Armadillo Studios Inc.

Social Media Experts: Two Bits of Advice

If you’re looking for the hot catch phrase for 2009, look no further than the term _Social Media Expert_ or _Social Media Marketing_.

The Internet and the Web Design Industry is a buzz with this new term. While a select few are championing themselves as leaders in the Social Media field, many predominate members of the Web Design Industry are shunning the two terms and working to create a compressive definition.

We’ve been following “Roger Kondrat’s twitter feed”:http://twitter.com/roger for the past little while as he explores the topic and has dug up some interesting links. These articles have got the proverbial hamster wheel spinning a bit for the Armadillo Team and we would like to point out two extremely important ideas (or warnings) about Social Media from articles that Roger has posted.

So have a quick look over these two tidbits of cautionary advice and insight before looking at Social Media Marketing for your business.

What _Truly_ Defines someone as a Social Media Expert?

Enrique Guiterrez’s article on “Social Media Marketing don’ts and do’s”:http://enrique-gutierrez.com/2008/11/social-media-marketing-donts-and-dos/ has a series of important points to consider when approached by a Social Media Marketer, but the most important seems to be that a _true Social Media Marketer is not just an avid user of Social Media, but someone that will be able to explain how they will utilize Social Media to get your customers engaged_.

Many so-called Social Media Experts seem to be championing their followers, links or the size of their own audience as proof of their Social Media expertise. But this is alone odes not qualify some one as a true _Social Media Expert_. Instead these so-called experts should be detailing and justifying the various campaigns they have launched, the successful reinterpretations of brands for social media they have created and the business effects on their client’s campaigns.

As Enrique puts it, an expert who champions their audience will do nothing more than create an _Echo Effect_ in regards to your product. What you need to find is someone who understands Social Media and can think out side of the box. This individual must be able to look at a product and find ways to manipulate the most popular Social Media applications or sites to increase a products brand.

They should be able to explain your audience and then dissect what sort of applications or sites that audience utilizes that you could benefit from by having a presence.

Can Your Company Take advantage of Social Media?

Our answer is a resounding *Yes!*.

We here at Armadillo Studios believe there is great potential in Social Media Marketing; especially in the undeserved Southern Albertan market.

But as pointed out on Traacker’s list of “10 simple rules to tell who you are talking to”:http://traackr.com/blog/?p=36, it takes some understanding and patience to get true value out of Social Media Marketing.

As the article mentions, Social Media Marketing should be _a relatively inexpensive_ venue for promoting your business’ services. You do not need a large budget to get involved in Social Media Marketing; instead you need time, commitment and the persistence to let it grow. Many _So-called_ Social Media Markters are championing large advertising budgets and fast ROI on their campaigns.

In reality, these campaigns are relatively inexpensive and require a little bit of time to foster to fruition.

For example a Niche Bakery could set-up a _free_ “Twitter account”:http://twitter.com/about to update clients on the specials for that week. Or create a _free_ fan page on Facebook to notify their subscribers of specials, products or even some home made recipes. The only investment the bakery truly needs to create a community is a *small amount of dedicated time to constantly update* their Twitter/Facebook accounts, *some energy* to reach out to potential clients and *a web site as a focal point* for the community. As you can see this sort of campaign is relatively inexpensive (As signing up for most Social Media Networks requires zero investment costs), but it does require time and patience to foster a loyal community.

While it seems relatively easy for a Bakery to take advantage of Social Media, what about a legal firm? Facebook, YouTube and Twitter are all great communities, but none of them necessarily fit the professional image of a Legal Firm. But a true successful Social Media Marketer will still be able to leverage other tools such as a Published Professional Article feed, LinkedIn Company page or other legal related communities to help showcase the Legal Firms Expertise.

While both examples are on different ends of the business spectrum; both campaigns require minimum monetary investment and time.

Are Social Media Campaigns Worth it?

We here at the old Armadillo Studios believe and champion Social Media and the tangible benefits that it can potentially bring to our clients. We have been working to launch integrated campaigns, but are not ready to call our selves fully-fledged Social Media Experts. We put together this little article to caution others before they get caught up in the excitement of social media and provide some information for potential clients.

If this topic interests you, please read “Aaron Roe Fulkerson”:http://www.oblogn.com/2009/02/01/social-media-expert/ list of Quantitative metrics for determining a Social Media expert or Mark Havenner’s article on “Measuring ROI of Social Media – Another Perspective”:http://seowizardry.ca/The_Wizards_Blog/measuring-roi-of-social-media-another-perspective/

LinkedIn – Should You be Using it on Your Consulting Site?

Do you know what “LinkedIn”:http://www.linkedin.com is?

Our guess is that you’ve probably never heard of it. Which is definitely fine?

At first glance, LinkedIn looks like another run of the mill social networking web site, albeit a professional version of Facebook. Just another Social Networking tool to post a profile, update for a couple of months and then ignore once the next fad comes around.

Unfortunately, that assumption would mean that you are missing out on a very powerful self-promotional and connection tool, especially if you’re a freelance consultant.

First and foremost, over 30 million users are currently utilizing the LinkedIn Social Network and that number is growing daily. Secondly, when used correctly, it is one of the most powerful tools to increase your professional online presence. (For a list of ideas on how to use LinkedIn, “read Guy Kawasaki ‘s post on the ten ways you can use Linkedin to enhance your connections”:http://blog.guykawasaki.com/2007/01/ten_ways_to_use.html ) Using LinkedIn’s connection matrix can garnish you dozens of new connections within any given Industry. In addition, you can utilize LinkedIn’s profile links to increase your search engine strength for your own personal web site. But more importantly the Discussion threads and Industry groups on LinkedIn can provide you a means to demonstrate your expertise.

And it is this final reason that we truly believe is LinkedIn’s greatest benefit and why, for our clients in the Southern Alberta region, *now is the time to get on the Linkedin bandwagon*.

We believe that establishing yourself within your key industry on LinkedIn or providing thoughtful comments to open discussions is a great way to increase your profile’s views. And the more profile views you can garner, the more likely you’re going to appear in a project managers or HR representatives search on _Industry Specific Consultants_.

One of the trends we’ve noticed is that the Oil & Gas and Energy Industries is one of the most poorly under representative groups in the LinkedIn network. Couple that observation with the growing popularity of LinkedIn within the Calgary/Southern Alberta region and this is a perfect time to start marketing yourself as an expert in _Oil & Gas Mineral and Contract Administration_ or as an _Energy Sector Consultant_. In particular to start curtailing your profile to attract people in this underrepresented market. (You can “view one of our profiles here”:http://www.linkedin.com/in/connorturner)

With an estimated value of close to “1 Billion dollars, LinkedIn”:http://www.techcrunch.com/2008/10/22/linkedin-announces-227-million-follow-on-round-from-sap-goldman-sachs-and-mcgraw-hill/
is a Social Networking Tool that appears to be establishing itself for the long run and a key Human Resources tool. So now is the time to set-up an account, link it to your web site, and get involved with your professional community.

Who knows where it will take you.