Promoting catalog websites with social media

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Social media is a natural venue for promoting your online catalog
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Tips and tricks to keep promoting catalog websites on track and social

When it comes to promoting catalog websites, social media is one of the most effective ways to get the word out.  But with dozens and dozens of social media outlets to choose from, how do you keep from getting overloaded...or lost?

The secret lies in focusing on the way your message is presented, and then selecting the best social media for each type of presentation.

The five basic types of presentation

  • Things people read
  • Thing people see
  • Things people hear
  • Things people experience
  • Things people share
Each of these approaches gives you a unique set of options for promoting catalog websites.  Together, they help you sort through the social media maze.

Things people read

One of the most traditional approaches remains the one of the best.  But with social media, it's not about ads.  It's about usable, engaging content. 

For this, look to the content heavy players in the social media market such as blogs, Facebook, Ning and Slideshare, all of which offer you a chance to share substantial pieces of information in each posting.

Although not technically social media, article sites provide you with a place to create content that relates to your catalog's niche or target market.

Things people see

Unlike things people read, using sites that promote visual images allows you to showcase and share everything from your catalog cover to pictures of your individual products. 

Sites like Flikr, Pinterest, Picassa (public albums) are all good choices for posting and sharing images for promoting your catalog website. 

Be sure that all of your images are tagged with good keywords, and that the connection to your website catalog is clear.  Remember, this isn't about randomly sharing's about raising brand awareness and bringing in qualified visitors, so keep that in mind when you select which images to share.

Things people hear

Your voice may be one of the best tools you have for publicizing and promoting your website, if you select your words -- and your venue -- correctly.

Podcasts are a simple, affordable and effective way to bring people into your website. But a word of caution...this is not about making commercials.  Podcasts are about information or entertainment (or both) -- they are not about sales or self-promotion. While a "Sponsored By" at the start, or an offer at the end are expected, "salesy" content will backfire.

You may want to post your podcasts on your blog or website, but be sure to also upload them to iTunes so listeners can easily subscribe to your recordings.  Then keep them coming to keep and build your listener base. As with your images, be sure your content is well-tagged with links to your catalog website.

Things people experience

Social media experience happens when a site effective combines several types of messaging into one package. 

The leader in social media experience is YouTube, where people listen, view, learn, are entertained, comment and share all on one page. And when it comes to promoting catalog websites, YouTube is one of the very best social media choices.

Don't be intimidated by the idea of videos.  You don't need a script or fancy video equipment to create good videos to promote your site.  Keep your target audience in mind as you film and post.  Be creative, dare to even be silly sometimes.  Combine information with humor.  

And of course, do make sure your videos are tagged with a link to your site. 

Things people share

Social media is all about the share.  From Twitter to Facebook, YouTube to Digg, if you offer content, links, information and experience worthy of being shared, you're well on your way to harnessing the power of social media for your catalog site.

The rules of the social road

No matter which social media tools you select, make sure you keep the social aspect in mind.  These aren't places for your ads...they're places to reach out to people, to listen to their needs, to share what you know, and to build awareness of how your catalog can work for them.

Enjoy the ride!

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