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Social media marketing is getting a lot of attention at the moment as organisations look for ways to tap into the popular appeal of leading social media sites. Small businesses, corporates, non-profits and government agencies have turned to the likes of Facebook and Twitter to reach out to their target audiences. With so many people using these sites every day, there is a clear marketing opportunity. The challenge remains how to go about exploiting it.The missing ingredient for a great many organisations is the lack of relevant social media content. It’s common for businesses to have set up profiles on leading social media channels, but lack the regular flow of fresh content to keep them relevant and useful to their friends and followers.
Social Media Content
Social media marketing campaigns are different beasts to campaigns that use traditional channels like print, radio and television, which means producing content for social media brings some new challenges. Conversations tend to be two-way, which means marketers need to be prepared to listen as well as talk. Social media content that attracts comment and discussion or that points to new and useful content on your site and elsewhere can help you grow your audience and promote your brand. But social media sites tend to be self-policing, which means too much about you is likely to result in a sharp drop in interest. Nobody wants to see social media content that consists entirely of special offers and product launches.If managed correctly, social media marketing can offer a cheap, effective means of engaging the right people. It can help organisations to learn more about their market, their competitors and their customers. It can generate ideas for new products and services and help build brand equity.But organisations need to identify the most suitable platforms for their campaigns. They also need to ensure they have something to contribute to the debate. One of the biggest failures of social media marketing campaigns is a lack of decent social media content. This means that those organisations that are already publishing original content – and therefore have something to share – have a head start.
Rise of Twitter
Twitter, the micro-blogging site that allows users to post 140-character messages (or tweets) and find like-minded people or organisations to follow, had a stellar year in 2010. Another 100 million members signed up during the year and the community posted a combined total of 25 billion tweets. The service counts the likes of Barack Obama, Lady Gaga, Kanye West and Shane Warne among its highest-profile members, but it is far from just a celeb-digest.In fact, the stats suggest members are increasingly using Twitter as a platform to promote themselves. According to figures from Sysomos, 69 per cent of users now have bios, up from just 31 per cent a year earlier. The vast majority have added detailed names and just shy of three-quarters (73 per cent) now include their location. The percentage of members using their bio to point to a website has shot up from 22 per cent to 45 per cent.Social media marketing campaigns that leverage Twitter’s power often have a local flavour, making use of the location element that was introduced in 2009. Smaller, consumer-facing brands can, for example, use Twitter to target people close to their outlets with special, time-limited offers. For larger organisations, Twitter provides an opportunity to build an online community and point relevant people back to fresh content on corporate sites and elsewhere.
Power of Facebook
While Twitter is witnessing massive growth, Facebook remains the largest presence in the social media space. It has more than 600 million users worldwide and claims 50 per cent of its members log in on any given day.Facebook ‘Like’ buttons have become an increasingly popular feature on web pages, providing anyone who is logged in with an opportunity to recommend content to their friends. Facebook members have an average of 140 connections, which means when they ‘Like’ something on your site, 140 people see it in their newsfeed.An increasing number of organisations have invested in a presence on Facebook, which enables users to like their page and become fans. This provides an opportunity to build a little online community to float ideas and improve brand affinity. A lot of large corporates use their Facebook pages to reward fans with exclusive offers and discounts and some even point people at their Facebook pages rather than their websites in their offline advertising.
Social Media Marketing Tips
Social media marketing can seem rather uncontrollable and even a little daunting. Here are our general pointers for making a success of it…Get involved.
Social media conversations about your brand could be happening without you, so you should at least have a look at what’s being said.Be prepared to listen.
Social media marketing campaigns are two-way affairs. You’ll need to listen as well as talk and be prepared to lose control of your campaigns once they’re launched.Seek out relevant examples.
What works for one organisation might not be appropriate for you. Look for pointers from a relevant example of good practice in your sector or region.Contribute something valuable.
Spamming Twitter followers or Facebook friends is unlikely to do you much good. When it comes to developing your social media content, give them something regular, relevant and original.