You may have read our articles on how to effectively integrate social networking tools like Twitter and Facebook into your overall education marketing strategy . Maybe you’ve even constructed an online presence for your company with these tools; if so, congratulations, and good luck in attracting more friends and followers (and turning them into conversions). But good marketing tools abound on the Web, and it’d be easy for an enterprising education marketing professional to add a substantial Web component to any campaign.
Well, OK — it’s not that easy. What you don’t want to be is an “accidental spammer” — that is, you don’t want to start out assuming that simply drowning every social networking site with links to your home page will result in increased sales. Web users can appreciate tasteful, targeted advertising, but they’ll turn on you in a second if they feel you’re trying to game the system. So take the time to develop a sound and well-structured strategy that respects your target audience.
With that in mind, here are some other social marketing tools you can use in your education marketing campaign.
Reddit , Digg , Mixx and the like. These are social blogs, where any user can post links to whatever they like. Sites like these abound on the Web, and are frequented by many tech-savvy users — as well as spammers. So don’t let the broad instances of links to funny cat pictures and webcomics fool you; these are discriminating groups of consumers who can spot a bad post a mile away. Links are voted up or down by the community, so don’t expect a link to your newest product or service to make the front page anytime soon. So why is this item even on the list? Well, first off, even if you post a link to your new product and it doesn’t go anywhere, it’ll still be on the site, which means your home page will get a bit more attention from the search engines. But more importantly, you can use your membership on sites like these to build trust, by posting useful, interesting links. If users like what they see and realize you’re not a spammer, they’ll be more likely to click on your homepage link.
del.icio.us . This is a great all-around resource for any Web user, and it’s a good way to get links to your products, services and news items out there. It’s essentially a social bookmarking service, which lets users bookmark pages they find interesting. What’s more, every user’s bookmarks are searchable by other users, so anyone on de.icio.us can peruse all of the links you’ve posted. The best feature is the ability to group your links by tag, so it’s possible to separate your “business” posts (like new products and services) from “resource” posts (which might be about developments in education, marketing, teaching tools, or whatever you think will be important to your audience).
Tip’d . This is similar to sites like Reddit and Digg, but is focused on business and financial news. A good small business resource, and a good place to make your mark in the small business communities that populate the Web.
I, Like, Totally Love It . OK, so this gadget-intensive site might not be the best plank in your online education marketing platform, but it’s a good place to post links to new products that might enjoy broader appeal.
Inbound Marketing . A good place to find resources on education marketing and marketing in general. Inbound isn’t necessarily a good place to market your wares, but it’s a great place to keep current on new tools and techniques.