It’s been quite some time since social media gradually became a powerful online marketing media. With the coming in of Twitter, social media marketing reached a new dimension altogether.
However, when I talk to some of the internet marketing enthusiasts, I get a feeling that a lot of them treat social media nothing more than a media to toy around with. So when Facebook/ Orkut gains popularity they go all out with that and when Twitter comes up, they start playing around with this new thing.
I see a lot of companies hiring social media marketers, a lot of guys wanting to get into social media marketing but when you want to have their opinion on this, many of them come up with a very confident but an equally confused answer.
The sad thing is that, unlike search engine marketing, the true value of social media still remains underutilized by most of us. A lot of companies, who do not have a proper marketing strategy in place, toy around with social media marketing just because they feel that it’s a popular trend. As a result, they lose money, time and also opportunities.
Social media marketing simply does not imply having a profile in Face Book, Orkut, My Space, Twitter and so on. Neither does it mean endless bookmarks in Delicious and uncontrolled spam submissions in Digg. Like any other marketing strategy, the social media strategy of a product or service needs to be carefully chalked out.
In fact here ae few questions that you should ask yourself while planning a social media marketing capaign.
How would social media marketing help your business?
This is the first question that you should ask yourself. It is always advisable to have a set objective in mind. Do you just want to generate a buzz or hype around your product? Do you want to increase sales/ leads? Are you looking to build a community and interact with them? You need to have a clear idea of how social media can help your business.
Who are your target audience?
Segmentation-Targeting-Positioning; that’s one of the basic concepts of marketing. You need to know whom you are targeting and why. What are you looking to achieve from them. So have a target group in mind and then start planning to woo them.
Do you have something interesting to offer to your target audience?
Substandard content and hurried submissions never work. It’s a complete waste of time and energy. Make sure you have something interesting to offer. Do you have an interesting video on your product? Do you have a well-researched engaging content? Do you have an engaging application? You need to have something engaging to cash upon the viral effect of social media. Write or develop something that’s talk able and engaging.
How would you popularize your product among the social groups?
You may have something really interesting but all effort is wasted if people do not get to know about it. Social media marketing is about spreading the word, engaging people and finally leads them to a desired action. Hence, you need to first build a targeted crowd and then launch the something that’s talk able and engaging. So if you are using Face Book, you need to first build a targeted list of friends and then share your content or application; similarly in Twitter you need a targeted line of followers. I will discuss more each social media in one of my other blog posts.
And finally, how would you drive conversions?
After doing everything right, you need the real thing now and that’s conversions. In fact I have seen a lot of big companies like Dell using social media quite effectively. Since they are dealing in consumer goods, they have a got a lot of followers. So Dell keeps their followers updated about the latest discounts, product launches and many more. Similarly, a site on job opportunities and keep its community/ group updated on the latest Job openings. Whoever is interested will in all probability click their way into the website.
The online social media, if utilized to its true potential can work wonders for a business. It’s unfortunate that a lot of internet marketers have still been using this media for spam submissions and fake profiles. Like any form of marketing, social media marketing should start with proper strategy and a time frame or else the hard work will never yield the desired results.