Social Media Marketing 101

These days most business owners realize the importance of integrating social media into their marketing strategy.

Social media can be used to help drive more traffic to your website or blog and provide more exposure to your products and services which can ultimately result in sales and referrals.

Social media marketing can be something as simple as creating and maintaining a company blog or a video you’ve created to post on your website or blog. Some other popular social media channels you can use for your campaign (and this is not an all-inclusive list) are video sharing networks, podcasts, and RSS.

Best Social Media Networks/Tools to use for Social Media Marketing

The number of social media sites has grown considerably over the years so choosing the best ones to use for your business might be confusing if you are new to social media. A good place to start is to determine your primary objectives for your campaign. Are you trying to create awareness of your product or service? Are you trying to drive more traffic to your websites or blogs? Do you want to use social media to conduct market research to learn what your customers need or like? Once you’ve decided on your objectives, you’ll need to define who your target audience is and where they are likely to hang out. According to some industry sources, the most popular networks used by business in 2012 are:

LinkedIn: a professional network that provides you with online networking opportunities. It is a very good tool to make contacts with professionals in your industry and those you are targeting. Because LinkedIn is a professional network, you should stick to discussing business and industry topics or issues. Share the water cooler type conversation on one of the more casual social media channels, for example, your Facebook Profile.

Twitter: an Information Network. For business applications, Twitter provides the opportunity for companies to communicate with their customers and prospects in real time and to promote their products and services while building relationships with prospective customers. Many businesses also use Twitter very effectively for customer service.

Facebook: you can keep your Fans informed by posting an update of your business activities or you can design and purchase Facebook ads to target your audience. You can use Facebook to help you establish your brand and you can promote your service and product offerings. Use your Fan Page for business. Your Facebook Profile is for sharing more casual conversations along with the photos of your family, your cat/dog, etc.

YouTube: a video-sharing site where you can upload your business videos for viewing; then embed them in your blog. Although many users upload videos that are not commercial, there is a growing trend in business to increase marketing efforts on YouTube.

Social Media Marketing Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

Remember why you are using social media…to connect and network with others, both individuals and businesses. If you use social media for the sole purpose of self-promotion, you may find your audience has dwindled away and you will not likely attract new followers, fans or connections.

Once you’ve taken the plunge into social media marketing, you have an opportunity to attract customers and referrals. This is also an opportunity to keep your customers happy. Consumers like being heard and will become frustrated if they think no one is listening to their opinions or complaints. Customer perception of your business is vital. So be ready to “listen”. You can learn what your customers want and what they need. Even if the response is less than positive, do not make the mistake of not acting on what your customers are telling you. This is your chance to turn a negative experience into a positive.

Social media marketing requires planning. Using best practices and correct social media marketing techniques requires an understanding of what social media marketing is, how to start your campaign, and common mistakes to avoid with social media in business. Starting your campaign on the most popular networks can help you get on track with your competition until you have learn enough to stay ahead.

Social media marketing efforts take time but can yield valuable results. Consider a reliable outsource to help you when you find you need assistance.

Rebecca IshibashiSocial Media Marketing 101

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