In Social media
By now most companies have a Facebook and Twitter account to announce special deals and incentives for “Followers” and “Likes”. That’s a great place to start your social marketing efforts, but if that’s all your company in doing in the social media marketing arena, you’re missing some golden opportunities and you need to seriously consider expanding your social media marketing in new areas.
Unlike more traditional marketing, social media marketing centers on creating content that attracts consumers’ attention and encourages them to share it with their social networks. Your corporate message spreads from user to user because it appears to come from a trusted, third-party source, as opposed to the brand or company.
Here are some social marketing sites that you need to seriously consider using:
Blogs. Okay, technically a blog isn’t a social network or even part of any social networking site. But blogs are social and blog comments integrate into other social media tools, helping spread the word about your business. A blog is a low-cost, high-return tool that can handle marketing and public relations, raise the company profile and build the brand. If you’re not already blogging, you need to start – ASAP.
Using a blog gives your company an identity and helps you gain visibility on the web. Utilize your blog to educate and help clients and you’ll build trust and strengthen your credibility as an expert in your industry.
Blogging requires a time commitment and some writing skills, which not every small business has in-house. Fortunately, blogging is something that can be contracted out. Even though your postings are almost instantaneous, tangible results can take time.
LinkedIn. LinkedIn is a social network for business professionals. It’s big, with 161 million members in over 200 countries. People are joining LinkedIn at a rate of approximately two new members per second. And more than 2 million companies have LinkedIn Company Pages. Use this business social network as an extended business card. As people hear your name or mentions about your business, there is a good chance that they’ll check you out on LinkedIn. So fill out your personal and business profiles and link them back to your business website.
YouTube. The best known and largest video site is YouTube. Although you don’t have to, you should consider producing your own videos for your marketing efforts. For example, if you post a video to your blog, upload it to YouTube to reach a broader audience, and embed the video content in your blog posts. YouTube has a powerful analytics tools available so that you can evaluate the effectiveness of your video content. While your customers might not be on YouTube, you can still use it as a place to store and tag your videos, and then distribute them to other social networks where you might prefer to invest more time and effort.
Flickr. Start a Flickr account for your business and post photos of your customers or your products (or both). Flickr offers a place where people can share photos with others, but also has discussion groups, many focused on local markets that offer additional opportunities for you to market your business. Like YouTube, your customers might not be on Flickr, but you can still use it as a place to store and tag your photos, and then distribute them to other social networks.
Pinterest. Pinterest allows account holders to create a virtual bulletin board – posting pictures of what interests them – and other users can drop by and evaluate your taste. If others see something they like, they can repin that image to their own Pinterest account. In other words, Pinterest is a content sharing service that allows members to take images, videos and other objects from your board and “pin” them to their board. But what does it all mean from a marketing perspective? Pinterest can effectively showcase your products on boards with links to your e-commerce or designated website. Such pins can be easily tagged with prices, repinned, and ultimately purchased.
There are hundreds of other social media sites – too many to mention all of them here. There are benefits and drawbacks to using each site. Explore the different sites to find which ones fit into your marketing philosophy and needs. Using the various social networks effectively, will help your brand reach more customers, drive more traffic, and sell more products.
Just remember, it’s about consistency and your social media marketing campaigns are part of your company’s overall marketing strategy. Make sure each message is aligned with your brand and marketing strategy as well as company philosophy and values, regardless of the medium.