When I discuss social networking, social media, SEO, SEM and social marketing with small business owners for the first time, many are overwhelmed and confused about what they really are and how they impact their business. They know that they are all important, but not sure why. They know they need to establish an effective social web presence, but not sure how. If you feel similar frustration, let me share a little light on a couple of these subjects.
What is Social Media?
In a nutshell, social media is content designed to be disseminated through social interaction, created using social tools such as social networks, business networks, forums, bookmarking, video sharing, etc. Social media are web-based technologies that transform traditional broadcast media monologues (one to many) into social media dialogues (many to many). It allows you to not just talk to your customer; it allows you to talk with and interact with your customer in a way that was never possible before.
What is Social Marketing?
Social Marketing is the actual marketing strategy and implementation of your efforts to effectively market yourself on the internet utilizing social media and social networks as well as related strategies that utilize SEO “Search Engine Optimization” and SEM “Search Engine Marketing/Monetization.”
Wikipedia describes social media marketing as:
“the act of using social networks, online communities, blogs, wikis or any other collaborative Internet form of media for marketing, sales, public relations and customer service. Common social media marketing tools include Twitter, blogs, LinkedIn, Facebook, Flickr, and YouTube.”
Where I believe that most small business owners run into trouble is that they see the action side of social marketing and not the planning side of social marketing. The action side has two primary components:
- Create traffic through videos, tweets, or even blog entries that attract attention, link energy and become viral in nature. Traffic and link energy is the element that makes social marketing effective, it replicates a message not through purchase of an ad, but through user to user contact.
- Identify and connect with visitors and capture targeted connections, prospects, and customers. Building a base for your brand or company to grow from.
Action for the sake of it is ineffective. Many companies’s implement social media marketing campaigns because they either are told it is important or their competition is doing it. They jump in doing what they see and hear everyone else doing, accomplish nothing and become frustrated by the time and money that they have wasted.
Defining Your Small Business SMS “Social Marketing Strategy”
Before you jump into social marketing head first, you need to establish an effective SMS “Social Marketing Strategy” that will identify
- What are your internet presence goals and objectives? (Develop a contact list, website monetization, marketing information, brand development)
- Who is your target connection and customer that you want to attract, identify and capture?
- What are the most effective social networks and media tools to reach your target and achieve your goals?
You can not be all things to all people. Only after you ask and answer the three questions above can you develop and implement an effective social media marketing campaign that will be successful and achieve your goals. Now you may have multiple plans, using multiple social resources, but the key is to always start with the SMS!