The online marketing world moves in waves, with the majority of businesses following a trend not because it is fashionable but out of commercial necessity.
- Going online, just to be online.
- SEO was king for many years.
- Then it was Adwords.
- Blogging came next.
- Now it is Social Media that is gaining all the attention.
In the past competitiveness and innovation played the largest part, but I have no doubt worries about the global economy are driving the most recent moves.
Although Social Media has been growing steadily for a few years, it seems now most businesses are looking towards these tools and services to find a good ROI alternative to their offline marketing, without the heavy prices that Adwords require in many niches.
Is Social Media the solution that you are looking for?
Why Social Media?
There are many advantages to social media over and above just “Traffic”:
- Modern version of traditional PR.
- Speed up your reaction times.
- Super-efficient word of mouth marketing.
- World wide focus group.
- Instant answers to business or technical questions.
- Brand awareness.
- Be on top of market news and moves.
- Grow your network.
There are also valuable indirect benefits. Attention creates the opportunity for links and traffic, which drives search rankings, which in turn will attract people who want what you offer. Buzz does not need to be the end you strive for, but can also be a means to an end.
But there are also pitfalls:
- Social Media can spread bad news too.
- Pitch and promote approach will meet with resistance. Traffic to direct offers seldom convert well, you need to find a new way to bring attention to your products and services.
- The chit-chat aspect can be addictive. Use Twitter best practices.
- This stuff takes time and experimentation.
What to Do?
We are still at the beginning with these tools, there are no rules. The best social media strategies for each type of organization or individual are still being developed. There are though guidelines that you can use to make sure you get the most out of all this social media stuff:
- Have a purpose, direct your efforts. Unguided meandering will just cause you to get bogged down.
- Give before expecting anything in return. The most generous, genuine and valuable are those who’s ideas spread best.
- Monitor your reputation. Use tools like TweetDeck, Google Alerts and Twitter Searches to see who is talking about your brand keywords and why. Respond appropriately.
- Measure your ROI and do more of what works.
- Experiment. Keep learning from case studies and good examples.
As always, I recommend you link all your social media activity back to your blog or website. Bring people back home, and give them good reasons to stick around. Build up your own base of loyal and egaged advocates.
Whatever you do, do not abandon what has been working for you and is still providing returns. Find ways to integrate the new stuff rather than throw out good tactics just because the new stuff is, well, new.
- Create valuable content and optimize for search engines.
- Engage your subscribers and customers.
- Grow your links and referrals.
- Build your lists.