Social Media Marketing (SMM) kicks off Step 6 of the “Online Marketing Road Map”, where we discuss tips on using the social web to market your wares, with emphasis on how to convert traffic on social networks into leads.
In Step 1, we talked about the importance of claiming your brand name on social media sites and including a link on each network to your central web hub (i.e. your website or blog). Next, we discussed developing lead generation strategies to help you identify what you should be thinking about and how you plan to use web marketing tools for your brand, then we moved into strategies that you can use to perfect your content marketing through creatively marketing your brand’s story on the web. Social Media Marketing becomes an extension of your collective online marketing efforts, as you look for ways to build leads from traffic delivered by the social networks.
The first step in capitalizing on the popularity of Social Media Marketing within your online marketing arsenal is to have an understanding of what the most popular social networks are, and who uses them. This basic understanding of the social media space helps you find the right combination of new media tools necessary to tailor your message to your audience. In this first part of the discussion, we’ll highlight the most popular social networking avenues available, and in later parts, we’ll outline specific strategies you can use on those networks and other new media platforms to fully take advantage of the powerful leads these robust spaces can deliver.
There are many networks and online platforms that fall into the “social networking space”, but it in an effort to maximize time management and limited resources, it behooves you to focus on the larger networks that get the most traffic, and then branch off into smaller niche-outlets, if your core audience can be reached there. Thus, the following is a list of popular social networking spaces and the best ways to connect with the audiences that utilize them:
- Your Website/Blog: As the anchor of your social media marketing initiative, all of your online activities should eventually lead traffic to this web property. This audience is the hardest to build, if you aren’t already a “celebrity” in some respect, having a built-in following, but once you have it, you’ll have the best location where people are primed to accept your message.
- Facebook: Still the world’s most popular social network, Facebook can be used to reach two-thirds of online adults and provides an easier way to find and engage your audience. Facebook is especially appealing to women and adults under 50, most notably from ages 18-29.
- Twitter: Twitter is a vast network of “real-time” news and information updates that can be used find industry leaders and the current conversation happening on any topic throughout the globe. Eighteen percent (18%) of online adults are now using Twitter, where nearly a third of users (30%) are between the ages of 18-29, and there is major appeal to urban-dwellers and African Americans who make up a large percentage of its daily users (28%). Twitter is also very mobile-friendly, so a successful strategy that utilizes this platform must include mobile-optimized content.
- LinkedIn: A great way to connect with past colleagues and make connections with other professionals, LinkedIn is the least “social” of the social networks, but provides a great place to catapult a business-to-business (B2B) message, with its more than 200,000,000 million registered users, all having a “professional focus”.
- YouTube: As the 2nd largest search engine, YouTube is a great way to drive traffic to your other web properties by showcasing your expertise on your topic through providing tutorial or informational videos designed to reach your stakeholders in this audiovisual medium.
- Google+: Google+ tends to have tech-savvy professionals intent on utilizing the power of cloud-computing and the G+ network of tools (Hangouts, Events, Communities, etc.). The large number of users with a Google account, coupled with a major push from the company to integrate their user’s experience across their product offerings makes Google+ an interesting prospect in your online marketing arsenal, if your audience has shown an inclination towards their tools.
- Tumblr: Tumblr is filled with young, creative people that generally share their content to other social networks like Twitter and Instagram. If your brand’s message has a visual or audiovisual component, then Tumblr may be another way to reach a youthful, tech-savvy audience.
- Instagram: Instagram combines the “real-time” aspects of Twitter and the hyper-social atmosphere of Facebook, to create a photo sharing experience that allows its users to showcase their creative side.
- Pinterest: Like Tumblr and Instagram, Pinterest is a highly-visual social scrap-booking platform that is very popular among women and creative people that enjoy sharing images and making digital collages.
- Foursquare: Foursquare is one option for location-based marketing that’s key if your online marketing efforts in any way can be juxtaposed to a brick-and-mortar establishment, be it an actual business or series of events. Foursquare is an excellent way to move users from the online environment to a physical location (e.g. store, attend an event, seminar, etc.) and increase foot traffic.
In Part 2 of Step 6, we’ll delve into specific ways you can utilize these networks, along with other new media marketing platforms like blogging, podcasting, email marketing, and mobile marketing to grow your online brand.
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