Friday, March 26, 2010

The Social Media Marketing Platform

Social media marketing platforms are the new norms today. They provide the cheapest marketing opportunities which make them the favorite of small businesses, especially startup ones. Many people are making SMP marketing campaigns major parts of their marketing strategies, but most do not actually know how to make the most out of social media marketing platforms.

Successful social media platforms have grown phenomenally in the past few years. Facebook’s growth has been: up 159% in traffic over the past year, and continuing to demonstrate solid month-over-month growth. The service has benefitted chiefly from increase in usage among adults, making it a more appealing hub for marketers.

Overall activity on Facebook, in terms of usage, is extraordinary. The key factor here is the content generation: the more content users place on Facebook, the richer and more textured the communities become. With 850 million photos uploaded in the course of a month, and another 24 million pieces of content shared, and 3 billion minutes of uses every day (up three-fold from the year before)…that’s an incredibly rich and active network.

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Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Social Media Comments and Conversations about Your Company

More and more companies are launching their own social media marketing campaigns in recognition to the enormous benefits the strategy can potentially bring. Once your company is able to establish even a slight web presence in a social site surely there will be some who will start talking about your company, with or without you. Monitoring and joining these conversations may be the key to properly evaluating the efficiency of your social media marketing strategy.

Step 1: Set Up Google Alerts
Google Alerts is a free service by Google which will send you email updates as notifications about search results regarding any topic or keyword phrase you want to keep track of. It is highly advised that you track the name of your company, the name of your competitors, and other particular terms or phrases that you think are relevant or of impact to your business. Completion of such an easy task can work wonders for your social media marketing strategy. Google will send you email notifications whenever something that mentions the terms or phrases you are tracking. The notifications also come with links to the respective items. Google Alerts can be used for web, blog, news, video, or group searches.

Step 2: Review Google Analytics Data
Google Analytics is a free tool provided by Google that generates very detailed yet easy to understand and very useful information about the movement in your website traffic, and thus the results of your internet marketing efforts. Google Analytics will aide you in attaching tracking tags to your social media campaigns that will make possible the monitoring of the performances of such campaigns. Such evaluation is vital so that you will be able to determine the extent of effectiveness of your campaigns as well as assert their possible strengths and weaknesses. Thus, it will be easier for you to further strengthen the good points of your strategies while at the same time mitigating or completely eliminating their bad points. Another important function of analytics is that it shows you the sites sending traffic to your website.

Step 3: Search Facebook and Twitter
Both Facebook Twitter have recently made public real-time search engines by integrating it in their respective social networking site’s system. Both work like any search engine only that it searches only the Facebook index and the Twitter index respectively. Therefore, the Facebook search engine will help to search the name of your company in Facebook to see who are talking about your company and what they are saying. Same goes for the Twitter search engine. What you will find out by doing so may greatly help in improving your social media marketing campaign.

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Friday, March 12, 2010

Importance of Social Media Marketing

Social media marketing is the latest craze in online marketing. It involves the promotion of your site or business through social media channels. It is a very cost effective yet very powerful strategy what can get you links, attention and enormous amounts of traffic.

No other promotional method can compare to the cost-benefit ration of social media marketing. With almost no cost you can easily obtain large number of visitors, with high probability that a significant portion of them will visit the website again. As a matter of fact, social media marketing is a very universal approach; it can make any website, not just business websites, profitable over time.

Indeed, the potential benefits of social media marketing are epic, and will be great waste if not exploited. In spite of these, there are still those who are unable to benefit from these massive potentials. Such people can be categorized into three classes; the ones who know little or do not know anything about social media, the ones who are interested but don’t know how to utilize it and those who don’t believe in the worth that a social media strategy can convey to a site or business.

The Value of Marketing through Social Media Websites
Creating link baits at popular social networking and social bookmarking sites and being able to bring such baits to popularity can get you two big benefits: primary and secondary traffic and high quality links.

Primary and Secondary Traffic
Primary traffic is the huge amount of visitors that come to your website directly from the social media websites by clicking a link you or another user of that social site posted. Secondary traffic is referral from websites which found your site, page or content interesting and placed a link to your site in their site. Such link is considered an inbound link of you site and it will serve as a channel that will send visitors to your site.

