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Social Media has become a buzz word over the last 5 years, with the cries of social media marketing and social media for business following quick. So how does what first seemed like a platform for teenagers to be well…. teenagers, become an effective part of your Marketing strategy?
This post will clarify the key social media vehicles and outline some tips to effectively create a social media strategy for business marketing.
What is Social Media?
Our good friend Wikipedia uses the definition:
“Social media includes web-based and mobile technologies used to turn communication into interactive dialogue between organizations, communities, and individuals.”
And we agree, that the heart of social media is interactive communication; as a business marketing tool, social media gives us the opportunity to have a two-way dialogue with our target consumer, to build trust, positive perceptions and loyalty.
As social media has spread and turned from a trend into a norm, the types of social media platforms has increased, which leads to more opportunity and to some degree, more confusion!
Which Social Media Tool for My Business?
I came across this picture a month or so ago, posted by iknowho on Facebook. I thought it was a quirky little reference tool, to help newcomers work out exactly what is what in the land of social media.
What I love most about this image is that it gives an idea of what some of the common social media platforms are best used for.
Our take on the key social media platforms are as follows:
Twitter – is about real-time updates, sharing what’s happening right now. It is popular for content sharing and pictures and links are very strong.
Facebook – similar to Twitter Facebook is about real-time updates, but it doesn’t limit you to a word count, making it a far stronger tool to use for promotional messages. Also with the ability for people to like or comment on a post and a stream of interaction to follow, Facebook is far easier to build relationships through. A “like” is a quick affirmation a target customer can give a business, communicating a positive feeling.
FourSquare – is ideal for location-based businesses, allowing customers to give the testimonial of “being there” and also reviewing and rating. A powerful (yet dangerous) way for target customers to gain awareness and create brand perceptions of businesses.
Instagram – an application on certain mobile operating systems allowing the user to take photos through a choice of filters. These can be shared with the public for further commenting. The photos are often re-shared on Facebook and Twitter. Instagram has now been purchased by Facebook, so we can expect to see and hear more about it.
YouTube – a platform where users can share video. Powerful for businesses to use for product demonstration, customer education and to attempt to create viral content that is shared for free by interested users.
LinkedIn – A networking site that is far more corporate and pitched to a more mature demographic, a place to show credentials, has strong professional communities and forums that give the opportunity to build reputation.
Pinterest – this new kid on the block, has sky rocketed in subscription. It is about “pinning” or marking visuals that are of interest to you. For business it can be a way to showcase what you do and also a way to communicate your design, style and inspiration.
Google+ – a fusion of a few social media vehicles, Google+ is Google’s foot print in social media. The benefit of Google+ over say Facebook, is that it is indexed by Google favourably in search (think of it as in-built SEO). Business is still getting used to it, but it’s one to watch.
Social Media Marketing Strategy for Your Business
Another current love of mine are infographics. These graphically sum up a lot of information and I am finding they are being shared more on Facebook, Twitter and (hugely) on Pinterest. I am finding Lee Green on Twitter and Pinterest a great person to follow to get my infographic fix hand delivered.
I found this infographic very compelling to confirm why social media marketing is a strategy imperative for your business.
Engaging in the right social media platforms takes little financial investment, but does take significant investment in planning, implementation, monitoring and adjustment. Not every social media platform is appropriate to your business and needs to be entered into, but whichever social media platform you do choose to pursue should be covered consistently.
Here are a collection of articles we have found useful that can help you maximise the social media platform you decide is right for your business.
Until next week, S is for Social Media Marketing and also for staying on top of blogging!