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.