Online Social Marketing: A Brief Recap
In our previous article post, we defined online social marketing as “A form of Internet marketing which seeks to achieve branding and marketing communication goals through the participation in various social media networks.” We then examined the goals of online social marketing using sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Digg, YouTube, LinkedIn and the hundreds more out there in the virtual ether. These covered aspects such as increased web traffic, a greater lead conversion rate, increased business exposure and a positive brand association. Online social marketing also enables enterprises to effectively manage their reputation, which is an indispensible tool for any business, regardless of size and industry. In this article, the second installment of a three-part series, we shall begin discussing the various elements necessary to create an effective and successful online social marketing strategy so that you – a business owner – can reap the maximum benefits from your time investments in social media.
How to Use Online Social Marketing to Promote Your Business
Let’s approach this conceptually: marketing is about making people aware of your business and the products and services it offers. It’s about convincing people to patronize your business because they believe that the quality or cost-effectiveness of said products and services are desirable over and above that of your competitors. Online social marketing is therefore the same in principle, but the strategies necessary to reach your end goals are different. The bottom line here is (1) attracting a greater number of visitors to your business website and (2) making your target audience aware not only of your existence, but of your status as an industry leader. So how does one achieve this with online social marketing?
- Seek to Assist
Online social marketing is about appealing directly to each individual (or at least making them feel this way) rather than an amorphous and monochromatic target group. This can be done effectively by not using your social media accounts to waffle on about your brand and how awesome it is, but rather by using it as a platform from which to provide ways to help people. Include links to useful resources and tips that’ll help your potential customers better themselves. For example, if you are an arts supply shop, perhaps post a link to an instructive site on painting techniques, or the details of an important exhibition. If you’re a dentist, you can post blogs about how to maintain an excellent standard of oral health or hygiene; or simply refer potential patients to other health websites. There are loads of helpful and informative websites out there; find them and use your social media to provide pathways to them. Your viewers will:
- Remember you,
- Regard you as helpful, which in turn builds a positive reputation
- Will probably return to your website next time they want assistance
- Are far more likely to come to you if they ever require a product or service you provide
And this is the very goal of online social marketing!
- Strategize! The Process is as Important as the End-Goal!
Achieving your goals using online social marketing is most effectively done by strategizing and planning the course of action you wish to take. You’re not going to get anywhere by simply establishing 100 profiles on 100 different social media websites. How do you plan to manage your accounts? How are you going to appeal to your target audience using these sites? Understand your goals and intimately plan your process. Otherwise, considering the vast number of social media and networking sites out there, jumping head-first into online social marketing can prove about as useful as shouting against thunder.
Online Social Marketing: Stay Tuned
For more information on how online social marketing can greatly increase your web traffic, lead conversion and sales, stay tuned for the third installment of this five-part series.