Social Media Marketing

You’re hearing a lot about Social Media as a tool for marketing your business, but like most people, you can’t seem to get past your skepticism. You’d like to try it out, but you don’t know where or how to start. Do you start with your immediate friends who use Facebook or MySpace? There’s no better place to let friends know about your business. Maybe you should just jump in cold turkey with the other thousands of tweeps on Twitter. Before you do anything, you need to understand exactly how social media can benefit you and your business.

Why Social Media is Important for Your Site or Business

  • Social media is all about establishing and building relationships
  • Promote your brand: don’t spam
  • Social media is efficient
  • Fastest way for information to travel: good and bad
  • Social media is cost effective
  • Cheaper than traditional advertising, you are in control of content
  • Social media is interactive
  • Allows for feedback from existing/potential customers/clients

How do Social Networking Sites and Social Bookmarking Sites Differ?

Currently, Facebook, MySpace, and Bebo are rated the top three social networking sites, although Bebo is reported to be losing ground. Initially, these sites were simply places for friends to gather online and share their daily experiences, but now they are stretching themselves beyond their intended purpose. Facebook, for one, has caught the marketing wave and doubled its effectiveness by including Fan Pages and static html pages. Marketing videos are also becoming a popular way of promoting businesses. This is not to say one should depend solely on microblogging sites for marketing. Usually, these sites are limited to a few hundred friends, many who may not necessarily be interested in your particular product or service.

Bookmarking sites offer the ability to categorize and organize other websites by using tags. This enables you to share your collection with other members. They take what they like from you, add it to their own collection, and the action continues to repeat. There are close to 1,000 bookmarking sites to choose from. Here are a few of the more popular bookmarking ones. Setting up accounts with these sites is a must for promoting your business brand.

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  1. Twitter
  2. Digg
  3. Reddit
  4. Stumble
  5. Yahoo Buzz
  6. De.licio.us
  7. Tweetmeme
  8. Mixx
  9. Propeller
  10. Slashdot

These will vary according to what lists you refer to when checking out the Top 10 or 20 site.

Where to Start Your Social Media Marketing

It’s said that starting anything new is the most difficult part. Obviously, with so many places available to market yourself, you may find yourself overwhelmed with choices. Twitter is the most obvious place to start. Millions of visitors are sending out their 140 characters of important information dozens of times each day. It doesn’t matter if you’re a Hollywood star, or the one of the top web hosting provider around. Learning how to use Twitter to market your business is too valuable to be dismissed.

Once you begin building relationships and creating communities, there’s no telling what can happen. What many people don’t realize is the it’s actually the information you tweet that draw people to your site. Once they determine if your information is worthy of passing on, then it’s more likely you can get them to purchase your product or service, even a web hosting provider can have success! You might also be interested to learn that research shows 78% of business comes from peer recommendation. Good news travels fast on Twitter, but so does bad news.

Niche Sites

Many sites offer forums where members can share problems they may be having about their businesses. These would be considered niche sites as only people having a common interest would gather for discussion. For instance, if you offered free hosting services, you might engage in discussion regarding how to access your site through the c-panel. If you are a freelance blogger, you might share what you know about WordPress. The list goes on and on.

Blogs also offer prime opportunity to enter into a relationship by leaving an appropriate comment. Often, the most valuable information takes place between commentors rather than the blog owner and the reader. Sometimes if a situation occurs where someone has had a bad experience, it can be re-examined from another point of view.

More and more businesses are realizing the value of marketing themselves by means of social media. Every business depends on building solid relationships on a personal level. Sharing your knowledge with others and helping them solve a problem is the beginning of attracting potential clients/customers. Marketing your business through social media channels is the surest way to spread the good news about your business in the shortest amount of time. Social media marketing is the advertising wave of the future.