What Exactly is Social Media Marketing?

“SMM combines the goals of internet marketing with social media sites such as Digg, Flickr, MySpace, YouTube and many others. The SMM goals will be different for every business or organization, however most will involve some form of viral marketing to build idea or brand awareness, increase visibility, and possibly sell a product or service. SMM may also include online reputation management. Most online communities don’t welcome traditional direct or hard sell techniques so an effective SMM campaign will require more finesse to execute properly. SMM campaigns must be targeted to the community you want to reach with a message that appeals to them. Some common ways of achieving this are with authoritative information, entertainment, humor or controversy.”

– Wikipedia 2007

Social media marketing can be thought of an indirect method of marketing your business. It is a powerful process which utilizes the principles of traditional marketing to programs with social ends that ultimately promotes your business through social media channels. Social media marketing is the new wave of online marketing and might be considered an indirect method of marketing. Traditional marketing focuses on immediate sales and gets right to the point. This is who we are, this is what we do, this is why you should buy our product or service, now buy it. The length of traditional sales cycles vary within industries but the goal is always the same – close that sale.

Social media marketing has the same goal but the means to the end are very different. It is generally frowned upon to try to do sell your product or service on industry forum sites, for example. Those forums are in place for the exchange of ideas, knowledge and networking. Most forums have a separate advertising section where businesses can pay for advertising. The idea behind participating in forums is to establish yourself as your industry expert. Sharing your knowledge and learning from those in the same industry or your target market results in exposure for you and your business.

If you provide helpful information, make constructive comments and ask appropriate questions, you will be offering value to potential customers and they will, eventually, come to look for more value from you. Naturally, your ultimate value is in the product or service you are trying to sell. The inherent problem with social media marketing is that it takes a lot of time and effort to achieve the eventual desired result – that being the sale. Many business owners either don’t have the time to devote to something that does not provide immediate desired results (the delayed gratification theory) or they are resisting utilizing the powerful social media marketing available options specifically because of its indirect approach to sales and the time it takes to see results.

Social media marketing is really no different than social networking off the internet. When you attend a trade show or a company event, you are networking in a social environment with the desired result being to increase your customer base. Companies that sponsor golf outings, company picnics and other social events, often invite employees, customers and potential customers. What do these three groups of people do at these events? They socialize and network. Although some may develop friendships at such events, the main reason for and ultimate goal of such events is to increase the bottom line – meaning the company’s profits.

The Internet offers massive sources for networking through blogs, forums, communities and of course the immense number of social networking sites like Facebook, Bebo, Dzone, Gather, Ryze, Squidoo, Tagged, Xing and many, many more. The networking concept is the same; the platforms are exponentially greater and different. The vast number of sites can be overwhelming (http://traffikd.com/social-media-websites/), so it is a good idea to focus your social networking on sites that are specific to your industry as well as some of the larger, widely used generic sites like Facebook, Plaxo, Linkedin, etc. I prefer to use the sites that are more business-oriented like LinkedIn and Plaxo – but that is a personal preference. To me, my Facebook profile has information and photos that are more appropriate for friends and family than business associates, but there are those who don’t agree. Again, that is a matter of personal preference.

For discussion purposes, let’s consider traditional (or direct) marketing to be a one way communication channel and social media marketing to be a two-way communication channel. In traditional marketing, a business might send you a direct mailer, an email, or you might see an advertisement in a magazine. These types of marketing campaigns cost the business a whole lot of money and don’t always result in large volumes of sales. Now consider participating in two-way conversations on forums, blogs and other social networking sites. You, as a representative of your business, are engaging in “conversations” with your prospective clients and hopefully providing valuable content (content is King in social media marketing). Over time, you and your business will become more visible (as you increase your online presence), your reputation and value will increase and in time, your prospective clients will know who you are, the value in what you are selling and where to find you.

I always like to put myself in the other person’s shoes to understand where they are coming from. I don’t purchase anything before going on the Internet to find everything I can about the product or service I am considering buying. I read the reviews as well as what is being said about the competitive product or service. This being said, why would I expect anyone else to not do the same? If you think about social media marketing in these terms, its value, albeit a time-consuming process, may become more apparent to you.

It is important to keep in mind that social networks consist of loyal and engaging large audiences. Social media marketing can greatly benefit any business as it compliments your brand (an incredibly important topic in its own right), business and online profile. However, social media marketing takes time and serious dedication but the ultimate return you will receive will be well worth the time spent.

Whether or not a business owner embraces the value of social media marketing, there is no escaping the fact that the Internet is the new frontier for marketing. Social media has taken on a life of its own and if you have not jumped on the bandwagon, you are missing the boat. Social media marketing can greatly benefit any business as it compliments your brand, business and online profile.

