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Social Media Marketing

Social Media MarketingWhat is Social Media Marketing?

In a nutshell, SMM is marketing your brand, your products, or your services through social media networks. There are three major tenets to what constitutes social media marketing.

The Three Tenets of Social Media Marketing

You create buzz / attempt to create buzz (something newsworthy) through events, videos, or blog posts that attract attention. The objective is to have this meme/message go viral. “Going Viral” is to have your message, event, post, or product/service replicated through user to user contact, rather than purchasing of a banner ad or promoting a press release. It can be thought of as hands-off pull marketing. The message does not necessarily have to be about the product. Plenty of successful social campaigns have gathered steam through a compelling message, with the company logo or tagline included incidentally.

You build ways that enable fans of a brand or company to promote a message themselves in multiple online social media venues. (i.e. making your website share- friendly, Facebook, Twitter, StumbleUpon, etc.)

Social media, when it really comes down to it, is based around online conversations. It encourages user participation and dialogue. To be successful SMM campaigns must fully engage and respect the users. It is this last tenet that leads us into other possible avenues of social media: online reputation management (ORM) and customer relationship management (CRM).

What Social Media Marketing Really Means

You may have heard the term buzzing about in the last year or two: viral marketing. That’s what social media marketing seeks to do: create a viral presence for your brand on the web. SMM works in conjunction with other search marketing techniques: PPC and SEO, but expands the scope to include sites like:

  • Social Bookmarking (i.e. Delicious)
  • Profile/Photo/Video Sharing Sites (i.e. Linked In)
  • Blogging (i.e. WordPress or Blogger)

How Do You know if Your Company is Ready?

An effective social media campaign can be a very powerful tool for your brand and your company’s bottom line – but it takes a long-term commitment, effective strategy with other online and offline marketing channels, and relevant content/message that is useful to your target audience. The objective is to not only create useful, stimulating content, but to have that content spread virally throughout the web, targeting as specifically as possible segments and demographics.

Before beginning a social media initiative for your organization, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Why do I want to get involved with social media in the first place?
  • (if your answer is because your competitors are doing it, you should define more concrete goals before proceeding)
  • How much time and money can be invested?
  • What are your goals, both short-term and long term?
  • Which social media channels will you use to communicate your message and engage your audience?
  • Who in the company should/will participate, and who will take the lead role in spearheading social media campaigns?
  • How will you measure success?