Marketing Via Social Media: Reward Versus Risk: When Preparation Meets Opportunity

It is true that the way we do business is being defined radically and even as we speak we are being affected by the pressures and influence of Social media. If you have not noticed it your competitors are getting the jump on you as they redefine themselves through Social Media.

This form of communication and interaction has disrupted the way marketing has operated for decades. It’s a roller coaster development and is a very exciting evolution in the way we all do business and interact with each other, however it presents problems for many companies because, in just the twinkle of an eye (namely a few years), communication has shifted from a one-way conversation to a two-way discussion on ALL the social media platforms.

If you have NOT adopted the new paradigm by now, as a way to do business, not only are you going to fall behind your competition but more relevant is that you may not be able to last the distance.

Now, before we get concerned, it is just possible that your business does not need the power of social media and that your influence, impact, breadth and depth of business are unassailable. If this is the case, you are one of the chosen few or you may be retired and the idea of work is a far off echo.

However, for most of us, this process of social media has forced companies to reflect on vague and mysterious questions about how they should interact and converse with customers. This issue was raised by a couple of early adopter companies as they struggled to ensure employees aren’t damaging the brand, whilst not limiting interaction.

Google is such a company where they try to meet the needs of their employees with the now famous “Friday off, day,” as part of their creative push to encourage employees to do whatever they want on that day. Many innovative methods and ideas came out of it including the concept of Gmail. Have you also seen in the latest news that Google are committed to paying any Google employee’s spouse half the employee’s wages for the next 10 years in the vent of their death. A generous, innovative way to keep staff retention high as possible.

One of the big questions may well be, what can our business or industry do in social media? When we saw what the #Cairo hash tag contributed to the Egyptian uprising, I think we all saw that social media will NOT go away and that we better get educated about it, if we want to use this social interaction methodology, rather than be used by it.

If we align our business or companies with multiple social media presences, we need to have a good idea and understanding of our message, our brand, what we offer, our target market and a genuine desire to connect with those people, customers, clients with sincerity and a giving attitude.

Chris

Utilizing Social Media Services For Better Online Presence

Social media services are one of the best ways to generate volumes of web traffic for your business websites. SMO platforms such as blogs, review websites, social networking websites such as Twitter and Facebook, online video streaming sites such as YouTube offer prospective avenues for the small businesses to reach out to their targeted audience.

Social media offers the best possible ways of generating in-bound links. In-bound links account for better search engine rankings. Small scale enterprises hence adopt to SMO services to achieve optimum quality links to their business site. Hence, many companies have ushered in to facilitate SMO services along with SEO as well as SMO services USA. These companies aim to help the business websites to rank higher in the organic search result pages.

Social media services help in increasing the online visibility to the websites. Through social media marketing (SMM), the websites can reach the pool of targeted audience and generate better traffic to their websites. By generating quality links through blog posts, through interactive forums and social network sites such as Twitter and Facebook, SMM services help the businesses create a better brand identity in the online domain.

However, for successful SMO services, proper strategy formulation is necessary. The companies offering SMO services USA have SMO experts, who create plans, study the right network, execute various SMO activities and track the record of the campaign and update their clients with the progress. The social media experts interact with the audience and foster the brand reputation of the business houses.

Let us discuss how SMO services aid in fostering the brand visibility of the business houses.

Social Media services establish a brand identity

Utilizing the popular social networking websites such as Facebook and Twitter, a SMM company connects the business houses with their targeted network of audience. Updating and informing the online users about the services and products lead to better web traffic. These companies rendering SMO services USA also utilize viral video campaigns to establish their client’s brands in the best way.

Spreading the Word of the Mouth

By initiating communication at an inter-personal level and intimating the audience through regular updates, the SMO services tend to make your services popular in most subtle and sensible way, sans blatant promotion.

Making Brands and Services Popular

Social media services are utilized by the businesses to popularize their products via popular SMO websites. Since, social media websites facilitate communication at ease and are host to million of users, the products and services are best promoted through SMO websites.

Interaction with Targeted Network of Audience

Social media sites provide the most prospective platform to interact with your potential clients and customers, one on one. Social media sites are also the best place of getting the customer’s honest feedback about your brand and service. These sites also provide the opportunity for you to receive customer’s queries.

Without a doubt, marketing via SMO is a practice that helps the medium and small scale businesses to reach to their targeted audience and improve their online presence. The benefit of SMM service is multifold, provided it is backed by adept strategies and planning. Today, hiring a professional company offering SEO services USA is no ordeal as there are hundreds of them at bay. As an entrepreneur, you just need to endow the responsibility on one which will render you the best service in the business.

Don’t Forget Forums As a Formidable Social Networking Source

For many of us, the term ‘social media’ is practically synonymous with Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

At the very least, we will tend to associate social media with analogues of these three big sites and generally we think of social networks as modern sites where you can log in and share pictures and status updates.

In reality though, the web has been social long before Facebook was a twinkle in Mark Zuckerberg’s eye.

When the web first exploded in popularity, people were already having discussions and debates about their favorite hobbies and interests but they were doing so in chat rooms and on forums.

And while Facebook and Twitter have more prominence now than those aforementioned chat rooms, they are nevertheless still out there and they still offer a lot of opportunities.

What are Forums?

A forum is essentially a message board, normally attached to a website, where people can post questions and get answers. Users must first create a profile and from there they can create or respond to ‘threads’ as well as doing other things like send private messages.

In other words, these act like the groups or pages on social media, providing discussion that is centered around a specific topic and where only ‘members’ get to contribute.

This is one of the biggest attractions of these forums – they have a ‘VIP’ feeling and tend to nurture a much more close-knit community. Many people will make friends on forums, or will even work together on joint projects etc.

The Advantages of Forums

So while forums are smaller than social networks, they are also much more targeted and the users tend to be very committed and passionate to the subject. This creates an ideal opportunity for you to gain exposure for your product or website if you post there.

The problem is, most companies have no idea how to use forums. They will simply create accounts, log in and then post their link like an advert. Bearing in mind how much of a clique the users of these forums become and how protective of their community they are, you can imagine that this is often met with disdain.

To succeed on forums then, the objective is rather to post links only after you’ve established yourself as an active member of that community.

To do that, you need to take part: by answering questions, by starting discussions and by finding things you find useful. Though it takes a little work, this can allow you to learn more about your target audience, to demonstrate yourself as an expert on your topic and to build loyal fans and even friends.

Once you manage that, you may even find that they actively help you to promote your business!

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.