Social media is a catch-all term that refers to websites that provide social interaction. Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube are all examples. Social media marketing happens when social media is used to garner traffic. Increased traffic, repeat visits, and site referrals should translate into sales. By interacting, rather than simply broadcasting, businesses are able to connect with customers and prospects in a more intimate and personal fashion.
Knowing what social media is and making use of it are two entirely different matters. The first matter of business, as in any marketing plan, is to develop a social media strategy. You need to have an idea as to what you hope to accomplish, and how you are going to measure whether or not you accomplished what you set out to do. Social media is a way to communicate with customers, and have them share their point of view.
Marketing through social media sites is time consuming. Therefore, you want to make it time well spent. Many businesses, when beginning to use social media, sign up for Facebook, Twitter, a blogging site, YouTube, and LinkedIn without thinking about strategy. Researching the business models of the social networking sites that look promising will help uncover their audience and whether their purpose is a match for your business endeavours.
Once a plan is in place, and the social media chosen, setting up a routine is vital. Old style media such as, television, radio and newspapers simply broadcast a message. Social media is not like that. If you are going to include social media in your marketing mix, you need to devote time to it. Your other option is to hire someone, or a group of people, to do the work for you. No matter which way you decide to go, engagement requires regular contact.
As a rule of thumb, if you blog, you need to do so around three times a week, and when someone enters a comment a quick response is called for. If you have a Facebook page, contests, quizzes and games are some of the ways to keep your fan base socially engaged. Perhaps, use Twitter as a link to more salient information, but make sure the link you are sending is either newsworthy or entertaining. Remember there are an uncountable number of businesses on the Internet, finding ways to stand out requires more time than money. It should be time well spent.