Social media has become a new tool in the marketing of businesses. A marketing plan that is based around social media can heighten the profile of any company, in turn bringing in increased levels of revenue and a client base that will potentially remain loyal for a number of years. Regardless of how small your company is, implementing social media into your marketing campaigns can become the key to increasing your business revenue.
Below we present a list of some of the most effective social media tools/sites and an analysis of how they can assist in your business marketing strategy.
Top 5 social media marketing sites:
The King of the social media world – Facebook is an unstoppable juggernaut that will not be dethroned as the most subscribed social media site for the foreseeable future (even though the stats for May-June 2011 indicate that user registration trends on Facebook has declined for the first time ever). Created by the Internet entrepreneur Mark Zuckerburg in 2004, Facebook has quickly established itself as the first port-of-call for anyone wishing to enter the world of social media. Its simple, no-nonsense user-interface and high level of interactivity, make using the site a breeze and beginners can pick up the Facebook system extremely quickly. This hyper-usability is why Facebook currently has nearly 700 million users.
The most effective way of marketing a business through Facebook is through the creation of a business profile page (a fan page) which leads to a greater level of interactivity with customers through the publishing of photos, relevant events and a forum in which users can ask questions about your products and services. You can attract more users by rewarding current users with exclusive Facebook only deals, effectively creating a word-of-mouth buzz that will ripple through the Facebook community if carried out correctly. Once you have an established fan base, keep them engaged with your Facebook page by asking the community questions and encouraging them to take part in polls. The world of Facebook is cutthroat and you must ensure that you keep users on-side through high levels of interactivity.
Along with Facebook, Twitter’s roots lie in California where it was initially produced in March 2006 and made available to the general public two months later. Twitter has also had a similarly meteoric rise in users, with current estimates at around 200 million registered Tweeters. Twitter is best described as a micro-blogging platform whereby users post updates (or tweets) of their daily occurrences which can be no more than 140 characters long (much like a text message). Users can Tweet as often as they want and have the ability to follow who they want, effectively breaking down all privacy walls that Facebook allows. Popular with the celebrity sect, users are able to ‘follow’ their favourite celebrities and stay in touch with what they get up to in their daily lives.
In terms of marketing a company, your emphasis should be on being at the forefront of current Twitter trends and jumping on bandwagons at the earliest opportunity. Re-Tweet that which is trending and once you have an established set of followers you can begin to promote your own products, services and ideas. Your aim is for users to re-Tweet your Tweets and in turn gain more followers, so produce comments that they will deem as funny, irreverent or just plain informative. This places an emphasis on the creation of ‘Tweets’ that are interesting and original. Ensure that you are constantly sending out a stream of Tweets and encourage your followers to answer questions to keep them engaged. Not everything has to be about your business so include observations of other topics and talk about popular tweets to keep yourself at the forefront of what is hot. It’s all well and good to blow your own trumpet but don’t be scared of mentioning your competitors too. Your followers will appreciate a non-bias approach to your service and prefer to follow someone with a personality rather than a faceless business.
YouTube is a different animal altogether. With millions upon millions of videos already uploaded onto the world’s favourite video website, you must create something that is truly unique in order to obtain views and heighten your brand awareness. It feels like YouTube has been around since the dawn of man, but somewhat surprisingly, the video hosting site has only been with us since 2005. Bought by Google in 2006, YouTube now amasses a colossal 3billion video views per day.
There are a number of different approaches to gaining views and potential product buyers but the most successful approach lies in creating videos that highlight the unique quality of your product and streaming them over a slickly run channel that you have full control over. You should be creating videos on a regular basis in order to generate a solid collection of clips that will keep your channel ranked highly. In creating a channel that has an extensive library of videos, you are more likely to feature on YouTube’s home page which will serve to win more subscribers and viewers of your videos. Your primary aim when uploading videos to YouTube is for your clip to go viral, bear this in mind when creating your videos and take inspiration from other established stars of YouTube.
Reddit is a social news website that relies on its community to vote on news stories, links, commentaries, videos or anything else that is interesting on a particular day. The most voted upon posts reach the front page and therefore gain the most exposure and the most amount of views. News websites such as Reddit can be utilised by your business and will encourage more traffic to your website.
Headlines are what attracts people to news stories and the same is true of Reddit. If you can create headlines that entice people, then you’re onto a winner – think less factual and more enticing and do not tell your audience too much about what you are promoting through your headline. As well as the headline, timing is an essential element of Reddit. If your story gets a high number of votes in a small amount of time, it will rocket towards the coveted number one placing. Your aim is to get your story on the first couple of pages of the website as people will rarely read past the second page of stories. Make your statements interesting, quirky and concise and the possibilities of marketing through Reddit will really open up. Do not set out to be completely blatant in what you are promoting. If people find your product or service interesting, they will happily click on your post to see what you are promoting but ensure that you are posting links to other topics too. Reddit rates users in terms of ‘Karma’ – if you are a good community member and consistently create links that people like, you will gain more karma points and therefore more clicks on your links.
Quora is an online question and answer service moderated by its members. Think of Quora as a cross between Wikipedia and Facebook and you’re on the right track. As the youngest social media host on this list, Quora currently has around 1.5 million users – not bad considering the site only went public in June 2010. Like Twitter you are able to follow that which interests you. So whether you would like to follow a celebrity or a product, Quora will update your feed with questions that are relevant to these topics.
In terms of acting as a tool for your business, it gives you a platform upon which you can answer questions posted about your products or services and debunk misconceptions that the public may have. It gives you an idea about what people are asking about your products making it easier to produce content that appeals to potential customers. It is an excellent market research tool and enables you to ask questions anonymously. This gives you an edge over your competitors as you could potentially obtain a wealth of information on their services and products that you may not be privy to ordinarily.
Your primary aim when entering Quora is to set yourself up as an expert in your chosen field. To do this you need to answer questions concerning your chosen field effectively and efficiently. It is also important to share your answers and questions across as many platforms as possible in order to get your answers ‘voted up’. The beauty of Quora is that you can link your account to your Facebook and Twitter pages and in turn you can also share your answers to users of these sites increasing awareness.
Congratulations! If you read this post, you are now ready to immerse yourself into the realm of social media marketing. Please leave your comments and share your stories and experiences on how social media marketing has helped your business.
John oftentimes takes the lead as the Agile Project Manager and SEO expert, which allows him to be hands-on with the latest trends.