Primary + Secondary Traffic = Community/Supporters
Skeptics cite poor bounce rate as the main argument in using social bookmarking or social news sites. Hence, they claim that such sites will only provide your site with nothing but useless traffic as most of the time visitors will only click a specific webpage and then click away. Well, such claim is usually true.

Saying all traffic from social sites is worthless is exaggeration. If your site has good content that appeals to the interest of the general public your presence in social sites is likely to become stable. And after stability is reached, there will surely be a handful of users that will begin to follow your site for updates. Detractors also pay no attention to the power of much targeted secondary traffic. General sites or blogs in the same niche will link to a story that’s well-liked on social sites, because it adds value for their readers or users. This is done normally on a daily basis for most.

Primary traffic does come in very much larger volume than secondary traffic. Secondary traffic can be considered more valuable if you prefer quality over quantity. Yes, secondary traffic is of far superior quality than primary traffic because visitors coming from links on other websites bring people who are likely to be interested in your content. Such links prove that others acknowledge the worth of your site which also at the same time builds your brand thus leveraging your product, people who get to read your content and end up liking it will likely recommend it to others.

High Quality Links
Being popular in popular social sites will grant you a huge number of links. Some of these links may even help you with your search engine optimization if such links are relevant to your site topics. If not, they will still be beneficial in sending you visitors. A high-quality story can realistically gain a hefty number of high quality editorial links, most of which cannot be easily bought.

Links = Better Search Engine Rankings
Your social media marketing campaign will aid greatly in your link building and thus will help improve your search engine positioning. When a website receives a huge number of natural, permanent links from trusted domains, it builds authority. Search engines then trust it and give its pages crawling priority. If you optimize your linkbait and website structure appropriately, you can effortlessly start ranking for competitive keywords, which will in turn fetch in search engine visitors.

Doing enough social media marketing therefore will definitely increase your search engine traffic. It can also be said that these links that generate secondary traffic for you are built on borrowed trust. Many people still think that sites or pages posted in social news and bookmarking sites are just going to be a waste of time.

A new website will usually find difficulty in getting links from sites that are not familiar with it. But announcing your site in trusted news or content resource sites makes getting links a whole lot easier. Always remember however that content is still undoubtedly the king. Make sure your content is informative and interesting as well as fresh and unique.

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Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Facebook and Twitter Social Media Marketing Strategies

Social media marketing is the fastest rising strategy in making your product, brand or business known all over the World Wide Web. With the many people using it and the many things people claim, people start to wonder what the right way to start implementing this strategy is. This guide will focus mainly on the king of kings of social media namely Facebook and Twitter.

Facebook, the internationally recognized number one social networking site offers small businesses excellent, cost-friendly marketing opportunities. Facebook offers 300 million users to exploit. Despite the huge population, Facebook has devised as very powerful marketing platform that can pinpoint our target audience in building up your web presence.

Basic Strategy
Sign up for Facebook if you do not have an account yet. You can not make use of its marketing platform for your social media marketing campaign if are not one of its members. After signing up with your own name, also sign up for your company’s own account.

Be conscious, however, that if you preserve your company name for your individual account, you will not be capable of utilizing it for your Business Fan Page, so you may opt to make a Page prior to registering your company’s name. Remember that Fan Pages have special rules regarding usernames.

After setting up accounts and pages, the next thing to do is to check out your competition. Do a Facebook search of your competitors and make an evaluation of their presence. What types of Pages have they built? How many fans or “friends” do they have? Spend at least 15 minutes per competitor in looking at their posts, photos and/or videos to understand how they’re using Facebook. Examine the strengths and weaknesses of their social media marketing campaigns and try to synergize. Combine their strengths while eliminating as much of their weaknesses as possible.

Advanced Strategy
While having your own personal account on Facebook, you may also register a business account for a little more presence. Such account though, may not be able to provide significant benefits especially due to the fact that Facebook imposes many limitations on such Business Accounts. Having a Business Fan Page is far better than having a Business Account. A business fan page is a page where customers or fans of your business or product can register as a fan. Every fan increases your web presence because your updates will become visible on their page or wall. You may also desire to think about running hyper-local ads on Facebook.

