One of the best, and most preferred, ways to advertise your products, and reach out to millions of customers worldwide, is by making use of Social Media. As you know, the Internet plays host to billions of people worldwide and you can easily reach out to many of them just by tapping into the different social media avenues.
What is Social Media?
Social media refers to various platforms that are available on the Internet, which provide users the chance to create their profiles and share and promote content. These social media platforms are all designed to help people and companies establish a social presence and let others know about their products and services.
The popularity of social media, as a marketing tool, rose in the last decade as more and more companies realized its true potential and began using it to their advantage. They understood that it is possible for them to reach out to millions of people, worldwide, and increase their customer base by several folds.
Social media is now part of every company’s marketing strategy. Right from a small store in Japan to a multi-million dollar company in the US, everybody is using the power of the Internet to get noticed and improve their product’s sales.
Understanding how social media marketing works
Many people, particularly small businesses and upcoming businesses seem to shy away from social media marketing. The reason being that it social media marketing is such a vast area and it is really difficult to know where they can start from, the area that should be targeted by them and their potential audience.
In order to become successful in making use of social media marketing you really need to get yourself better acquainted with the complex hierarchy that exists and the workings of these platforms. Like it is the case with any online marketing strategy, even in the case of social media marketing it will all have to start with you and your website.
Your website will act as the foundation, the base on which you can start building your campaign. Blogs have been gaining a lot of publicity, if your website has one then that’s good and if it doesn’t then perhaps it’s time that you have added one.
Blogs will enable you to provide regular steams of content that will help you grab and then hold on to the attention of your audience and in order to increase the number of people who are subscribing to your website, increase the number of followers you have got on any social media platforms and for also giving your business a sound online presence, a blog will really come in handy.
Social search tools will also be really helpful. Google Places, Foursquare, Yelp and even Bing Places are some of the popular directories that are available online.
This will help you draw more attention to yourself and will help you in strengthening your online presence which is really crucial for your business.
Social search tools are highly recommended by me and this will help in acting as a catalyst for improving the publicity for your business.
The top social media platforms to make use of
There are very few people who wouldn’t have heard of Facebook or Twitter, but these aren’t your only options there are a variety of social media platforms that you can make use of. If you can make use of it in the right way then your marketing campaign will be successful.
It is a unanimous opinion that Facebook is the most popular social media platform. There are more than 1.2 billion active users on Facebook. This platform provides you with an opportunity to advertise about different kinds of businesses it can be paid or free advertising. It also provides you with the option of creating pages dedicated solely to your business and this can help you engage your potential customers.
Facebook ads work according to PPC model that allows you to target certain ads and specific audiences. You can also share your content and communicate with your audience on a personal level.
Twitter is all about Microblogging and it is a networking platform where there are more than 300 million active users. This is considered to be a very popular platform for businesses, celebrities and entrepreneurs alike. Twitter users can post updates and these are known as tweets.
A tweet cannot be more than 140 characters long and this condition gives twitter the feel of an SMS system. You can create your business stage and you can make use of this for attracting your customers as well as getting updates to your audience without much trouble.
You can also make use of the promoted tweets feature that gives you access to paid advertising and you can reach a much wider Twitter audience by making use of this.
Google+ has more than 540 million active accounts and this is considered to be the second largest social media site in this world. It is fully integrated with a lot of other services that Google offers and it is a really good option for businesses as well as individuals who are looking for a platform for their soul a media marketing strategy.
This is a professional platform and it aims at businesses by allowing them to form relationships with their customers, investors and other interested parties. Your profile on Google+ will be linked to all other Google services that you make use of such as Google places.
LinkedIn has more than 270 million active users and this is aimed for businesses alone. This is an incredible platform for anyone who is associated with the business world. Unlike all the other social media networking sites that cater to both businesses as well as individual users, LinkedIn solely caters to different businesses.
Using this platform you can create a Company Page and this gives you the opportunity to showcase how well your company is doing and it also gives you a means of reaching out to your potential customers.
This really should be your go to website if you want to develop your business connections, especially if you are involved in Business-to-Business marketing. This will allow you to find as well as hire employees or even search for any business leads by going through different profiles of like-minded people or people with similar interests.
Pinterest is not just a website where people get to pin photos. It is so much more than that. This is a unique platform it is not like any other social media sites and also social media marketing. This has around 70 million active users at present, making it a relative teenager in terms of its popularity but that number has been increasing at a steady pace.
This is the place for both business users as well as individuals particularly those who make use of a lot of visual media. This would be for businesses that are related to the fashion industry like jewelry designers, photographers, any designers or basically any business that heavily relies on visual media.
Pinterest also offers business accounts that come with added features that will let you analyze your pins and also help in promoting particular pins. Your business profile can also be easily synced with your accounts on other sites such as Facebook or even Twitter.
Instagram is another popular social media site that is aimed at social media; it can be either in the form of photographs or even videos. This site has over 150 million active users and it has become the latest fad irrespective of their age. This is a perfect option for all those businesses that rely heavily on visual media like fashion businesses, food, design, and travel and so on.
Businesses can opt for either posting photos or videos of their products on Instagram and they can organize different photo or video contests for spreading publicity about their business.
You can link your Instagram account to a business website but you can mention the same in any of your posts on other social media sites as well. You can make use of Instagram for generating web traffic for your website and thereby generate more interest.
In a strict sense YouTube really isn’t a social media site but then it is the most visited video sharing site in the world and also the third most frequently visited site as well. YouTube combines a lot of features that make this site a vital tool to make use of in your social media marketing strategy.
This is a free platform that anyone can access and you can make use of this site for publishing any videos that are related to your business or area of interest. You can also make use of the feature of paid advertising for promoting your products or services and this means that your ads would show up on videos that are posted by other users as well.
Why is social media useful for marketing?
As you know, social media holds a lot of potential and will help in increasing your customer base. You will see how easy it is for you to reach out to different customers that are based all over the world. Let us now look at some of its real uses to companies.
The first and most important use is the reach that this platform provides to its users. You will see that it is possible for you to reach out to more people just by making your presence felt on these sites. When you add one person, you will automatically end up adding another 10. This is not possible when you advertise in the traditional way.
You will hardly be able to reach a few hundred there whereas here, you can easily reach millions just by clicking a few buttons and uploading pictures of your products and services.
Your brand recognition will grow in leaps and bounds. Imagine having a small shop in a remote island and trying to reach out to the world. It will seem like a herculean task. But now, you can easily “reach out and have our brand successfully recognized by million just by setting up an account on a social media platform.
It is like getting to set up free billboards on every street in the world. Your brand is sure to be recognized by millions around the world and you will see that it is possible for you to become a global image by establishing your presence on social media.
The costs of marketing can be considerably reduced when you take up online marketing. When you market in the traditional way, you end up spending a lot of money. Right from paying the advertising company to paying for the different promotional campaigns, there are many costs that will keep accumulating. You have to set up a big fund for it and only then will you be able to afford the traditional method of marketing.
However, with social media, all of that can be reduced to a bare minimum. You will see that it is possible for you to promote your products and services with a very small to no budget at all! Imagine the kind of money you can save on just by adopting social media for your marketing needs
Through social media platforms, you can interact with many people including your customers and potential business partners. You can bring everyone under the same roof and allow them to interact with each other.
You will see that it is easy for you to answer any queries that these people have towards your company, products or services and make it an interactive session. This type of a setting will go a long way in helping you establish a good connection with your customer base.