What is Social Media Marketing?
SMM is the 21st century equivalent of the old fashioned marketplace. It’s a variety of online spaces that give you the opportunity to build relationships with potential customers and let them know what you do. You can also use it converse with your customers to find out if you are really meeting their needs and you can use it to keep in touch with business contacts and pass referrals.
Alongside this it can also be used to enhance search engine optimisation for your website as Search engine rankings are heavily influenced by inbound links, and one of the best ways to build links is to leverage social media.
Why is social media important?
Sites like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube have become a part of daily life for millions. Although originally used just for personal communication between individuals, many social media sites have evolved and are now used for business too. Just as in years gone by the town marketplace was the place to promote your business, or more recently advertising on television, today people are online – so you need to be too.
As humans are inherently social, and like to like what our friends like so a recommendation by one of our friends online is worth more than any advert.
How much time should I spend on social media sites?
That depends on what you want to accomplish. If your main purpose is to promote a website or blog you should limit the time you spend. Generally, you may need to be more active at first in order to get familiar with the site, its users, and to build a profile. Later you should be able to cut back on the amount of time that you spend, but still be active on a regular basis.
How do I know if social media marketing is working?
Before you can assess whether it is working you need to know what it is you want it to do! Start with a good strategy with objectives that you can measure your results against.
If brand recognition is important to you the number of friends / followers you have can help promote your business.
Apart from that you should check your website stats and look at your referring logs to see if you are getting any referrals from social media sites.
You should of course ask your site visitors and callers how they found you, and keep track of your referrals and see if you are being referred business as a result of your involvement in social media.
There are also a variety of websites that claim to help you track your influence and reach through social media and you can use things like google analytics free.
What’s next for social media?
Currently there is a lot of activity to make peer-to-peer recommendations more effective, recently new adverts utilising peoples likes area appearing to their friends on facebook.
It is also becoming more likely that people will search for things through their social sites, Youtube searches are already higher than those on google, and facebooks use of bing as a search engine is also ushering in changes.
I would be surprised if the next year didn’t also show a leap in people purchasing products through social media sites, facebook is leading the way here too, and I’m sure they’ll be other new things that no-one has thought of yet – that’s what is exciting!