Social media marketing – just the basics

Social media marketing involves using social media sites as part of your online marketing strategy. Social media sites include Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, YouTube, Google+ and other sites where people create profiles and interact with friends.

Social media platforms are often huge and they offer a great way to reach your target market, deliver your marketing message, and find out what your fans truly love. It’s powerful as a research tool and as a customer service tool, it’s not just  for  marketing. Remember no one goes onto a social site thinking I wonder what great offers are going to be selected for me today…

There are two popular ways to use social media sites in your marketing.

One is to post content or links to content on your social media profile such as blog posts, pictures, videos or any other multimedia.

The other method is to place ads on social media sites using their ad networks. Yes, you don’t have to be a member of a social network to advertise on their site. That should come as a relief to businesses whose target market s on Facebook but don’t actually want to be there themselves. This isn’t the perfect solution but if you are active on other social media sites then it’s fine. Use the ad network to drive people to the places you are active.

What is Social Media Marketing Best Used for?

Any business whatsoever can benefit from social media marketing, especially local businesses. Geographic features on social media sites make it particularly easy for people in your area to find your profile through searches. I love this aspect of Twitter, I can easily search for local people to talk to and follow.

You can offer deals and promotions through your profile that are exclusive to your fans. Using social media profiles this way is similar to using your email list. You can increase their loyalty to your brand by offering exclusive bonuses and exclusive content, In Andy Sernowitz’s book Word of Mouth Marketing he talks about creating exclusive content just for fans. Social media is a brilliant way of stoking your word of mouth marketing activity (and I recommend the book highly).

The Advantages of Social Media Marketing

Social media marketing allows you to interact directly with your customers and potential customers. It adds a personal touch to online communications that’s unrivaled by other online marketing methods, when did you last feel welcome from a newspaper advertisement? When people feel like they can interact with you in a more direct way, it engenders loyalty and trust.

Using social media sites also allows you to reach a wider audience. You have access to not only your fans but your fans’ friends. On sites like Facebook, whenever your fans interact with you, their friends see that interaction as well and we are all curious about of friends likes and dislikes, so more people get to know your business.

Because your customers can contact you easily through social media sites, you can get valuable feedback and learn more about your target market. You can look at your fans’ profiles and find out what they’re interested in. This is the kind of data that marketing firms have paid huge sums of money for in years gone by.

You also get SEO benefits by using these popular social sites. When optimised correctly your social profiles appear in search results. Social media sites give you an existing platform that already has millions of users.

The Disadvantages of Social Media

To use social media effectively requires constant maintenance. For each page or profile that you make, you’ll need to set aside time for updating and interacting with your fans. For many small businesses, this quickly becomes a bit much to keep up with. Blatent plug, check out our social packages or give us a call. Blatent plug over.

Since your social media profile isn’t actually your own site, you have to abide by somebody else’s rules. There are certain actions that can get you penalised or banned from social media sites.  Don’t be a digital sharecropper.

Another drawback is that you don’t have total control of your content. If someone leaves a nasty comment or insult in your blog comments, you can delete it. You can’t do this on your Twitter feed. But before you break into a cold sweat, you can block people and you can respond politely to trolls – killing them with kindness is the only way. It’s hard, but it’s achievable.

How to Get the Most out of Social Media Marketing for your Business

It may sound like a lot of work monitoring your profiles, but it’s well worth it. Many businesses find that it’s a fun and enjoyable daily task.

Here’s how you can make social media marketing work for you:

  • Although it may seem like a chore, sign up for each new social media site that pops up that may be appealing to your target market. You never know which might be the next Facebook.
  • Focus on interactivity and engagement.
  • Try to get your fans and followers engaged in your profile as much as possible.
  • Use tools like widgets and plug-ins to make profile management easier and foster interactivity.
  • Connect all of your social media sites by linking them together.
  •  Include your website and blog as well.

The real key to success is to keep your involvement social. Don’t create your profile and content and then wait for the fans and comments to roll in. Be proactive. Get out there and make friends. Comment on other people’s profiles and join groups for increased visibility. This brands you as a friendly person with your own distinct personality that people will want to get to know better.


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Sarah Arrow

Sarah Arrow started blogging to save a business and it worked! She created her first blogging challenge back in 2007, and is the author of many quick start marketing guides, turning Sark eMedia into a publishing business.

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Anna - a couple of years ago

Hi Sarah,
Thank you for this advice. It’s quite helpful. I’d like to ask about the Geographical features on Twitter. I don’t seem to be making use of them and to be honest I didn’t know it existed until I read your blog. Where can I find it on Twitter & what’s the best way to use this feature?
Thank you.

    Sarah Arrow - a couple of years ago

    Hi Anna, if you use a Twitter client like Hootsuite it will ask you if you wish to tag your location to the tweet. You can also use a hashtag for your area #Essex is popular in my county, and people also tag towns like #Romford. You can also add in the Twitter part to your FourSquare app and have it tweet your check-ins which means that you’ll be found for those locations. That would be the best starting points for using Twitter’s geographical features until you get used to it.

Rodney Cobb - last year

Social media marketing is a good and powerful marketing strategy that can help expand and develop your business and it can now also help you increase ranking of your website.
Rodney Cobb recently posted…Hello world!My Profile

Mukesh Dutta - last year

Hi Sarah,

You have given some great advice on using social media for marketers’ benefits. Marketing in social media has become so much important that it’s the integral part of any brand building strategy these days. As such, no brand can ignore social media from its marketing efforts.
Mukesh Dutta recently posted…How To Use Social Media As A Toolkit for BusinessMy Profile

Ryan Biddulph - 11 months ago

Hi Sarah,

Patiently working social channels can be a chore but is worth it in the long run.

Great breakdown!
Ryan Biddulph recently posted…5 of My Favorite Beaches in the World (with Pics!)My Profile

silviu - 9 months ago

Hi Sarah,

Many things can be said about social media. Your blog , for example, can be seen as a kind of headquarters where you create info, products, services etc. Social media is the distribution network.

Usually, who owns the distribution network has more power than who produces the goods. But that’s another story.

Each element (blog, content, social media etc.) has its own role and functions. The most important thing is to use all of them and develop your business harmoniously.

OK. I will use this last part of a comment to say that

I wish you a better, warm and friendlier 2014

Merry Christmas
silviu recently posted…Newbie Guide. How to Check the Pagerank of Your SiteMy Profile

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