What on earth is Social Media Marketing?

SMM combines the goals of internet marketing with social networking sites such as Digg, Flickr, MySpace, YouTube and many others. The SMM goals will soon be different for every business or organization, however most will involve some kind of viral marketing to create idea or brand awareness, increase visibility, and possibly sell a product or service. SMM could also include online reputation management. Most online communities don’t welcome traditional direct or hard sell techniques so an effective SMM campaign will demand more finesse to execute properly. SMM campaigns should be targeted to the city you intend to reach with an email that appeals to them. Some typically common means of achieving this are with authoritative information, entertainment, humor or controversy.”

Social networking marketing could be considered an indirect way of marketing your business. It is just a powerful process which utilizes followers panel the principles of traditional marketing to programs with social ends that ultimately promotes your organization through social networking channels. Social networking marketing is the newest wave of online marketing and might be viewed an indirect way of marketing. Traditional marketing is targeted on immediate sales and gets directly to the point. This really is who we’re, this is what we do, this is the reason you should buy our product or service, now buy it. The length of traditional sales cycles vary within industries but the target is definitely the same – close that sale.

Social networking marketing has the same goal but the way to the end are extremely different. It’s generally frowned upon to attempt to do sell your product or service on industry forum sites, for example. Those forums have been in area for the exchange of ideas, knowledge and networking. Most forums have a separate advertising section where businesses can pay for advertising. The theory behind participating in forums is to ascertain yourself as your industry expert. Sharing your knowledge and learning from those in the same industry or your target market results in exposure for you personally and your business.

If you provide helpful information, make constructive comments and ask appropriate questions, you will soon be offering value to potential customers and they will, eventually, come to look for more value from you. Naturally, your ultimate value is in the merchandise or service you are trying to sell. The inherent trouble with social networking marketing is that it takes lots of time and effort to accomplish the eventual desired result – that being the sale. Many business owners either don’t have the time for you to devote to something that does not provide immediate desired results (the delayed gratification theory) or they are resisting utilising the powerful social networking marketing available alternatives specifically due to its indirect method of sales and the full time it requires to see results.

Social networking marketing is really no different than social networking off the internet. Once you attend a trade show or a company event, you are networking in a cultural environment with the required result being to improve your customer base. Companies that sponsor golf outings, company picnics and other social events, often invite employees, customers and potential customers. What do these three groups of people do at these events? They socialize and network. Although some may develop friendships at such events, the key reason for and ultimate goal of such events is to improve the underside line – meaning their profits.

The Internet offers massive sources for networking through blogs, forums, communities and of course the immense number of social networking sites like Facebook, Bebo, Dzone, Gather, Ryze, Squidoo, Tagged, Xing and many, many more. The networking concept is the same; the platforms are exponentially greater and different. The vast number of sites could be overwhelming so it’s recommended to target your social networking on sites that are specific to your industry along with some of the larger, trusted generic sites like Facebook, Plaxo, Linkedin, etc. I prefer to utilize the sites that are more business-oriented like LinkedIn and Plaxo – but that is an individual preference. In my experience, my Facebook profile has information and photos that are right for friends and family than business associates, but you can find those that don’t agree. Again, that is a matter of personal preference.

For discussion purposes, let’s consider traditional (or direct) marketing to be a one way communication channel and social networking marketing to be a two-way communication channel. In traditional marketing, a small business might send you a direct mailer, a contact, or you might see an advertisement in a magazine. These kind of marketing campaigns cost the business enterprise a complete lot of money and don’t always end in large volumes of sales. Now consider participating in two-way conversations on forums, blogs and other social networking sites. You, as a consultant of your organization, are participating in “conversations” together with your prospective clients and hopefully providing valuable content (content is King in social networking marketing). As time passes, you and your organization will be visible (as you increase your online presence), your reputation and value increase and in time, your prospective clients will know who you are, the worthiness in what you are selling and where to locate you.

I usually like to put myself in the other person’s shoes to know where they are coming from. I don’t purchase anything before going on the Internet to locate everything I could about the merchandise or service I am considering buying. I browse the reviews along with what’s being said in regards to the competitive product or service. This being said, why would I expect someone else not to do the same? If you were to think about social networking marketing in these terms, its value, albeit a time-consuming process, may be apparent to you.

It is important to remember that social support systems contain loyal and engaging large audiences. Social networking marketing can greatly benefit any business since it compliments your brand (an incredibly important topic in a unique right), business and online profile. However, social networking marketing takes some time and serious dedication but the ultimate return you’ll receive will soon be really worth the full time spent.

Whether or not a small business owner embraces the worthiness of social networking marketing, there’s no escaping the fact that the Internet is the newest frontier for marketing. Social networking has taken on a life of a unique and if you have not jumped on the bandwagon, you are missing the boat. Social networking marketing can greatly benefit any business since it compliments your brand, business and online profile.

One comment to What on earth is Social Media Marketing?

  • Kenneth_Foster

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