Social Media Marketing

If you would have told someone ten years ago that they would have a mobile phone that was also a camera, a TV, and an MP3 player (of course they wouldn’t have known what an MP3 player was), chances are they wouldn’t have believed you. Technology has changed the way we consume information. It also has changed the way we communicate with each other.

It is no longer enough to offer one-way communication to our clients or potential clients. They expect more. Social networks are exploding with no apparent end in sight right now. Companies can no longer sit by and wait for this “fad” to pass by. By not participating in the online conversations, the company is choosing to forego sales, branding opportunities, and a whole generation of clients. Who can afford to do that?

Facebook is the largest social networking site in the world, boasting 500 million active users. Facebook has bypassed Google now, both in time spent on the site and in link origination, which means more people are going to sites based on links they find on Facebook rather than links found through a Google search.

Why? Facebook acts as a filter for consumers. People do business with people they know, like and trust. If my “friend” already trusts a business, I can make the assumption that because I know, like and trust my friend, I can trust the companies they recommend.

LinkedIn is another popular social networking site with 50 million members. LinkedIn’s primary purpose is professional use, whereas Facebook is experiencing a high level of overlap between personal and professional use. All Fortune 500 companies have executives on LinkedIn and someone joins approximately every second.

LinkedIn comes across as a resume online, however, if you limit your understanding of this site to that, you will be missing the power of LinkedIn as a sales generation tool. It has advanced search features that let you find leads, clients, and colleagues.

Twitter has created quite the buzz as the site for micro-blogging. Micro-blogging offers the ability to send out a short message to your “followers.” Twitter allows only 140 characters per tweet. It is often used in combination with a blog by sending out the link to a recent post.

When I first discovered Twitter, I must admit, I had a hard time seeing the benefit of a bunch of strangers answering the question Twitter posed, “What are you doing now?” I thought I would have to read about people having a latte at Starbucks and other such dribble. However, I found that I actually discovered valuable content. You just need to figure out how to filter the information out there.

I know social media marketing can seem like an overwhelming challenge, but with a few key strategies in place it doesn’t have to be. Here are three easy steps to start you in the right direction.

ONE: Determine your goals.

Brand awareness?

Connection to customers?

Increased lead generation?

TWO: Where is your target audience?

Facebook

LinkedIn

Twitter

THREE: Which tools to use?

Social Networks

Blog

Podcast

Flickr

YouTube

 

Don’t let the fear of the unknown paralyze you. The biggest disappointments come not from the things we attempted and failed at, but the things we never attempted at all. Let me warn you, a successful social media marketing plan is not always a guarantee. However, I can guarantee that if you don’t ever begin one, you will never succeed.

 

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