Web marketing has seen a steady incline and strong presence in 2010. It is proving to be an important and popular segment of a marketing campaign. Web marketing and more specifically, Social Media Marketing have now become a rather orthodox approach promotion and branding. Now, every marketing agency has begun to regularly integrate social media marketing in their various campaigns.
One may pose the question as to why social media marketing has become such an integral and influential segment of such campaigns. It really all comes down to the amount of exposure that social networking sites have the capacity of reaching. There are over 100 million users on Twitter and a global audience of over 400 million on Facebook. These numbers and therefore audiences are exponentially larger than some other platforms (i.e radio). Radio, which was at one time an extremely conventional way to advertise and promote has now been pushed aside (not to say it has been entirely forgotten), and web marketing has become a frontrunner.
With that being said, lets discuss the benefits, trends and simple ways to optimize Social Media Marketing efforts.
The use of social networking sites such as Twitter, Facebook and YouTube offer an extremely interactive and efficient approach to web marketing. This enables consumers to have brand experience beyond physical contact with the brand or product. The ability for consumers express concerns, voice opinions and share personal experiences openly adds a unique level of intimacy with the brand. If your social media networks run smoothly and the experiences people have are positive brand loyalty will inevitably develop or strengthen.
From a marketing perspective, engaging with your audience and consumers and enabling them to engage with each other creates dimension and will help propel discussions of your brand. Keep in mind humans, in general, are social creatures - so take advantage of social networks and start building your online community if you haven't already!
- Be a resource: Make your social media platforms go to places for users. Entice them to want to hear what you have to say and always remember to give more than you receive.
- Enrich the experience: Navigate visitors to other brand associated sites. This will allow visitors to your social media sites to gain a well rounded perspective of your brand and what you have to offer them.
- Interact: Connect with followers and your consumers. Spark discussions, offer tips, and address any areas of concern. Make your followers feel as though their voice is being heard and appreciated.
- Inform: Keep followers updated with the latest news of your brand or company. Those who express brand loyalty love hearing about what's happening now, what they can look forward to and any promotions that may be going on (this will keep them loyal!). It's a simply way of maintaining and gaining followers.
- Leverage: Connect each social media account to one another - basically you can create a social media mix by infusing all the accounts you may have. Mashable.com offers some great tips on how to effectively leverage accounts.
- Customer care solutions are beginning to be taken care of on the open forums of Twitter and Facebook. Users are finding it easier and more efficient to voice their concerns and look for solutions via Twitter and Facebook rather than contacting a customer care number or drafting an email to a customer service representative.
- Advertisements are becoming more interactive and link to social media platforms. This element ties into how social networks aid in gaining brand exposure.
- Sales of products will continue to rise due to social networking sites and social media marketing. However be careful not to aimlessly hawk a product or your brand, this proves to be a turnoff.
- Location based services, such as Foursquare and the recently launched Facebook Places will continue to be and become popular ways of connecting with brands. According to Facebook its all about the four W's - Who, What, When and Where.
The area of Social Media Marketing is rapidly and constantly expanding, however the basics will never change as they are effective. The trends we see now are paving the way for how we will soon experience brands on Twitter, and how the brands will interact with their followers. So it's time to utilize these areas of social media marketing to your advantage.