When you realize how much time people spend on places like Facebook ,Twitter, Pinterest and other social networks then understanding how social media marketing can help you in your business becomes understandable. For many people, especially those of you who are used to traditional marketing methods navigating this terrain can often be confusing as well as challenging, which is why I have created this course.
Before jumping into social media marketing it helps to develop a background so that you can make sense out of everything..so back to school time ( for a short while)
Social media – what is it really?
While many people have created many definitions for social media my definition is:
“Social Media is a technology used across web and consists of online tools and websites that encourage people to interact with companies, brands, and people. Social media is interactive where you can create a two-way of even a group communication stream, where as with traditional media it is a one way stream an example would be television or print newspapers.
Examples of technology that powers social media are:
- social networks
- video sharing sites ( YouTube)
- Photo sharing sites
- Social bookmarks
- Google Hangouts
- Google Hangouts
Now that you have a basic understanding that social media is all about technology, now we can go to social networking. Social networking is about people, organizations, companies ( brands) who are going through the process and practice of interacting with each other through networks ( AdlandPro is a social network) for the purpose of sharing,engaging and collaborating with other people. The wonderful thing about social networking is that because it is so interactive, you can talk about anything and people will talk back to you.
When you think of the term “six degrees of separation” and the concept that any two people on the planet could make contact through a chain of no more than 5 other people, then you can look at social networking as a way that helps people make contacts that would be good for them to know and people they wouldn’t otherwise meet. Basically how it works is that you join a social site and invite people that you know – those people invite their own contacts to join and they invite their contacts and the process keeps going for every person.It is safe to say that with the advent social media, people are connecting and have been touched in many ways on a daily basis, from connecting with friends, lost friends, learning the news from all over the world and the way we communicate has been forever changed.
Social Media Marketing
As I have just explained social networking is great for entertainment, talking to friends and family, getting the news on any topic you can think of but because you are promoting a business, then you need to learn a new term and that is social media marketing. Social media marketing which in easy to understand terms means marketing the social way using different media such as videos, blogs and social networks to give your company/product exposure which will translate into sales, maybe a better way of wording social media marketing is interactive marketing.
Through the use of the different online tools social media marketing can also be used for other reasons
- Research ideas, and learn more about what customers and prospects are saying about their needs and experiences, and about your products and related areas.
- Gain new market and competitive insights to improve your products and services.
- Create and join conversations with customers, prospects, partners and other constituents about key issues and concerns.
- Create positive word-of-mouth about your products and services.
- Grow your company’s reputation as a thought leader
Just as 90% of people skip TV commercials the reality is that people will tune out any kind of advertising if they think they are being sold to outright through social networking and when you realize that the average person is exposed to more than 3000 advertising messages every day, then you start to see the challenge of social media marketing when it comes to promoting your business. While this may sound very gloom and doom, the fact that you are reading this and taking it all in, means that you are further a head than many marketers out there, who try to treat social media marketing exactly like traditional marketing.
Some of the differences between traditional marketing and social marketing are:
- Social media is interactive
- Traditional marketing is a one way conversation
- Social media is a one on one marketing
- traditional marketing is about mass marketing
- Social media marketing is about real time creation
- Traditional marketing is about scheduled/pre-produced messages
- Social media marketing uses informal language ( having a conversation)
- Traditional marketing is about formal language
- Social media marketing is about active involvement
- Traditional marketing is about passive involvement
- Social media marketing is about user generated ( or brand) content
- Traditional marketing is professional content
- Social media marketing is about authentic content
- Traditional marketing is professional content
- Social Media marketing is about YOU
- Traditional Marketing is about ME
Now that you have an understanding between social media marketing and traditional marketing, is there a right way or a wrong way to tackle social media (marketing)? Many Marketers are under the impression that joining different social networks is enough and that the magic will happen in creating leads or making sales and they would be very wrong!
To have social media marketing really work for you, you need to learn some basics.
1 You will need to join different networks and while some people will say 40, 50 or even 60 social networks,I will say that you need to join those networks where your potential customers will gather and you will have to join enough networks to claim your real estate. The top networks you should be on are
There is a tool called Namechk where you can see if your desired username or vanity URL is still available and I would highly suggest you use it to help in your social media planning.
2. Of the three words in Social Media Marketing the most important one is -> Social. Just like offline, social is about conversations and if all your are going to do is sell, then I can guarantee you won’t get very far. Take the time to socialize, be conversational, offer fresh and interesting content.
3. Your Profile is your resume and a business card! Put thought into building your profile and fill every thing in from music to books to your “bragging rights” People want to know YOU. If you are setting up a business profile of any kind, then take the time to present a professional presence. A good question for you to think about is -how do you feel when you go to a profile and all you see is ” Hi my name is xxxx and here is my product to buy” Talk about you first and then put links to your business in the proper places.
4. What are you waiting for? Get active! Make sure to like, follow others who are like-minded businesses,people who share common likes as you, organizations that mean something to you, groups that have the same interests as you. Make sure you are active and participating in conversations. Yes it all takes time, but it is time well spent and really is the best way to earn friends and brand advocates. Make sure you update on all the networks that you are involved in..people really do have short memories!
5. Part of being active is responding to what people are saying. Be generous with your comments, ask questions, leave well thought out comments on a persons blog, forum topic, Facebook post, a twitter message or a G+ discussion.
6. Support your community! Just as in real life, the relationships you form are special. Like in real life there are gives and takers. Create a good balance of giving and taking. A golden rule to follow would be – show support to your network if you expect them to support you!
I will end this lesson with the two rules of social media marketing:
Rule 1: Be REAL! The people on social networks want to see you for who you are. This doesn’t mean they want to know EVERYTHING about you, but they do want to know if you are real. Putting up a facade will not work and don’t do the smoke and mirrors on people. Be transparent and be willing to share.
Rule 2: You have to be active before the door slams in your face. Join the conversations and make your voice heard.
My next lesson will continue on the journey of social media marketing where I will talk about strategies and social networks.
Till next time, read, think and plan on being active.
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