WebProNews recently sat down with Kelsey Advertising & Design interactive director Brandon Eley. He told us, "A lot of times brands and companies go out on the web, and they think that they want to embrace social media marketing. They want to involve communities in their marketing, so they go to these communities like online forums, Twitter, Facebook, other social media websites, and they just spam their message."
"They go out and just literally broadcast their message to anybody and everybody, auto DM people on Twitter, post in forums with their links," he added. "Sometimes they even hide who they are and have employees going and posting as customers, posting positive reviews or other recommendations for people, when they're actually doing this under the guise of being a customer or being a friend or being someone who's recommending a brand, and it's obviously very unethical and in some cases it's illegal. The FTC's cracking down on that kind of thing."
It's entirely possible that this kind of behavior is also impeding the marketing progress of some brands. It's not always clear what is acceptable and what isn't, though good judgment will prevail more often than not.
"So, there's a lot of that going on, and I think a lot of legitimate brands are scared to get into social media because they're afraid of the backlash that they see in instances like that," said Eley. "One of the biggest things is to look at the space that you're in, and realize what the rules and guidelines are in that space. A lot of times with online forums, there are guidelines that they ask you to follow, and every community might be different, but the guidelines might be that you're not allowed to post links to properties that you own. So you have to abide by those guidelines and respect them. That's just the right thing to do."
"While you can promote your products and services, you can answer questions about your products and services when people ask, it's not appropriate to just go and post those things," he added. "Twitter and Facebook have like unspoken rules about what's right and what's wrong, but it's really easy to look at other brands that are making good examples, and follow those good examples. Look at how they're using those spaces before you get involved."
While these principles generally apply to blogging, in terms of content, you're still trying to get people to buy what you're selling.
"A lot of bloggers set up a blog, and they focus on generating traffic to their blog, but they don't really focus on what the ultimate goal of their blog is," Eley told WebProNews. "For instance, your goal might be to eventually get a book deal or to promote a book that you've already written. It might be to sell a product or service or get leads for a consulting business. There are lots of different reasons that you blog, but these ultimate goals aren't usually well defined by bloggers. They think that maybe generating traffic or generating advertising clicks is a goal."
"If you're trying to promote a book or get someone to buy a product off your blog...most bloggers don't even know what a call-to-action is," he said. "In e-commerce and online marketing, we use these terms and we've been measuring these metrics for years, but blogger still don't really use those tools."
He suggests using tools like Google Website Optimizer and Google Analytics to look at the metrics that matter. You've got to know what the conversions you're looking for are though.
Some have proven that it is possible to make good money with advertising on blogs, but it's not an easy feat. Not everybody can be Darren Rowse. In many cases, it's going to be easier to sell a product or service. Brian Clark of Coppyblogger knows a thing or two about this. See what he had to say about it in our interview with him.