"The Internet is so big, so powerful and so pointless that for some people it is a complete substitute for life."
If you haven’t yet begun to leverage the power of social networking to help promote your website or business, eMarket School has a game plan you can use.
Social networking sites now rank as the most visited sites on the web, accounting for more than 11% of viewed sites. Because of the explosion of this new medium (also known as Web 2.0) 25% of businesses say they are going to increase their spending on social media this year.
In this article we will show you:
- The benefits of marketing on social networks,
- How to target your message to your specific audience,
- How to increase your businesses branding,
- How to conduct market research, and
- How to stay in touch with your existing and potential customers.
Marketing through Social Networks
Maintaining a media mix is incredibly important for any business marketing plan. Social networks should complement but not replace traditional advertising efforts (print, broadcast, and internet). One great advantage of Social Media (SM) is that you can get started with it for free, unlike a business web page that requires creation and maintenance fees.
If you have some money to spend, though, you may want to include a social media buy into your Web 2.0 campaign plan. There are paid advertisements available through many of the popular social networks such as Facebook and My Space. Ads on social networks can be simple text based or graphical ads that mirror your current advertising, or can be even more dynamic and user interactive, like user polls.
Provide your customers with some type of value
When deciding how to attract fans to your site, keep in mind that you must motivate them in some way to become a fan or a follower. People view hundreds of marketing messages every day in the print media, on billboards, radio, television, email, or through daily web surfing that are generally sent to a broad audience in the hopes that the few people they are trying to reach will see them. It isn’t very scientific, targeted or effective.
Social media networks work on the exact opposite principle, finding people who want and need their product and marketing directly to them. Instead of sending impersonal messages or slogans, social networking marketers approach their audience with a warm, friendly message and seek to engage them in a relationship.
The Harley Davidson Motorcycle Facebook page encourages people to “join their family” and really seeks to build a personal relationship with their Facebook fans. They also reinforce their brand and image with slogans such as ‘It’s a free country” and “Freedom ain’t quiet, raise your voice.” If you look at their page you’ll also notice they cross promote their Twitter presence as well and provide a “what’s happening” feature to keep their Facebook fans informed and to add value to their membership.
Branding and public relations
Social networks have changed the way companies approach public relations and branding, and your SM campaign should include some type of branding and PR component. Messages which are hard to spread over normal media channels like newspapers, TV, and radio are easily and quickly disseminated over social networks, delivering immediate feedback and results.
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