Are you looking for a proven social media marketing strategy to get more traffic, leads and sales now?
Then be prepared to delve deep into the wonderful world of…
Likes, shares, retweets, pins, repins, friends, followers, bookmarks, +1, Google circles, hangouts, shared documents, videos, embedded videos, syndication, tribes and more.
Because social media is here to stay and if you want to walk on the cutting edge of both internet and mobile marketing, embracing a well-planned social media marketing strategy will be critical to your long term success both now and long in to the foreseeable future.
What is Social Media Marketing Exactly?
According to Wikipedia.org (which isn’t always the best place to get accurate information, by the way):
Social media marketing refers to the process of gaining website traffic or attention through social media sites.
Social media marketing programs usually center on efforts to create content that attracts attention and encourages readers to share it with their social networks. A corporate message spreads from user to user and presumably resonates because it appears to come from a trusted, third-party source, as opposed to the brand or company itself. Hence, this form of marketing is driven by word-of-mouth, meaning it results in earned media rather than paid media.
Bottom line? You have a message you want to deliver to the market. You use social media in such a way as to spread your message for you… via word-of-mouth and other sharing technologies.
Here is an example:
Notice this Facebook post was “liked” by 52 other people – which means this same post was exposed to their FB network as something they were interested in.
More valuable, this same post was SHARED 48 times. Meaning a copy of this exact post including a link back to my original content was FEATURED to everyone within their network.
So while this one post might have been seen by only a couple hundred of my Facebook friends, the resulting EARNED PUSH might have caused it to been seen by a few thousand people – most of whom we would not be able to reach any other way.
When people share, like or push your content – you are also getting a subtle endorsement, recommendation and nod of approval.
Social Media Marketing Challenges
Creating a kick-butt social media campaign is not as cut-n-dry as creating a profitable advertising campaign for a few of reasons:
- Crass marketing is not acceptable
- Measuring profitability is difficult (you can’t crassly promote)
- Gauging the viral aspects of earned media reach is next to impossible
In other words, you simply want to expose and expand your message in as many ways as possible… through as many social media outlets as possible… to EARN as much word-of-mouth as possible and pretty much execute it all on faith the extra exposure will pay of in branding bucks or actual bank account bucks some time in the future.
You can certainly monetize social media campaigns on the “back end” of the campaign and measure those results, but that is story for another day.
Perfecting Your Social Media Marketing Strategy
We humans are social creatures.
How we socialize and build relationships is through sharing. It may be sharing something that happened in our personal lives, or it may be sharing something funny on TV. This allows us to be perceived as both INTERESTING and INTERESTED – both of which increase our value to the tribe.
When you use social media effectively, you are providing a way for other people to increase their value within their universe of family, friends, co-workers and associates. Which, in turn, increases your value.
- Social media is people connecting with others within their network.
- Social media moves people from a ‘consuming’ content content to ‘publishing’ content
- Social media is forming relationships for personal, political, and business use
Notice how social media is much more than yet another way to publish and distribute content, social media is about creating and enhancing relationships.
So a great social media marketing plan needs to evolve from this understanding because it is NOT just about pushing your brand or new offer out into the market place.
How does that bring value to people and WHY would they even want to share yet another crass commercial message to their family and friends?
One thing to keep in mind when mapping out your social media marketing strategy is to not put all of your eggs in one media basket.
For example, do you remember Friendster or Myspace? Both of these platforms were hot once… but not any more. Had you focused on building out just those platforms you would be missing out on a lot of potential business today.
Because the online landscape is constantly shifting like a sand dune in a windstorm, it doesn’t make sense to outline a specific marketing strategy here in this post. Much better would be to just go out and attempt to discover where your best audience hangs out and what tools and platforms are currently popular with them. This might include:
- Google Plus
- Google Hangouts
- Ning and Meetups
- StumbleUpon, Digg, and Del.icio.us
Bless and be blessed,
PS – Make sure to LIKE, COMMENT and SHARE this post. What challenges are you struggling with? What have you learned here today? How can I best help you produce the results you are looking for?
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