Monday, October 29, 2012

Social Media is Word of Mouth on Steroids

Social Media?
Social media is a relatively new term that has taken over our personal and professional lives quicker than any other form of marketing. Radio took 38 years to reach 50 million users while Facebook added 200 million users in less than a year.  CEOs and management are struggling to cope with just exactly how their businesses can benefit from social media. 
Companies think they are competing with the store across the street or in the same city. The reality is that social media sites are creating competitors in England, Peru, Hong Kong and across the globe.
Getting noticed in a daily cascade of more than 1.5 billion new pieces of content, more than 200 million tweets, and 1.5 million new YouTube videos is like being a needle in a haystack. 

Do Businesses Need Social Media?
The real power of social media marketing lies in its ability to convey your message as it is shared on an exponential number of social media sites. Through social media marketing, your company has the ability to:
  • Increase the speed of your brand message and story. Compared to print media, Tweets can be sent in mere seconds. Pictures can be Pinned in the same amount of time.
  • With billions of users on the major social media sites, your business has the ability to engage with a much larger social network.
  • It puts the power of “World of Mouth” on steroids.
  • It creates conversations more quickly between your customers and you.
Social Media Marketing Keys
Social media marketing allows you to create content on multiple social media sites that engages and builds online communities that facilitate your marketing message.
Keys to social media marketing are core principles that will allow your campaign to survive a potential social media meltdown:
  • Create content that flows and is easily shared.
  • Utilize multiple social media sites that always link back to your website and blog.
  • Create compelling content across multiple social media sites including YouTube and Slideshare. Remember, not everyone wants to read a 500-word essay.
  • Visual communication is as important as written content. Utilize images and videos published on Facebook, Google+. Pinterest and Instagram.
  • Share, share, and share with sharing buttons for Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest and Google+.
  • Social media marketing is not a one trick pony. Simply creating a Facebook page is a risky approach and likely will not produce desired results for your marketing campaign.
With social media marketing, you want to develop a strategy that clearly defines your audience and marketing goals. Once you have completed this very crucial first step, you can begin to implement those marketing tactics on multiple social media channels that have been determined to deliver results congruent with that strategy.
Some tips and tactics for social media marketing, an ever-evolving marketing platform:
  1. Blog – Create a home base for your content that you own.
  2. Facebook – include visual content when publishing to your timeline and use it to build engagement with your fans. Facebook continues to make changes. If your marketing team is not keeping up with these changes, your page could get lost in the minutiae of Facebook marketing.
  3. Twitter – Twitter recently has released numerous “user experience enhancements.” Subtly embedded in each are the building blocks of a better business plan. Twitter is slowly and incrementally improving advertiser reach on the service, one change at a time. Twitter now shares two different perspectives on new feature announcements with the official blog and the advertising blog — marking a shift towards advertiser opportunities versus user experience.
  4. YouTube – Creating short videos - 15-30 seconds – will captivate and create buzz about your brand.
  5. LinkedIn – Embrace the power of “Groups” on LinkedIn to position you as an expert and thought leader.
  6. Pinterest – At 10.4 million users, Pinterest is the fastest growing social media site in history. Pinterest has surpassed LinkedIn and Google+ in terms of referral traffic. Creating boards that suit your business product categories and have some visual sharing fun are keys to generating followers as well as driving traffic back to your website.
  7. Instagram – Make it personal and humanize your brand as social media is about being human.
Patience and Persistence
Like most marketing tools, social media marketing is not a quick fix. It needs to be built on the premise that a long term approach will create relationships with your customers that will continue to grow and build over time.

Social media marketing success depends on you being persistent and continuing to publish content that educates, informs, entertains and inspires your customer base and develops and builds new relationships.