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Social Network Marketing

Social network marketing is becoming one of the fastest growing methods of advertising today. With millions of businesses worldwide becoming members of social network sites such as Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, etc...it is logical to promote or market your business to those who will see your ads on a regular basis.

What Is Social Media Marketing?

Social media marketing includes a variety of ways to market a business online using a lot of different tools and techniques. It has the danger of encouraging spamming, just as email does, and the benefit of providing a way (blogging) that you can write essays about your products and business, rather than just blurbs, if that's a suitable approach for your particular situation.

With an investment that is pretty much limited to time, you can reach a wide range of customers in the way(s) they prefer. You can write tweets for Twitter, short posts for Facebook, longer articles for your blog, and post multi-media on YouTube. And you can link up with colleagues and professional connections on LinkedIn.

• Blog—Your blog can discuss your products in detail, how you run your company, how you started your company, the members of your staff and their roles, or anything else that you think will sell your product.

• Twitter—With a limit of 140 characters, you may need to get creative with your spelling and use a URL shortener to fit the message you want to share. Because tweets are so short, they don't have the same interruptive feel of an email and many people prefer them.

• Facebook and MySpace—You can set up a Facebook and MySpace business page on which you post business contact information, and information about your products and services,sales, specials, etc., as well as interact with customers and potential customers. Posts don't have the limit that tweets have, and photos could show your products in use, your design process, and other insights into your business that aren't usually seen. Facebook posts can be viewed by your customers in with their stream of comments or they can visit your page and view all your posts.

• YouTube—Got multimedia for your business? YouTube and similar sites provide a venue for sharing. If still images are your thing, try Flickr.

• LinkedIn—Linked In is a professional social network, so it has a different feel from other social networks, and can serve a different role in your promotion of your company.

In all these cases, the end-point of your efforts will be to get viewers onto your site to make a purchase.

How Is Social Media Marketing Different From Other Types of Marketing?

Social media marketing is different than other marketing in several key ways:

  • The investment isn't in paper and printing, mailing, buying air time, paying an ad agency or an email contact company or design people: it's in time spent connecting with, following, responding to, making offers to, providing information to, and supporting customers through online words, and sometimes through online multimedia. Regular input is best, but when trying to keep up with a bunch of sites, once a number of customers are communicating with you on each, you can get seriously over-extended. On the other hand, you don't want to miss the MySpace crowd who don't use FaceBook or vice versa. It's a point to give some thought to.
  • Social media marketing is built slowly, so the ROI for these efforts is a longer time coming. This is important to know so someone doesn't call off the efforts too soon - once you leave, it's hard to come back.
  • Marketing via social media includes activities that aren't usually counted specifically as marketing, including customer support and technical support, as well as offering coupons, promoting sales, creating polls, providing product information, etc. So the people with those title's may get drawn into the social media commitments.
  • A certain amount of redundancy is expected. You probably wouldn't pay for a television ad, the gist of which was "look at our ad in this magazine," but messages like that are part of social network marketing, for example tweeting your new blog post.

But social media is similar to other types of marketing in that—as with Google AdWords, for example, it's about the quality, not the quantity per se. It's also similar in that—in most cases—you want to have a finished product (whether website or items to sell) before you start the advertising, so that you don't build up interest before there's anything much to be interested in.

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