You can find hundreds of books to talk about Social Media Marketing, formerly known as Web 2.0. And I’m going to give you crash course in just a few paragraphs.
Your blog is an extremely powerful social media hub. If done correctly, it can boost the visibility of your business in ways never before possible. Think of it as an online magazine. You’re in charge of design and content. Your blog can help promote your company’s website or it can be a part of your website.
Setting up a blog is very easy. You can try using a free blogging system such as WordPress.com or Google’s Blogger. But if you want to appear really professional you need to go for a self-hosted blog. The most popular and easiest way to do this is through WordPress.org. You have lots of options for design themes and plugins. Of course a professionally designed unique theme that utilizes your company’s brand identity is best.
Maintaining it regularly can be a challenge. You have to constantly come up with copy that is interesting, relevant and remarkable. This could be once a week. Daily would be great. A few times a week is good too. The trick is to write posts that people want to read. Show your personality and have fun.
Facebook is the most popular online social network today, with over 400 million active users of all ages creating a home page and making “friends”. Facebook is a place where “friends” gather. Let everyone know what you’re doing. It’s easy to set up and is free. Show photos, play games, network, add applications. What’s your status? Your Facebook profile can be made public or private. You control the settings of who gets to see your page.
If you have a business you need a “Fan” page. A fan page is part of your original Facebook account. It is visible to everyone, registered or not, including all your customers. While a Facebook Group is better for hosting discussions, for long-term relationships, a “fan” page is best. Personalize your fan page with your company brand or image.
In order to get people to become a “fan” of your company, you need to drive them to your Facebook fan page. Therefore it is important to link your social media together. Create a button on your blog and company website, inviting visitors to become a Facebook fan. You want your fan page to be a fun place to visit. Create content and invite discussion and participation. Make your fan page a resource of information about your company and related products.
Another way you can entice users to join your fan page is by creating contests or coupons specifically for your Facebook fans. This could include discounts on products, free shipping, or other special deals. The goal is to get people to join your fan page and come back often. You need to give them a reason to participate. Encourage comments and input.
Creating a successful fan page takes planning, time and dedication. It’s not something you can set and forget.
Twitter can be a very powerful business tool with over 17 million users, a large number of which are older professionals with high incomes. It is called micro-blogging because your “posts” are limited to 140 characters. But you can create an unlimited number of posts.
With Twitter you have access to immediate feedback from people all over the world, 24/7. When you need help, just ask for it. You’ll be surprised at the number of people who will answer your questions and offer assistance. This is also a great way to do market research.
Use Twitter to let people know who you are. Your tweets can include links to photos and video. Send links to helpful or interesting websites. Promote contests, specials, sales, new products, whatever. Inform people when you make a blog post. Direct people to visit your website. And don’t forget to create a unique Twitter backdrop with your company brand and information.
Coming soon to Twitter will be “Promoted Tweets”, a way of advertising on Twitter. And you will be able to pay for a Commercial Twitter account which gives a business detailed analytics tools and the ability for several people to post to the same Twitter account.
LinkedIn is a business social network with over 65 million professional business users with an average income of over $100,000 a year. If you’re selling to other businesses you’ll want to have a LinkedIn presence. It’s a great way to drive targeted traffic to your website and further build your social network by exchanging “information, ideas and opportunities”.
Building Buzz and Getting Noticed
The best way to get noticed is to remain consistent. That means you must post to Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and write your blog posts on a regular basis. If you don’t, people will stop following you. That’s not good. Sign up with HootSuite and you can write one post and send it to any or all of your social media at one time.
The more followers, friends and fans you have, the more you’ll get. It’s kinda viral. People want to follow popular people. And when you give people what they want in terms of information, tips, discounts, promotions, contests, customer service, etc., they’ll keep coming back for more.
When you’re involved with social media marketing, you’re also a part of the exciting new world of mobile marketing. Facebook, Twitter and Blog news-feeds are a huge part of mobile phone apps. Even Apple has entered the arena with it’s new iAd concept coming to an iPhone or iPad near you. Imagine interactive mobile ads and videos that are graphic and enticing. Google already has a big presence in mobile text advertising. You don’t want to be left out of this new marketing frontier.
So that’s the essence of Social Media Marketing. It’s all part of Search Engine Optimization. The goal is to get people to your website or social media hub. This can also include being part of social bookmarking sites like StumbleUpon, Delicious, Reddit, Digg; photo sites like Flickr; rich media sites like YouTube and Spoink and don’t forget MySpace.
For more information on how you can become a part of this exciting and powerful world of social media marketing contact Chuck at Creative Juices.