I’ve lost count of the number of blog posts, articles and Forum comments that I have read online espousing the benefits of social media and social networking sites for a business. Some of them are really insightful, some of them have some good case studies and some of them are just absolute crap. At the end of the day most of these posts all say the same thing. In some way they all espouse the three things that I mention below. For most business owners there are three goals that should be achieved from social media marketing.
Raise awareness of your business- Obviously, all marketing should have an effect on raising awareness of your business. The more you are out there, the more people should know of your existence. Social networking sites are a good way to spread awareness of your business. I mean, this should be obvious. There are 500 million people worldwide who have a Facebook profile. If Facebook was a country it would be the 3rd biggest in the world. Chances are that some of your target audience members are on Facebook. Your existing clients will probably be on there too and if they join your business Fan Page it will show up in their news feed and this will be seen by their Facebook friends. They may become curious, click on the link and become a Fan themselves if your offer is sufficiently interesting.
Increase traffic to your main website- Social media marketing is also designed, or should be designed, to increase traffic to your main website. This can be through Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter but also through writing articles and submitting them to directories like this one or participating in web forums and networking groups that are related to your niche. You need to make sure you always provide useful content on each of these sites and then subtly provide a link to your main website so that people will click on the link and visit your main site.
Engage directly with your target audience- Don’t underestimate the importance of the world social when it comes to social media or social networking marketing. You need to remember that you are dealing with people. Engage directly with your audience and have a conversation. Don’t preach and listen when your audience talks back to you.
If you want to engage in this type of marketing make sure you aim to achieve the three goals I have mentioned above- make sure you work to raise awareness of your business, increase web traffic and engage directly with your audience.