Social Media Marketing, which is also known as Social Influence Marketing, is the method of using social influencers, social media platforms, and online communities for marketing, public relations, and customer service. Some of the more common social media marketing tools include Twitter, blogs, LinkedIn, Facebook, Flickr, and YouTube. One of the major benefits of advertising on a social networking site is that advertisers can leverage the users’ demographics and target their ads appropriately.
In terms of Internet marketing, Social Media refers to a collective group of web properties whose content is mostly published by Internet users, not direct employees of the property (ie, the vast majority of videos on YouTube are published by non-YouTube employees).
Social Media Optimization (SMO) is a series of methods that generate publicity through social media, online communities, and community websites. Social media marketing has two important aspects:
(1) Adding links to services so that their pages can be easily saved and submitted to and for those services.
(2) Building brand or company methods that visitors can promote themselves in multiple online social media venues.
The guidelines of Social Media Marketing are not easy to define. Because the concept is still so new, many bloggers, as well as public relations experts, marketers, and social media experts, don’t always agree on their definition of what Social Media Marketing involves. Quantitative results from social media remain hard to measure.
Companies can count page views and compare the number of positive vs negative comments. Sometimes, consumer feedback can influence an important decision. Online social networks started as digital gathering places where people could communicate with each other. Currently, companies are using social media more and more, hoping to sell their products and services or get their message out where consumers are constant visitors.
Blogs and social networks comprise an emerging social web. The social web includes social media sites and it is a place where social media marketing can occur. It’s not just the technologically savvy brands that have pages on Facebook, post videos on YouTube, and exchange short messages with consumers on Twitter. Long-established companies that are used to traditional forms of marketing and advertising are also experimenting. Companies that now embrace the idea of communicating directly with the consumer find that consumers respond positively to that kind of personal contact. The potential for your business to grow exponentially is very real.
As Internet usage continues to grow in other parts of the world and social networks continue to proliferate, advertising dollars on social networking sites outside of the US will begin to play a major role as well.
Social Media Marketing as a Selling Tool
What is one of the most valuable and credible selling tools that you can use? The most credible tool that you can use when considering whether to buy a product or service is word of mouth. Other people who have had personal experience with those products and/or services will be your most reliable and credible source for advice. This applies to both online and offline buying; those who use online social networks are three times more likely to trust the opinion of others in their network than traditional advertising when it comes down to making a decision about a purchase.
How does that apply to you and your business? Social Media Marketing is the latest trend in the word-of-mouth marketing arena and optimizing your Social Media Marketing strategy lets you leverage your own unique content, along with social media tools and sites, to communicate important information within your area of expertise. This concept, especially in combination with search engine optimization (SEO), is an extremely effective tool that drives valuable traffic to your website. Social media marketing uses fresh content and tools such as news, social bookmarking, social networking, content tagging, and other interactive social websites to create brand awareness, establish thought leadership, increase qualified website traffic(which, combined with SEO and information architecture, can help increase your lead generation), and develop a community.
Implementing a successful and effective social media marketing strategy requires an understanding of the subject and available tools, a well thought-out plan, and experience in driving traffic through the use of the content. If all of those are part of your formula, your business is bound to succeed.
About the Author.
Michael Cohn is the founder and Chief Technology Officer (CTO) of CompuKol Communications LLC. He has over 25 years of experience in IT and web technologies.
Mr. Cohn founded CompuKol Communications to help small businesses and entrepreneurs increase their exposure and reputation on the Internet. CompuKol consults, creates, and implements communication strategies for small businesses to monopolize their markets with a unique business voice, vision, and visibility.
Prior to that, Mr. Cohn spent a significant amount of time at a major telecommunications company, where his main focus was on initiating and leading synergy efforts across all business units by dramatically improving efficiency, online collaboration, and the company’s Intranet capabilities, which accelerated gains in business productivity. His expertise includes social media marketing strategies; internet marketing; web presence design; business analysis; project management; management of global cross-matrix teams; systems engineering and analysis, architecture, prototyping and integration; technology evaluation and assessment; systems development; performance evaluation; and management of off-shore development.
Mr. Cohn earned a Master’s degree in project management from George Washington University in Washington, DC; and a Master’s degree in computer science and a Bachelor of Science degree in electrical engineering from Fairleigh Dickinson University in Teaneck, NJ.
Mr. Cohn is a member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE).