Social media, social networking, social bookmarking, social branding, social marketing. These are all terms used to describe web 2.0 interactions. Facebook, Twitter, Linked In, You Tube, MySpace, Digg, Stumble Upon, Flickr: All companies who specialize in this online social interaction.
Social media has revolutionized the web. The internet is no longer a one-way communication channel. Information now flows in two directions, in complete transparency. This is great news for small businesses, as it allows you to communicate more directly with your customers, and get real-time feedback on your products and services.
Social Media Marketing is the utilization of social networks, bookmarks, online communities, blogs, forums, wikis or any other collaborative internet form of media for marketing, sales, public relations and customer service.
In the context of internet marketing, social media refers to a collective group of web properties whose content is primarily created and published by users, not direct employees of the property.
Benefits of Social Media Marketing
Social Media is an invaluable tool for your business. It can create a virtual web of social interaction surrounding your business, attracting new customers daily. Many of these networks and communities interact with each other, giving you an even greater overlap and network of distribution.
Social Media Marketing will provide another whole dimension to your marketing strategy and let you reach demographics who were previously unaware of you.
Some other benefits of social marketing include:
- Traffic From Social News Sites – The traditional news media is dead. In today’s technologically advanced age, news is published as it happens, and social media allows anyone to broadcast it. When content from your business is broadcast on a social news sharing site, it reaches 1000’s of people instantly, driving traffic and potential customers to your website.
- Brand Awareness – When your business utilizes a Facebook “fan page” or a Twitter account, any content listed will automatically link back to your website. This instantly opens your business up to potential customers who might never have heard of you without the power of social networking.
- Backlinks – When you interact in a social networking environment, a link to your website should always be included. This back-linking increases your search engine rank and potential traffic.
- Tagging and Bookmarking – When surfing the web, if someone finds a website or piece of content he likes, it can be “tagged” or “bookmarked” for others within his social network to read. If someone with many connections tags or bookmarks your website or off-site content, it can mean 1000’s of new visitors to your website, almost instantly.
What if there was a website that allowed you to post content for free, and automatically distributed it to your entire social network. On top of that, this site allowed you to receive instant feedback from them about your product or service, and when they do, it distributes your information to all of their contacts as well. Impossible? No, just Facebook.
When you have a business page on Facebook, you can then invite customers to “like” your page. When they do, it automatically shows up to all their social connections that they like your business. There are over 500 millions active users on Facebook, and the average user has 130 friends. For the local business owner, this means instant visibility to more potential customers than ever previously possible.
Still doubt the power of social media? Check out the video below to see how powerful it really can be!