Social media marketing is when a business uses social media, such as Facebook, Twitter or YouTube, to gain traffic or attention. The purpose of this form of marketing is to encourage visitors to share information gleaned with their social network. The message spreads from user to user, having the same effect as old fashioned word of mouth had in the past. When a message goes viral, in a positive way, it is of tremendous benefit to a brand. However, if the viral message is detrimental, it can have devastating consequences.
Social marketing gives a business the opportunity to connect in a personal way with vendors, competitors, customers, prospective customers, and the media. Blogging, videos, and photographs are a few of the ways and means businesses use to send a message to their various constituents. Because the message is interactive, constituents have a convenient way of acting on the message. They can like it, not like it, ignore it, or send it along to their circles of family, friends and associates.
Social marketing is a tremendous networking tool. Deals are made, products and services sold, and developing networks creates wealth. Networking, by way of sites like LinkedIn, expands opportunities. Networking has gone global.
Along with the tremendous opportunities of social marketing, there are a few drawbacks. For one thing, it takes a great deal of time and effort. A business can choose to outsource the work, but if it does not influence and ultimately control the outcome, the results could be disastrous. After all, the business risks the loss of positive brand identification. Bad word spreads; it is difficult to control, and even more difficult to repair. Although it is worth trying out, social networking is not an effective tool for all types of businesses.
Because learning the ins and outs of social media requires time, effort, training, and experience, most business learn to draw on the expertise of a reputable marketing firm that specialises in social media. An experienced marketing firm will have a background in campaign strategy and planning, campaign promotion, content and graphic design, prize management, performance analysis, legal adjudication, and will be able to provide technical support if in-house software is installed and utilised. There are many platforms that allow interactivity; it is important to select the right one and go with a campaign that suits your business and brand. Engagement in a two way conversation with constituents benefits everyone.