Social Media Success: Social Networking Sites & Social Media Marketing

Social networking has forever changed the way businesses and consumers interact. Today’s consumer doesn’t want to be sold on a product. With immediate access to the opinions and recommendations of trusted sources such as friends and family, your target audience is far less likely to rely on you as their first and only source of authoritative information.

That doesn’t mean you can’t play a significant role in guiding the conversation. Through social media marketing, businesses large and small have the unique opportunity to connect with consumers through channels that simply didn’t exist a few short years ago. Using this innovative yet affordable marketing tool, you can nurture your online reputation and shape the way potential consumers perceive your brand by engaging your target audience in a manner that is both interactive and useful to them. In making this meaningful connection via social media, you not only encourage a sense of brand loyalty, but provide relevant content that can be utilized and shared well beyond the initial interaction, in effect extending your marketing dollar.

Creating a social media presence

Whether your goal is to simply raise brand awareness or to further engage an already strong consumer base, the key to successful social media marketing is to establish a presence across a wide range of social media platforms. It is important, however, to recognize social media trends and target your efforts accordingly. By utilizing only the most popular of social networking channels, you not only increase your chances of reaching your target audience, but avoid looking out-of-touch and irrelevant relative to your competition.

In addition to being in the right place at the right time, a key factor in the successful navigation of the social media marketplace is relevant and engaging content, the kind your target audience will be eager to consume and pass along to other like-minded consumers. To keep things interesting for everyone involved, you need a wide range of social media content, focused in terms of your business goals, yet unique in presentation. 

Utilizing social media ranging from micro-blogs, to images and video, to tried-and-true location-based discounts and promotions, you can meet the varied needs of potential consumers, providing solutions while building a sense of trust and community. What’s more, you can monitor the conversation your content creates, track its success and adjust your marketing strategies accordingly.

Current social media avenues

Facebook

  • Most popular of social media platforms
  • Instant connection to potential consumers
  • Ideal for sharing various means of social media
  • Useful in marketing product
  • Creates opportunity for interaction

Twitter

  • Ideal for pointing followers to relevant social media
  • Applications offer means of leveraging time and effort
  • Ability to pre-schedule postings of relevant content
  • Apps make it easier for interested consumers to spread your content
  • Keyword tracking helps you reach target audience and focus your social media marketing campaign
  • Opportunity to engage and follow target audience

LinkedIn

  • Dedicated to business networking
  • Opportunity to raise brand visibility
  • Opportunity to enhance reputation and build level of trust
  • Greater connections lead to better search rankings

YouTube

  • Free and effective social media marketing
  • Promotion of brand, products or services through video content
  • Opportunity to provide content that is useful, memorable and valuable to consumers
  • Potential to “go viral”

Flickr

  • Means of hosting and sharing images with consumers
  • Provide visual representation of brand and products
  • Share the excitement of events through imagery

Providing solutions

In today’s Internet-driven society, an online presence is a must. Social media marketing provides a means of reaching consumers on their own terms, no matter what those terms may entail. The key to gaining and maintaining that public interest, however, is to respond to consumer needs through continued interaction and by providing relevant content that not only informs, but provides sought-after solutions.