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What To Include In Your Social Media Marketing Strategy?

Every client desires their social media marketing strategy to create the ultimate “buzz” around their product, service, business or event. What may be a success or failure for one company could result in the exact opposite conclusion for another, simply verifying how incredibly different and customized each social media marketing strategy truly needs to be. In order to attract your target audience, the time and effort must be instilled in a strategy that is targeting exactly who you want to reach with as much potential pull as possible.

Think of it as a large technology puzzle. In order to create this necessary “buzz” a company needs all of the pieces of the social media marketing strategy to be in the box and strategically placed for success. This “buzz” requires more tools than just a simple blog or an online profile, but it encompasses the power of word-of-mouth marketing matched with a personal relationship that people truly value. Here we have created a check list of helpful “buzz” puzzle pieces that every company needs to include in their social media marketing mix for a profitable outcome.

Blogs

A great blog can be thought of as the “heart” of a social media marketing campaign. It is where a company can not only express their personal values, opinions, views and offers, but directly drive traffic to their website separate from the extensive costs of advertising to their target market. A quality blog has the capability of  creating internal links, fresh content, active community or non-search engine traffic.

Examples of widely used blog sites where personal or business accounts may be created are: WordPress, Blog.com, Bloggers.com, Typepad, etc.

Microblogging

In many of the same ways as a blog (but in a much more directly to-the-point manner), microblogging allows for the key points of a company’s message to be passed on extremely quickly and effectively. Microblogging sites such as Twitter and Posterous, allow for millions of people to see the exact same message your company wishes to publish, at the exact same time and potentially be re-tweeted to be seen by people that don’t yet follow you. The power of these sites is truly not even close to being maximized and to see the vision of the exponential potential growth for a company and it’s brand is simply incredible. Its the way of the future and a social media marketing tool no company will be without within the next few years.

Online video

Online videos have taken interaction with the consumer and matched that with the necessary information the company needs conveyed to create an all-encompassing (audio, visual and emotionally-stimulating) experience that provides instant gratification throughout the desired learning process. Videos give the consumer a chance to “see and hear it for themselves” which is commonly proven as a more effective way to reach a company’s target audience. Some websites who successfully specialize in sharing online videos are: YouTube and Vimeo.

Photosharing

When dealing with social media, the whole idea is to technologically “share” what you have with a much larger audience to spread the bigger “picture”. Why not begin with a classic photo? Pictures are a powerfully-packed punch for a social media campaign, that can convey so much meaning and clearly seen information with just one simple file. They are essential to the visual component of a social media marketing campaign and very exciting to work with. Some popular photo-sharing sites include Flickr, Memeo, and Photobucket.

Presentation sharing

Another interesting way to connect with your target audience and further your company’s brand identity would be to offer your target audience presentations on topics of interest to them via presentation sharing websites. This not only shows your consumers that your company cares enough to research their personal interests, but that you also took the time to spread valuable information to them that could be of helpful use. Some commonly used websites include: SlideShare, MyPlick, Scribd, AuthorSTREAM, or Myplick.

Social Networks: applications, fan pages, groups, and personalities

There have been many ways to promote a company, convey their personal mission and express their competitive advantage in the past via various forms of communication, but social networks have opened up an entire new can of interactive worms. Social networks are not like any other form of social media marketing in that they not only are a clear, concise representation of your company and your brand, but they allow the consumer (who spends time, effort and money on your product or service) to “feel the feedback” by actively participating with you on your profile. 7.

Bookmarking/Tagging

Bookmarking websites for Internet users allows them not only to organize, search and manage their web resources, but also share them with millions of other Internet users; the key point. In your social media marketing strategy, you want your consumers to “share” their findings on your site with as many people as possible, hence the beauty of the Internet. Not only does this increase company and brand awareness, but more importantly it allows for exponentially growing traffic of your website, ultimately resulting in profit. Some commonly used social bookmarking websites include: Delicious, Digg, Diigo, Fark, Mixx, MyBlogLog, Newsvine, Propeller, Reddit, Slashdot, StumbleUpon, Yahoo! Buzz.

Discussion Boards and Forums

Online forums are a perfect opportunity to have open discussions and to interact with other experts in your field and/or curious target audience members. They are also a great way to market your products and/or services, while engaging your present or potential consumers, further building your brand equity and awareness. These interactions and engagements with your audience will undoubtedly add to the valued open relationship they feel to your brand.

Content aggregation

Content aggregation is much like your hall closet, only less coats and more news mixed with feeds. Each social networking site you belong too, blog you update and subscribe too, microblog you have an account with, etc. has their own separate news feeds. These feeds tell you what’s going on, who has updated what and where you are able to find the newest information. Having multiple feeds to pay close attention too can be exhausting, which is where content aggregation comes into play. It simply gathers all of those news feeds for you and allows you to organize, manage and search all of your online communities accounts in one place. Commonly predicted as the “future of social media.” Some emerging content aggregation websites are: Lifestream.fm, Lijit, Bloglines, FriendFeed.

Brand monitoring

The branding of your business and company image as a whole is extremely important. Social media offers many ways to help YOU, the company employee or owner, understand the most effective ways to accomplish successful branding. Some commonly used examples are: Buzzlogic, Radian6 or Reputation Defender.

Ratings and reviews

The best way to see the progress, success or improvements needed regarding your website are through ratings and reviews.  They allow you to not only see the “big picture” of how your brand is perceived by others and how much traffic you receive, but they are able to pinpoint exactly what is working well, what isn’t working well and most importantly; why. See Getsatisfaction, Yelp.

Widgets

Widgets are a great tool for businesses and companies to use that promotes their brand by creating a badge on the company’s website including the company’s link to its Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other accounts.  This badge not only increases traffic flow to all of the sites liked to it, but more importantly it furthers brand awareness. Some example sites are: WidgetBox or Spring Widgets.

Wikis

Wikis are our online encyclopedia. A short list of wikis includes: Wikipedia, Citizendium, Aboutus, Pbwiki, or Wetpaint.

Publishing your content on networking sites is very important, however publishing  your articles on publishing sites like Ezinearticles, eHow, Google Docs, IdeaMarketers and Yahoo Articles Group undoubtedly takes precedence.  Submitting your press releases on important specialized sites such as i-Newswire, PR.com, PressReleasePoint, PRLog.org are also great ways to capitalize on the newest mediums of the Internet.

Companies are struggling to understand what social media marketing mix they should use to make their brand successful in the online world, and that is more than understandable. Social media marketing can be extremely difficult to comprehend, let alone be successful at increasing profitability from it. The most important thing to remember is what will not work, and that is randomly choosing any network without thought, strategy or positioning.

In our expert opinion, it is most lucrative to begin at the starting point of determining exactly which channels are suitable for your business depending on your target audience and their personal preferences.   It is wise for businesses to plan a step by step online marketing strategy with their online marketing agency that is personally customized to their product or service, and that is where Adventure Web Productions steps in. Please visit us at www.advp.com to learn more!

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