Marketing with Social Media
By David W. B. Parker
At PTC Computer Solutions, we often get requests to set up a Facebook, YouTube, or countless other business accounts for Social Media Marketing. But often, the understanding beyond just needing one ends there. What is Social Media and how can it help your business?
Social media is the terminology used to describe any wide array of conversational tools on the Internet. These are tools to help users connect, converse, and interact with online resources. With many hundreds of millions of people utilizing these tools, there is the obvious conclusion that social media must be part of any marketing plan. However, there are good and bad ways to approach these as well as many facts and fictions that need to be understood.
When utilizing social media, there needs to be a different approach to marketing. If those who are following your posts feel there is a blatant attempt at marketing, they will often turn you off or tune you out. It is a perfect forum for announcing new products, requesting feedback, and encouraging conversation about your company or your product, often referred to as creating “buzz.”
There are many types and kinds of social media sites. But, they all have a common thread in that they provide some forum for interaction. It is important to consider all of these options when considering a marketing plan for the Internet. Social media is not just about Social Networks, there is a great deal more to consider and they all should be considered. Keeping up with these and staying on top of current data to post on all of them is as important as having a presence, so be sure to handle it or hire someone to do so. Here is a list of social media sites by category and some examples of each:
- Blogs – a free form forum for writing in a journalistic style with invitation for comments. Includes such products as Blogger and WordPress.
- Social Networks – an interactive connectivity for people to discuss and receive comment. This includes such products as Facebook and LinkedIn.
- Bookmarking – allows the saving of bookmarks just like in the browser but on a site that can be accessed from any computer. Delicious and StumbleUpon are good examples of these types of sites with Google Plus making a big push in this area.
- Microblogging – this category evolved from blogging because bloggers became carried away with themselves. Sites such as Twitter and Tumblr provide services in this area.
- Media Sharing – a very useful tool is the ability to share videos, audio, and photos. YouTube and Flickr are good examples of these with many others in the market place.
- Popularity Pickers – these sites allow the collection of bookmarks and then allow for voting on them. The big up and comer is Pinterest with Reddit the established offering.
- Social Media Management – with all the sites out there for all of the above, there is hardly enough time to keep it all together, thus there are sites to handle this including Hootsuite and Tweetdeck among others.
It’s great to have involvement in many if not all of the aforementioned social media opportunities and venues. However, don’t get involved if you are not going to understand the etiquette required of them. There are things that must be avoided when publishing to the social media sites. There are a set of unspoken social media rules you are required to follow. Namely:
- Blatant promotion is not ok – promotion is not a bad thing, but keep it low-key.
- Don’t post angry, political, or religious – unless there is a desire to alienate your social network, avoid these posts altogether. Even the innuendo can alienate your social media base.
- Apologize when necessary – this is always a good idea, especially when there has been a boundary crossed that should not have been. Don’t tarry, do it immediately.
- Be a good online citizen – help others whenever possible. Answer questions when asked and assist in any way to explain things that are harder to understand, such as social media.
- By all means, add value to posts – there is nothing less interesting than offering nothing to the social network at your disposal. Offer value to reading the posts. Make it worth their while to come and take a look frequently. Post interesting material, offer explanation and information, offer incentives to the readers, provide a forum for your social media network.
Be smart about the social media and you’ll have people clamoring for more and clamoring is a good thing. Create buzz and offer some value to be successful with your social media. There are many sites to keep up with and many formats to handle. It is as important to keep the information on these sites current as it is to have them in the first place. So, ensure that you are keeping up or hire someone who can.
PTC Computer Solutions has been involved with the Internet and assisting businesses in the understanding and best use of the web since 1996 and is ready to help you and your business to build a better online marketing approach. Contact David W.B. Parker at firstname.lastname@example.org or find out more at www.ptccomputersolutions.com. We stand at the ready.