Twitter is recognized worldwide as the number one social bookmarking site. It has showcased epic growth over the past year alone. Just like Facebook, it can serve as an amazing social media marketing platform for small and startup businesses.

Basic Strategy
Get a Twitter account now if you do not have one yet, and also reserve an account under your business name. Although you can easily twit in your own name, but having the alternative to twit in your business name may come in handy. The more important part is, you will be able to prevent competitors from registering your business name. Take the time to read the simple guide Twitter developed to help users make the most of Twitter for their business.

The next step is to allocate a few minutes exploring the Twitter homepage, making searches to be able to obtain a grasp of the kind of content available on the service. Let’s say for example that you are the owner of a small souvenir giveaway business, conduct some searches for various terms, phrases and keywords like “souvenir giveaway,” “souvenirs,” “souvenir business,” “souvenir giveaway business,” etc. also search for the names of your competitors to determine if they are already on Twitter, and if they are, how they are making use of it. After that search for your small business name, who knows, there may be some who already converse about you. After you feel comfortable with the available content and the means of how your competitors use Twitter, you can start on your strategy on how to use Twitter to establish web presence for your business.

Advanced Strategy
To be able to make full use of Twitter you also need to be able to efficienly use the more advanced Twitter tools like desktop and mobile Twitter clients like TweetDeck (TweetDeck), Seesmic (Seesmic), and Tweetie (tweetie). Desktop clients provide more flexibility and desktop access than the Twitter website. You can also do all sorts of things on Twitter straight from your desktop. Among other things, you’ll be able to pre-define searches and group people you follow so that you can minimize the noise and focus on the real content. You might also consider using a web tool like Twitterfall, which will allow you to define and color-code various custom searches that you can review from time to time, and also to follow trending topics.

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Friday, March 5, 2010

Social Media Marketing Spending Booms Up

Social media marketing has risen to become one of today’s most used marketing techniques. More and more people now acknowledge the potential of launching your own social media marketing campaign. More and more people now invest more and more on social media.

When social media marketing was first introduced only a few were interested as many doubted its potential benefits. Skeptics heavily flamed the concept, even more when the financial crisis engulfed the world. But social media has endured, and has grown into epic proportions. It has now even take up a significant portion of a business’ budget.

Social media marketing is even considered by many as the best option for underfunded companies or marketing campaigns. The economic meltdown forced people to resorting to cheaper methods, which made them come to using social networking, as it is one of the cheapest alternatives. And to their surprise, it worked wonders. And now that it is accepted by the general public, it is sure to grow even more.

When compared, the February 2010 budget spending on social media marketing is 60% higher that that of August 2009 (from 3.5% to 5.6%). Likewise, the planning for the subsequent one to five years shows a analogous altitude of thought as well: in August 2009, social media spending was thought to be 6.1% for the next year and 13.7% for the next five years; and now, it's more like 9.9% in the next year and 17.7% in the next five years.

Top Five Social Media Marketing Resources

1. Webinars / Podcasts – webinars and podcasts are comsidered to be great resources for professional development, industry research and learning about potentially-relevant products and services, saving people the time and expense of attending in-person training.
2. Ratings & Reviews – provide useful input into the business buying process, particularly those ratings or reviews provided by other small businesses using the product or service.
3. Company / Brand Pages on Social Networking Sites – social network participation is now mainstream for U.S. adults, with 46% using sites such as Facebook and 25% participating weekly. Small business leaders are increasingly turning to these sites to find the latest information about important vendors, products and services.
4. Company Blogs – small business leaders praise company blogs – at least, those that are “well written, current and with good thought leadership articles” – as great sources of information about business-relevant products, services and the underlying character of a company.
5. Social Media Search – while some of the business-relevant information on social media sites can be found through general search engines, a great deal cannot. Realizing this, over half of small business leaders using social media search for business-relevant information directly on sites such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Answers, SlideShare and many more.

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