Social Media Marketing

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Today’s high traffic web world can prove to be quite elusive in making your company seen and heard amongst the millions of other sites competing for the same business. People can put anything they want on their websites to drive traffic to them and hopefully catch that client they’ve been waiting for. But have you stopped to think about whether these efforts are really helping you to make an impact to interest viewers, and to ultimately draw them in to spend money with YOU?

Enter Social Media Marketing – one of the newer phases of popular sales methodology being used online. Only problem is that there seems to be no clear cut methodology or systemization to this loosely defined sales tool. It’s like a free-for-all in the web marketing world with every person having a different take on what will and won’t work, what the objective of it is, and how it can maximize your website’s efficiency. So let’s arm you today with a few key points for you to consider for yourself in order to earn your own fair share of the pie in this online arena.

Social Media Marketing
Social Media Marketing (SMM) combines the goals of internet marketing with social media sites such as MySpace, YouTube, Site Pal, and MyVirtualSalesPerson as well as many others. The SMM goals will be different for every business or organization, however most will involve building ideas or brand awareness, increasing visibility, and possibly selling a product or service. SMM may also include online reputation management.

How you choose to do it is entirely up to you, but here are some general rules that can be of benefit to you when planning your online marketing campaign using Social Media:

Research
You’ve heard me say this before, but I’ll say it again “Do your research!”. To create an effective Social Marketing Campaign, you must first do your research and know your target market. As the owner of your business, you know what you wish to achieve, however, the site viewer is not interested in this in the least. They’re interested in how you can benefit them for the best price. In order words, your site must meet the visitor’s needs first before the owner’s needs. One way of doing this is to provide the most appealing brand you can offer. In order to do this, you must provide your visitors with immediate solutions to their needs, and answers to their questions, and the information they desire.

Customer Experience
Find a way to create a powerful, lasting customer experience. When a potential client visits your site, you have to provide them with enough stimuli in a quick enough time to make that visitor want to stay on your site and not click over to another one pulled up in their keyword search. So, how do you do this, you ask? Perhaps you can use video and sound. The technology exists nowadays to maximize the viewers’ experience. We are a visually stimulated culture, so perhaps put some thought into ways in which the viewer of your site can be ‘caught’, drawn in, and sold on whatever it is you have to offer. Some common ways of achieving this are with authoritative information, entertainment, humor or controversy. But be careful when planning on using audio files and video on your website. If not planned properly, they can be a huge waste of time and money. If they fail to capture the target audience’s attention, you may as well have not invested any of your money in the first place. Be wary of experience overload as you do not want to overstimulate your audience. Too much, and your message is lost. Too little forethought and your messaage doesn’t come through clearly enough to snag the viewer. It’s a balancing act really, so know your audience and what they are looking for. On the plus-side, using video and audio files are an inexpensive way to advertise your product, brand your company, and compete in the online marketplace. Remember that if you are going to use these strategies, your media files must contain information critical for search engines to find, index, and display in search results.

Build Relationships
It’s imperative that you use your Social Marketing Tools to build relationships with your viewers. The bonus of the web is that we can deliver our message informally so that the viewer feels a connection with the company. Rigid professionalism goes out the window in favour of a more comfortable, friendly, person-to-person approach. This lack of formalism breaks down corporate barriers and helps the viewer feel connected to you, your company, and your product. It’s realism in its truest form. So don’t waste your time with vidoes or sound clips that look and sound like they came from the annals of corporate literature. Be down to earth in your message delivery and watch people flock to your site. It gives them something to trust in, something to feel safe with. Why? Because it’s human, it’s real, and they can relate. Allow potential clients to see your integrity. This unique voice is what will set you apart from the many other companies also vying for the same business online.

Networking Quality
Effective Social Networking is about quality, not quantity. Make your web presence count. Do not create a website that overloads visitors with too many experiences or the novelty will wear off and you will be left with a website that does little to attract business and drive sales. Essentially, what I am saying here is do not spread yourself too thin with all of the online social marketing tools that are out there. Choose one or two very powerful tools that will best capture the essence of your message or your business and maximize its potential. Remember, it’s better to be in one great place, rather than in too many so-so places at once. Build your own presence effectively. Too much will be your downfall.

Call to Action
Lastly, use Social Marketing Tools to convey your business’s Call to Action and ask for that ever important Sale. The marketing tools you choose must create a need with potential clients. Show that your company, product, or service solves a problem that they, the viewers, have. Most importantly though, before you use these Social Marketing Tools, realize that you need to anticipate objection before it occurs and provide solutions in innovative ways so that they can’t say no. Use your Social Tools to kindly ask for the Sale. You will be surprised how an effective, well-thought out marketing tool can provide you with the Sales your company is seeking. For example, by using a Virtual Sales Person your company will have the power to influence, motivate, and persuade prospective clients to believe in and buy your call to action. So, you can use Social Marketing Tools as an online employee of sorts, you could say. Let these tools do the work of a salesperson and watch the traffic increase to your site.

In short, Social Media applies to everyone. That’s why businesses should harness the Social Marketing Tools available to them to give their business a competitive edge within the web environment. If you hope to survive in the virtual world of business, you must stand out. So make sure you do your research, employ the tools effectively, don’t overkill them on your site, and always provide quality over quantity. This combination, I believe, will provide your business with the edge it needs to stand above competitors and see a return on your call to Action.

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