- Wikipedia 2007
Social media marketing can be thought of an indirect method of marketing your business. It is a powerful process which utilizes the principles of traditional marketing to programs with social ends that ultimately promotes your business through social media channels. Social media marketing is the new wave of online marketing and might be considered an indirect method of marketing. Traditional marketing focuses on immediate sales and gets right to the point. This is who we are, this is what we do, this is why you should buy our product or service, now buy it. The length of traditional sales cycles vary within industries but the goal is always the same - close that sale.
Social media marketing has the same goal but the means to the end are very different. It is generally frowned upon to try to do sell your product or service on industry forum sites, for example. Those forums are in place for the exchange of ideas, knowledge and networking. Most forums have a separate advertising section where businesses can pay for advertising. The idea behind participating in forums is to establish yourself as your industry expert. Sharing your knowledge and learning from those in the same industry or your target market results in exposure for you and your business.
If you provide helpful information, make constructive comments and ask appropriate questions, you will be offering value to potential customers and they will, eventually, come to look for more value from you. Naturally, your ultimate value is in the product or service you are trying to sell. The inherent problem with social media marketing is that it takes a lot of time and effort to achieve the eventual desired result - that being the sale. Many business owners either don't have the time to devote to something that does not provide immediate desired results (the delayed gratification theory) or they are resisting utilizing the powerful social media marketing available options specifically because of its indirect approach to sales and the time it takes to see results.
Social media marketing is really no different than social networking off the internet. When you attend a trade show or a company event, you are networking in a social environment with the desired result being to increase your customer base. Companies that sponsor golf outings, company picnics and other social events, often invite employees, customers and potential customers. What do these three groups of people do at these events? They socialize and network. Although some may develop friendships at such events, the main reason for and ultimate goal of such events is to increase the bottom line - meaning the company's profits.
The Internet offers massive sources for networking through blogs, forums, communities and of course the immense number of social networking sites like Facebook, Bebo, Dzone, Gather, Ryze, Squidoo, Tagged, Xing and many, many more. The networking concept is the same; the platforms are exponentially greater and different. The vast number of sites can be overwhelming (), so it is a good idea to focus your social networking on sites that are specific to your industry as well as some of the larger, widely used generic sites like Facebook, Plaxo, Linkedin, etc. I prefer to use the sites that are more business-oriented like LinkedIn and Plaxo - but that is a personal preference. To me, my Facebook profile has information and photos that are more appropriate for friends and family than business associates, but there are those who don't agree. Again, that is a matter of personal preference.
For discussion purposes, let's consider traditional (or direct) marketing to be a one way communication channel and social media marketing to be a two-way communication channel. In traditional marketing, a business might send you a direct mailer, an email, or you might see an advertisement in a magazine. These types of marketing campaigns cost the business a whole lot of money and don't always result in large volumes of sales. Now consider participating in two-way conversations on forums, blogs and other social networking sites. You, as a representative of your business, are engaging in "conversations" with your prospective clients and hopefully providing valuable content (content is King in social media marketing). Over time, you and your business will become more visible (as you increase your online presence), your reputation and value will increase and in time, your prospective clients will know who you are, the value in what you are selling and where to find you.
I always like to put myself in the other person's shoes to understand where they are coming from. I don't purchase anything before going on the Internet to find everything I can about the product or service I am considering buying. I read the reviews as well as what is being said about the competitive product or service. This being said, why would I expect anyone else to not do the same? If you think about social media marketing in these terms, its value, albeit a time-consuming process, may become more apparent to you.
It is important to keep in mind that social networks consist of loyal and engaging large audiences. Social media marketing can greatly benefit any business as it compliments your brand (an incredibly important topic in its own right), business and online profile. However, social media marketing takes time and serious dedication but the ultimate return you will receive will be well worth the time spent.
Whether or not a business owner embraces the value of social media marketing, there is no escaping the fact that the Internet is the new frontier for marketing. Social media has taken on a life of its own and if you have not jumped on the bandwagon, you are missing the boat. Social media marketing can greatly benefit any business as it compliments your brand, business and online profile.
As a business owner these days, there are so many different things you have to think about when it comes to your online marketing. One of these is managing your social media accounts to help improve your brand visibility, increase traffic to your website and build your business moving forward.
The main focus of a social media management service is to help you manage your interactions effectively. Social media provides you with the ability to promote your business, interact with your customers and push your business forward on a daily basis. But it is essential that you do this correctly to achieve the best results.
Before you make any decisions on a company to provide you with social media management, it's advisable to get a few options together that you can review and compare to find the one company you feel is the best match for your business.
Try and choose three social media management services providers. This gives you a good number to review each one, compare them against each other, and identify the services they provide and the prices they charge. This can help you narrow down your search considerably, leaving you with one or two potential suppliers to consider.
Remember don't always opt for the cheapest price. Cheaper isn't always better when it comes to your marketing efforts. Rather focus on the services provides, the reputation of the company and their reliability than on the price alone.
Another reason to consider a social Networking management service is that they will help you market your business using social media tools. Social media has grown exponentially over the years, almost every person around the world has one social media account, if not more. It is an advertising solution to help you reach your audience with ease, wherever they are in the world.
They focus on how you participate online, using social media as an effective tool to help you build relationships with your customers and other companies that can help you grow and push your business forward in the future.
You will also find that they will assist you with blogs, which is an essentials social media management service. When you start a blog, it's important to keep it updated with regular submissions to keep your customers interested and subscribed. It can also help drive traffic to your website, pushing you forward and helping you achieve online success.
They will help you join social networks. Networking can be a valuable part to any business and forging long term relationships with other companies can help you build your customer base and enjoy increased revenue now and in the future.
A good social networking management service will monitor your success, providing you with accurate reports that you can rely on and trust. This can also help you identify how their services are working for your business, while helping them identify changes that need to be made to ensure your success in the future.
Social Networking management services can amplify your online presence considerably. While you probably already have a website and you focus on your SEO efforts, you need more to dominate your market in a competitive online environment. These services focus on your business, your audience and your competitors, ensuring that you continue to achieve success on a daily basis.
There are factors to take into consideration when choosing a social media management service, identifying if you make the right choice to meet your needs. Ask them for a list of current customers and visit their social media pages to see how they are doing and how you can benefit from this type of service.