The social network explosion has put this question on many marketers minds - just what is social media marketing and how can I use it to my benefit? Simply put social media marketing is the continued communication by companies with customers and prospects by another media. Here’s a quick summary of many of a few prominent names and their key applications:
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Social Media for the Novice

The social network explosion has put this question on many marketers’ minds - just what is social media marketing and how can I use it to my benefit?

Simply put social media marketing is the continued communication by companies with customers and prospects by another media. As the door-to-door salesman gave way to the catalog, and the catalog gave way to the Internet, social media provides the next level of valuable interaction. This venue is more real, more like the personal shopping experience and relationships of the early 20th century, but with dramatically larger audiences, unencumbered by the time of day or geography.

Three steps are critical in evaluating social media applications. First, don’t look at all the products, services, communities, or applications available without understanding what challenges you need to apply these tools to today. Different tools meet different needs; branding, feedback, pushing offers, driving web traffic, viral campaigns, ect. Make sure that the social media has the right demographics for your effort. Professional networks will have different expectations and reactions than the more casual and social sites when they get your message. Applying the right service to your business challenges will give you the best opportunity to generate a positive ROI or positive opinion about the effort.

Here’s a quick summary of many of a few prominent names and their key applications:

LinkedIn - A Business to Business community made up of professionals from all over the world in a wide variety of industries, useful in expanding your network, job hunting or job placement, and gaining industry knowledge from peer groups.

Facebook - Provides a younger audience with more social interests in mind, but plenty of opportunities to advertise, add groups or coordinate events. The exposure to your brand can be extensive, Facebookers are passionate and somewhat tech savvy and open minded.

Technorati - Maintains a feel for the pulse of blogs and bloggers, a database of searchable and organized content. Offers the ability to find and track favorite blogs and search keywords within blog commentary. Considerably more technical community, as evidenced by its name.

Del.icio.us - Let’s you store your bookmarks on-line so you can reach them at any computer and share your bookmarks so others can benefit from common interests and mutual respect. Useful if you are interacting with people in your network or common industries.

StumbleUpon - Your friends and fellow websurfers improve the search capability by moving the highest rated sites to the top of your search. Requires a download of an add-on for rating sites and a “stumble!”. Works with no typing or links, you simply wander sites of interest. Having your site rated highly can be a tremendous asset.

Digg - Content rating site that will enhance or debilitate your traffic. If your content is "dugg” you site picks up steam, but the opposite it also true. Digg users act as lobbyists for the latest and greatest content on a variety of subjects.

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