SM is an umbrella term that encompasses the technologies and the activities that people use to share experiences, ideas and information with each other. The term is still evolving. The term “SOCIAL MEDIA” most often refers to activities that integrate technology, social (or human) interaction, and the construction of words, pictures, videos and audio – better known as “user generated content” [an example of UGC would be videos on YouTube.]
Social media can take many different forms, including Internet forums, weblogs, wikis, podcasts, pictures and video. Technologies include: blogs, picture-sharing, vlogs, wall-postings, email, instant messaging, music-sharing, crowdsourcing (crowd outsourcing), and voice over IP, to name a few.
Examples of social media applications are Google Groups (reference, social networking), Wikipedia (reference), MySpace (social networking), Facebook (social networking), Youmeo (social network aggregation), Last.fm (personal music), YouTube (social networking and video sharing), Second Life (virtual reality), Flickr (photo sharing), Twitter (social networking and microblogging) and other microblogs such as Jaiku and Pownce.
— What is Social Media Marketing (SMM)?
SMM is where you use social media networking and user-generated content platforms to promote a product, service or content. SMM typically involves creating and participating in a “conversation” with the target audience, rather than blatantly advertising to them.
SMM can also include creating and promoting viral content that is meant to be shared by users. Many marketers are not comfortable with the lack of control over social media but when approached properly, social networks can be extremely effective channels for building product evangelism, reputation management or corporate branding
— Why is it becoming so popular?
I believe it’s simply because it mirrors our true nature. We are gregarious by nature and for once we are able to use technology easily to reach out and connect in new and exciting ways. It’s still all so new too, there are new frontiers popping up regularly and it’s a bit like the early Internet “gold rush” days during the 90’s
— Is every Social Media site for every entrepreneur?
They might not think so, but it is. You do it naturally every day, SM online is simply the same thing applied technologically.
— How does a business owner determine which site is the best match for them?
Good question. Not all SM Sites are equal. I typically advise people to think “classical marketing” and don’t let the ‘flashing lights’ fool you. Visit the site, pat attention to the conversation. “Lurk” for a while. Ask a question, see what happens. Each environment has its own rules. Blunder in and start shouting and you’ll get flamed. Respect the environments ‘sub culture’ and you’ll do fine. An obvious example of this in action is a site that caters to “gamers” – you instinctively know that if you’re selling insurance you would have a tough time in that environment. Like I said, think like a classical marketer.
— Are there some “best practices” steps to starting and maintaining your SMM sites? And how do I make social networking work for me?
– Social Media Marketing
Many a company has forgotten the old maxim, “Act in haste, repent at your leisure…” The same warning should be applied to companies rushing to get in on the social media marketing wave.
If you hear things at work like “We should have a blog,” or “Let’s join Facebook,” I suggest [respectfully] that maybe you are about to make a whopper of a mistake.
– Backwards is bad
You are starting your social media strategy design backwards – and this will lead to trouble.
In any other business endeavor we start by figuring out what we want to accomplish. Social media technologies are not magical. They’re just tools too. It’s time to stop doing social media marketing because it’s trendy and instead do it because it works!
– 4 Things to Remember
(1) The web is about people. You need to know your audience. Understand their capabilities, their hangouts online, their language and behaviors. If you’re targeting business travelers then consider rating and review sites for example. Just don’t guess…
(2) Figure out what will be different when you are done. This is the “why” behind your plans. Do you want to create a close knit community or a product testing ground. Understand the motive’s behind your actions.
(3) What outcomes and objectives are you seeking to achieve. Consider the end result and how you will measure it. A fuzzy or fluffy end result is almost as bad as not specifying one at all. How will you measure success?
(4) What technology to choose. Only answer this question when you’ve completed the others because then you’ll know with clarity and confidence.
In conclusion, if you recognize classic business planning and management principles amongst these notes you’d be correct. The game may have changed, but the rules are still the same. Plan first, then act with confidence.
— How long is this new type of marketing going to take to master?
The actual skills are quite simple – you likely already have them mastered. What you need to learn is the PROCESS. That takes a little time, but frankly not that much.
— What if I don’t know many people to invite to my network?
No problem. Answer this question “If you are the ANSWER, what was the QUESTION?” Armed with that answer you can locate groups of people who would need what you offer. You can then invite them to participate and you can SHARE your knowledge and expertise to PROVE you are the answer to their problem. Use your favourite search engine to locate these people – simply type in the QUESTION or problem. Remember, if people knew the answer they wouldn’t be looking 🙂
— How can I get business through SMM?
It’s a funny thing when I’m asked this. We do it daily, so I marvel at the fact people think it’s different online. Sure there’s a layer of technology in the mix, but it’s still about people getting to know people. Remember the old maxim, people buy from people they like and trust.
SMM simply enables (or should I say empowers) you to do this more effectively.
— Why Most Brands Fail on Social Networks
A new report from JupiterResearch sheds light on what many online marketers suspected for quite some time. Most brands are failing to make impact on social networks…
Naughton’s Law states: “We invariably over-estimate the short-term implications of new communications technologies, and we grievously underestimate their long term impacts.” Every brand should be online in the best way, know its consumers, and maximize the benefit of its online offering to those consumers.
Here are some startling facts from the report:
– Startling Facts:
(*) The average branded social networking page has only 6,494 friends.
(*) Many advertisers are still building branded social networking pages that broadcast content rather than inviting users to interact.
(*) “Most advertisers simply don’t know how to market properly within social networks.” – JupiterResearch
– New Research Suggests:
(*) You should promote your SM pages with paid adverts rather than relying on viral marketing to get the message out. Building viral buzz is harder than you think.
(*) You need to engage users on the page. Even simple forms of engagement, such as contests, on average doubled the number of friends acquired by each branded page.
(*) You must also appeal to social networkers’ love of multimedia to get noticed. Social Networkers are twice as likely to visit a branded page focused on media content than a branded page focused on products.
— How does the non-writer do this type of marketing?
It really shouldn’t pose a problem. The ‘Net is vast and there’s room for each of us to be AUTHENTIC. Even behind the shield of a computer many of us seem able to sense a scoundrel or someone “putting on airs”.
If you can email you can do SM. If you can talk you can SM. If you have a pulse… you get the idea.
— Do the Social Media Marketing sites have fees to pay?
Typically NO. I advise you to initially avoid any sites that ask for payment until you know precisely what you are paying for. There are some good fee based sites out there, but the good ones also offer a free version too – start there if you wish. Let the results determine the level of investment you are prepared to make.
— Are there some sites that you would recommend for business people?