Have you ever wondered how Facebook can make so much money and sell so many stocks on the stock market when you do not pay a single cent to use it? I mean, think about it. It has millions of accounts, and there are thousands more that are created daily. However, it has released a statement in the past saying that it will never charge anyone to sign up. So how is it able to generate so much income? Well, it makes money through the advertisements that it posts, and its success has brought social media marketing (SMM) to the limelight.
So what exactly is social media marketing? Taken from the name itself, this is a marketing strategy that takes advantage of the different social media platforms to promote a brand, service, or product. It is a tool that can be used in various ways. These ways can be segregated into two major practices, and these are:
Advertising – this is not as straightforward as advertising on radio, billboards, or television. The principle this follows goes along the lines of “the best type of advertising is by word of mouth”. One sets up a site on one or more platforms, with the hopes that other people share the site. This sharing is as good as endorsing the product to their friends, and that could get other people to at least try the product or service once. If impressed, then they have new customers for perhaps the rest of the company’s existence.
Data Gathering – social media platforms are chock full of useful information. Not like an encyclopedia though, the information that social media contains is more on the thoughts of the people who have accounts on the Internet. As a company’s goal is to gain and retain customers, they could tap into the social media networks and see what people think of a product, as well as what changes they would want to see which can assist in product development. An insight into the competition could be gained through social media networks as well, and this information could very well spell the difference between a company going strong or crashing down.
So how does one get started in creating a social media marketing campaign? Although this is easier said than done, there are some steps that one can take to make sure that all the effort and money spent does not go to waste.
Social media planning
The basic steps are:
Plan – social media marketing is a battle for attention, and this battle has a lot of facets. You need to pick a way to get yourself into the program and get noticed. There are several things that you would want to look at, such as target audience, customer behavior, and keyword research. All these things would help you in determining how you would launch and sustain your campaign.
Create content – there is an adage that goes “first impressions last.” This also applies to your campaigns in SMM. You need to have content that would get the attention of your viewers, and that content has to be valuable enough so that your potential customers will read continuing viewing, and exploring your website then go to your competitor on the search results page. You should use all types of media available, and not just text. A video, perhaps some audio feeds together with text. This variety would cater to all interests (not all people like to read) and increase your chances of keeping your visitor’s attention.
Blog – you would notice that a lot of websites, whether a company or not, have a portion of it devoted to blogging. This is where they can place the news that they want to convey to their visitors and keep them inform, but do so in a relaxed environment such as from the comfort of their home. A blog would also have the flexibility of having different media types embedded into it, and areas where people can interact with the company (either through contests or simple comments and suggestions).
Link up – you would not want to keep on quoting other articles that are on the internet, as this may give the impression that you do not really have original content, but just surf the internet to get information. Do not be afraid to use links to articles that you believe are relevant to what your visitors want. This type of behavior may also be reciprocated. The more links in other sites that lead back to you, the more reliable your site becomes in the eyes of search engines.
Keep an eye on the competition. You may be working hard, but you are not the only one doing so. The people who offer services similar to yours are also doing the same thing. Keep an eye on their innovations, but do not copy them straight out. If you see what they are doing is working for them, then take the idea and make it better.
Measure – as the social media platforms gather data regarding what you need, they can also supply you with data that would show the results of your efforts. Google Analytics is an example of a result platform, and it would show you how your campaign has been fairing in terms of getting people to visit your website. Take advantage of these services as they would show if you are getting a return on your investment. If one campaign is not working, discontinue it and start working on something else.
The Internet has changed the way we do business, and social media has taken that a step further. These websites are indeed free for users, but it’s just a way to gather opinion-based information. They have created a marketing platform that shares people’s thoughts. All that you need to do now is gather the information, act on it, and then start moving your business in the direction that the public wants you to take. Don’t have the time yet, contact us and we will help you get started on the right track.