Make the Most of Social Media Marketing

There is no doubt about it; social media is here to stay. While the thought of venturing in into the realm of social media can be intimidating, the thing to remember is to start small, start with a purpose, and work to grow your social media marketing strategy over time.

social media lead generation, social media marketing agency, social media marketing strategy, Social Media ROIThe Facts

The trajectory of social networking continues to rise and gain momentum.

In fact, in 2010, 9 out of every 10 U.S. Internet users visited a social networking site each month and in 2010 social networking sites accounted for 12 percent of all time spent online, with an average Internet user spending more than 4.5 hours on these sites each month.

Social networking has become ingrained in our lives and is quickly becoming the preferred form of communication for countless individuals.

Facebook, the social networking behemoth, accounted for 10 percent of U.S. page views in 2010, and three out of every ten Internet sessions included a visit to this site.

(2010 U.S. Digital Year in Review: A Recap of the Year in Digital Media)


Why Use Social Media?

Aside from the fact that these sites are widely popular, they do provide numerous benefits to companies and organizations that are willing to invest in this type of marketing strategy.

These sites can assist in recruiting new employees, helping to establish trust with customers, working to build positive word of mouth buzz and establishing your company as an authority in your field of business. They can also assist with garnering research on your customers and testing out new product ideas.

Internally, they can also increase employee communication and feedback, assist with business process improvements and work to streamline project management efforts.


Where to Begin

As stated earlier, start small, but start smart.


Determine which sites to target

Figure out which sites your current and potential clients are visiting and focus on utilizing those for your social media efforts. Also assess what your competition is doing and don’t be afraid to review the efforts of large, successful companies. You can often glean tips and tricks to utilize on a smaller scale.


Establish goals and set metrics

Are you trying to raise brand awareness, sell more products, build relationships, position yourself as a thought leader, or all of the above? It is extremely important to evaluate how successful your strategy is. Measure how much your social media sites are being utilized and survey customers about their knowledge of them.


Align your tone and messaging

Since your vehicle for communication is changing, you also have to consider how you should change the tone of your messaging. Social media is much more casual than traditional marketing and it is also much more indirect.


Become a thought leader

Individuals see right through a campaign that is all about you and your business, instead, focus on sharing how your products and services can make the lives of your customers better and easier.

Don’t be afraid to share information that isn’t specifically about your company. Sharing valuable information establishes trust with your customer base; it shows them that you care about their success.


Make the time commitment and be timely

Social media is about starting and maintaining a conversation. You need to be active in order for social media to benefit your business. Set aside time each day to review what people are saying and to partake in the conversation.

Integrate your social media strategies with each other and with your traditional marketing plans

Ensure your messaging and branding remains consist. The last thing you want to do is jeopardize, weaken or dilute your brand.


In Conclusion

Take a deep breath and jump right in because you have to start somewhere. As long as your content is valuable, you will see that people are interested in what you have to say.

Author Profile

Keith BarrettKeith Barrett is a leading search engine optimization expert, with specific interest in social media marketing. His company, Search South, offers small business SEO services, as well as a wider range of approaches for businesses of all sizes.


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Small Business SEO Strategies

What’s the biggest mistake that most small businesses make when it comes to SEO? Personally, I would suggest that a common problem is being unrealistic about what can be achieved.

Does this mean that it’s not possible for a small business to gain considerable rewards from search engine optimization? On the contrary, I would suggest that there are massive benefits associated with SEO that’s done in the right way. But you need to think carefully about your strategy if you want to achieve cost effective results.

Ignore massive corporations!

It’s easy to look at the search results for the most competitive keywords and to assume that you need to be ranked for these phrases in order to succeed. There’s a good chance that you’ll find that these search terms tend to be dominated by the big brands and corporations.

This is not a coincidence. The reason why big companies are able to control the search space is because they have significant online marketing budgets. You can be sure that they are hiring top SEO professionals and spending considerable sums of money to achieve those positions.

Typically, it’s also the case that large organizations tend to have a large amount of data available to them. Although this should give them some advantages, you may be amazed to find that many big companies fail to act on the information. That’s often because they simply have too much data to analyze.

What does this mean for small business owners? It means that big corporations are missing out on some key signals.

Target cost effective search terms

Those big organizations often spend so much time, effort and money targeting high profile search terms, they don’t realise that the search terms that convert well may be less competitive. That’s pretty ironic!

But it also reveals an opportunity for small business owners. It means that you can target those areas that larger rivals are ignoring. This won’t just mean that you’re not having to compete with the massive corporations (with their massive advertising budgets) – it also means that you’ll be targeting keywords and phrases that will actually generate income for your business.

This is the cost effective approach to small business SEO that you should be striving for. Sure, it won’t allow you to boast at dinner parties about how you’re top of Google for a high profile search term. But how much does that really matter? Most business professionals would rather have money in their bank accounts, than being able to boast about such trivialities!

Put your strategy into action

Once you realize that SEO isn’t about high profile, competitive, poor converting search terms, you’ll find that you’re in a much stronger position.

You’ll be able to move your online marketing efforts forwards, without wasting money on SEO that’s simply never going to produce the returns that you’re looking for.

Effective SEO should be seen as a business investment. Once you’ve grasped that, you can stop making the mistake of seeing it as a cost.

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Keith Barrett As one of the leading search engine experts in the UK, Keith Barrett has used his considerable online marketing experience to help numerous businesses over the course of the past decade.




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