How to Use Social Media to Promote Your Business
What is Social Media?
Wikipedia describes Social Media as an umbrella term that defines the various activities that integrate technology, social interaction, and the construction of words, pictures, videos and audio. Social media can take many different forms, including Internet forums, message boards, weblogs, wikis, podcasts, pictures and video. Technologies include: blogs, picture-sharing, vlogs, wall-postings, email, instant messaging, music-sharing, crowdsourcing, and voice over IP, to name a few.
Examples of social media applications include:
Google Groups (reference, social networking),
MySpace (social networking),
Facebook (social networking),
Last.fm (personal music),
YouTube (social networking and video sharing),
Second Life (virtual reality),
Flickr (photo sharing),
Twitter (social networking and microblogging)
Reaching Target Audiences
Using Social Media sites, you can easily reach your target audiences by:
1. Creating free pages/profiles on one or several of the social media sites and then building relationships with your visitors
2. Boosting your Search Engine positioning by including links back to your website (for both traffic and link popularity)
3. Advertising on social networks
4. Networking with complementary businesses
LATimes.com reported that in May 2008 Facebook had 123.9 million unique visitors and 50.6 billion page views worldwide, according to research firm ComScore. MySpace had 114.6 million unique visitors and 44.5 billion page views.
In order to be successful on social media sites, you need to find a network at which your target audience ‘hangs out’. For example, MySpace attracts a younger crowd with less money, whilst Facebook’s population is older with higher income. You then need to:
1. Engage your audience by providing useful information (not sales pitch)
2. Build up your following by being interesting, funny, entertaining or insightful
3. Be real and show your personality
4. Gain trust and build relationships
When a business has a profile that people recognise on sites such as Digg or Wikipedia, they have a significant ability to influence discussion, create content and push visibility for links.
The ultimate goal of this visibility is to have the power to influence – once a business has a voice, marketing becomes a soft sell rather than hard sell.
To get the most out of social media marketing Pandemiclabs.com says:
Don’t try to preach, LISTEN
Don’t try to interrupt, CONTRIBUTE
Don’t try to control, ENGAGE
Social media marketing can be extremely powerful whether you have a small or large business. There are many guides and ebooks available on the internet for you to learn from. Simply search for “social marketing” or “social media marketing” in your favourite search engine.
by Ivana Katz
Websites 4 Small Business – www.web4business.com.au; Learn to Design – www.learntodesign.com.au/
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