How Social Media Optimization Services Can Benefit Business

One of the most new yet the most effective concept which has changed the face of internet marketing immensely is the social media optimization or SMO. Social media optimization services are one of the best ways that help a webpage gain relative exposure in the online domain and generate traffic. SMO services essentially provide a platform and facilitate the business houses, especially, the small scale business houses with the opportunity to interact with the set of target audience SMO services use blogs and discussion forums to build a thread of communication and drive traffic to a website. Communities such as MySpace, Facebook, Digg, YouTube, Twitter are some of the platforms that are extensively used for SMO services.

To derive the best result out of social media optimization services it is very necessary to have a proper strategy framed. SMO services require adept policies to approach the target network. First and the foremost requisite is to initiate effective communication on social media platforms. Since SM platforms offer the easiest ways to interact with a whole lot of people, there are better chances of promoting business on a large scale. Using online social platforms, the business houses can spread the brand awareness to a wide section of audience and in the process, can well build up a comprehensive online presence.

As an integral part of social media marketing, the success of SMO services depends on spreading the ideas through discussions in interactive forums. Maintaining a website blog is a genuine way of attracting online audience. Website blogs, however need to feature latest and update d news. Through blog postings and comments, the business houses can establish a good communication thread with prospective clients, wherein the latter can post comments and feedback regarding the former’s service. Adding a blog and maintaining it aptly increases the linkability of the websites and make them easily optimized in the online realms.

The role of content is very crucial in SMO services. While advertising in these forums, catchy content can best appeal the online audience. SMO services also include submission of articles and press releases in different directories. The articles feature keywords which are hyperlinked and contribute to the overall ranking of the webpages.

Participation holds the key to the success of SMM services. The social networking websites such as Twitter or Facebook are efficient tools that can add to brand’s popularity to the very best. Then, there are video submission platforms such as YouTube, wherein business houses can showcase their products and attract the audience. The YouTube video thread, the Twitter profile and the Facebook business page can all be linked with the company’s blog and vice versa. This way, proper online presence can be built and maintained.

It is a fact that SMM is an inexpensive way to promote the business. Prior to initiating a social media campaign, it is important to have a proper planning that complies with the company’s end objectives. We can conclude that SMO services, if employed in the right manner, can generate loads of traffic and give a genuine online presence.

Fundamentals of Social Media Optimization Service

Social Media Optimization has changed the face of the internet marketing and this change has obviously been for the good. Social media optimization service is one of the best ways of helping a webpage gain considerable exposure in the online periphery. SMO services also tend to drive online traffic to websites and through prolonged effort backed by adept planning, SMO aims to turn a normal visitor into potential client.

SMO service provides a platform to the small and medium sized business houses to get in touch with prospective network of online audience. Through blogs and forums, social networking and review posting, SMO service garners the thread of communication between the potential clients and the business houses. There are plethora of websites and communities that are utilized by the experts to promote their client’s business and enhance their online visibility.

Successful online media service requires proper strategy formulation. There should be proper planning to approach the targeted network. Communication is the key requisite in social media optimization and a SMO expert treads on inter-personal line of communication to promote the business at a large scale. Through participation in discussion forums, taking part in web polls or interacting in the question-answer websites, a SMO expert interacts with the targeted audience to promote client’s business. They also utilize the online platforms to spread brand awareness and garner a comprehensive online presence.

SMM service is not all about posting ads and promoting the business, rather, SMO services is also about spreading the ideas. By taking part in the discussions and interactive forums, by maintaining a website blog the online businesses can attract the online audience. Website blogs that feature updated news about the latest service that the company has in offering or details about the current events of the company. Optimizing the blogs and through consistent updates, the businesses can establish genuine communication thread with their prospective clients. Optimizing the blogs shall allow the online audience to post their comments and share their ideas and feedback. Blogs tend to increase the linkability of the sites in the online arena.

Developing content is a major part in SMO service. Thus, majority of SMO company have content writers who create unique content, with the keywords uniformly distributed all through the body. Catchy content, written in lucid language appeal the online audience to the best. Submission of articles in various directories and press release distribution are two integral aspects of social media optimization services. Submission of articles gathers in-bound links which ultimately influence the page rank of the websites. The SMM experts use social networking websites such as Twitter and Facebook to enhance brand’s popularity. Then, there are video submission websites which are best used to spread awareness about a particular service the business renders.

Social media marketing is a cost effective way of enhancing the brand visibility of a business. However, the SMM service requires the professional assistance and hence hiring a reputed SMO company is one of the best things to do. These professional SMM companies formulate special plans to satiate the exact requirements of the business houses and with strategic approach, seek to generate volumes of web traffic and gift a genuine online presence to the business houses.