Social Media Marketing Basics


Social media marketing has soared, and large companies have used it successfully to promote products and services. Small business owners also use social media to boost sales and drive more traffic to their websites. If you are new to it, and if it seems a little confusing, here's what you need to know:

What Social Media Looks Like

Shiv Singh, vice president of Razorfish, has defined social media the following way: "The purpose of a business is to create a customer...who creates customers."  When done right, social media takes word-of-mouth to a whole new level, utilizing technology that relies on users' input and interaction. Existing and prospective customers will market your business for you, as a reward for quality content and promotions. If you do any work online you've encountered social media, perhaps without realizing it. Here are popular social media channels that millions of users visit every day:

  • Twitter
  • Digg
  • Facebook
  • YouTube

When you're first starting out in social media marketing, you should join these websites as a member. Learn the benefits and capabilities from the user's perspective. You'll be in better position as a marketer because you did.

Why Use Social Media Marketing

You may be utilizing traditional marketing methods in place of social media marketing. You need to mix it up a bit, because traditional marketing has some shortcomings:

  • Up to nine points of contact are required to get customers to buy something
  • It's slower in response time than social media marketing
  • It costs more for mailing and printing
  • Limited to a region
  • You can spend double or triple the time on traditional marketing than  social media marketing

Social media marketing is not magic, and your expectations for great results should be measured. However, there is the potential to have more success in business than if you were to solely rely on  traditional marketing tactics.

Social Media Marketing and Lead Generation

Your business needs sales to make money, and prior to any selling, you need leads. Social media marketing is a great platform for generating leads. For example, you can post a tweet inviting Twitter users to fill out a survey on your website. You can capture the leads from that tweet, and have them go through your sales funnel, the way you would if someone called your business for the first time. The nature of social media marketing makes generating leads more instant. You can expect an immediate reaction, and that's why it's important to think through your strategy and make sure all of the technical and other issues are ready to go before you every post anything.

Link Baiting

All of your social media market should result in more back links, which means other websites and blogs linking to your website. You can accomplish that with link baiting. It's like fishing, except you're fishing for links. The "bait" is great content that will make others want to link to it. For example, if you create a video on something that's hard to explain on paper, you may get several website owners who find that information valuable to share with their readers. Google, Yahoo! and other search engines like it when you have other websites linking to yours. They reward you with a higher page rank in search engine results.

If you're not already using social media for marketing, don't wait a moment longer. Twitter is the easiest form to use, and it can be your starting point.

Daphne Mallory, Esq. is the co-owner of Mallory Writing Services and has written more than 100 articles helping home based business owners and entrepreneurs start and market their business. You can learn more about her here.

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