefit of your presence on Twitter . Some people don’t like communicating with a company logo. But when a company offers a pleasant look and feel, and tweets out information of value to customers, then it is possible to connect with them. Here are 7 suggestions (along with some Twitter examples) for establishing a rock-solid corporate culture on Twitter:


1. Share Your History


I’m not talking about chronicling the 42 year history of your firm 140 characters at a time. Although, I guess if you really wanted to, you could. What I mean by share your history is that you should tell the Twitterverse when you make history. For example, if your company is named one of the Top 50 Places to Work or wins an industry award; that’s making history and you should tell the world by tweeting about it.

history-dd

Another historic moment is when an organization grows and expands, especially in the current economic climate. Dunkin’ Donuts did a great job announcing their entry into the Birmingham market.


2. Talk Vision and Mission


Kris Dunn, vice president of people for DAXKO, explained to me why Twitter is a great fit for his company. “We’ve got a culture that calls for a lot of communication, so the transparency and immediacy of Twitter fits that. Also, we believe in our team members being active in their professional communities (their profession – marketing, software engineering, etc.), so Twitter fits that as well.”

His point is well taken. People want to be engaged with companies that look engaging. Think about the purpose of your organization. Twitter can be a place to talk about goals, plans and offer a glimpse of what life is like at your place of work.


3. Reveal Industry Insights


Many companies are using Twitter not only as a place to talk about their organization but their industry. For example, looking for the top 10 cruise vacation destinations? Rather than hoping customers find that information via some travel survey, then put two and two together, Princess Cruises smartly tweets that info out and at the same time lets people know they have cruises that take you there.

insights-princess

Another company setting the standard in this area is Pandora Radio. When a piece of legislation that could impact their business was introduced in the U.S. Senate, they turned to Twitter to educate listeners. They regularly updated their followers on the progress of the legislation. And, they thanked their tweeps for the support. (Very important!)


4. Recognize Employees


There are so many ways you can share with Twitterland the things you do from an employee standpoint. Everything from healthcare coverage, to free gyms, and employee orientation can all get the Twitter treatment. But when it comes to tweeting about employees, the leader is really Marriott International.

employees-marriott

First, they very smartly tweet about their company’s commitment to diversity. As a reader, this speaks volumes about what’s important to Marriott as a company. Second, I have been equally impressed with the sensitivity they expressed for their associates and others during the recent tragedy in Jakarta. That puts a very human face on the corporate Twitter account.


5. Profile Customer Successes


Twitter, like many other social networks, is made up of groups of really supportive individuals who want to see positive happenings and big wins with social media.

Jessica Lee, senior employment manager for APCO Worldwide, feels that as Twitter matures we’ll start seeing companies share more of their own and their clients’ successes. “I personally like sharing even the very smallest things – clients wanting to get more involved in social media, or how our own Facebook Fan Page is growing – because it’s exciting to see the growth along with new and different ways of being applied in the business world.”

DAXKO, meanwhile, is combining the popularity of Twittering by their customers with their company user’s conference by setting up a Twitter account for the conference. According to Dunn, they’ll use the site to “live tweet from the conference so our customers that couldn’t attend can follow what’s going on and hopefully get some value out of it.”


6. Be Responsive


Using Twitter for sharing business messages is one thing. But as your culture becomes more defined on Twitter, you might find yourself using it provide customer service. @ComcastCares has raised the bar for addressing customer service matters via Twitter.

responsive-comcast

Much of the success attributed to @ComcastCares is their responsiveness. Dunn agrees. “I think I’d rather have no Twitter account than an account that wasn’t responding to replies or DMs within 5 to 10 minutes. Customers that are savvy enough to use Twitter are going to expect a lot of responsiveness.”

And, it’s not only how fast you respond but how you respond. Lee reminds us that “whether your customer is a consumer of your product or service, or in my case, a potential employee who is interested in working for APCO – the tone should still be conversational and friendly. And ultimately, you want it to be an extension of yourself and a reflection of your organization’s culture.”


7. Ask Questions About the Future


If you’re looking to reach into the mind of consumers, Twitter can be a medium to get real-time information. Just ask a simple question, what are you concerned about?

question-starbucks

Or, what do you want to see in our tweets?

question-marriott

As a consumer, I love it when companies ask me for my opinion. It shows me they care about me and what I have to say. And, I love it even more when I see a company take suggestions and ideas seriously.


Conclusion


So whether it’s an individual talking about their organization or a company tweeting about what makes them special, Twitter can help to define and promote your corporate culture. Even with 140 characters you can say a lot about yourself, your workplace, and what you do.

Use the examples in this post as the starting point for a conversation or training session about Twitter best practices and your corporate culture. By sharing with your team the right way to leverage Twitter, we can all celebrate our successes together. If you know any other good examples of companies using Twitter to share their corporate culture in a positive way, please share them in the comments.

By Sharlyn Lauby

Sharlyn Lauby is the president of Internal Talent Management (ITM) which specializes in employee training and human resources consulting. She authors a blog at hrbartender.com.

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