- July 9, 2010
- Posted by: admin
- Categories: Blog, Search Engines, Search Marketing
Today is SNM day – where we find out just how much heat social networks are packing. Most of my IM projects get more traffic from social network propagation than they do from search engines these days. It is safe to say that SNM (social network marketing) is giving SEM (Search engine marketing) some stiff competition.
However, with SNM, its more a question of when, where and why – we have all kinds of networking sites; social, casual, professional and the like. Coming to the question – which three networking websites would you prioritize for marketing endeavors for:
a) Marketing a product
b) Marketing a service
Without a doubt, facebook/twitter are the most popular social networks today. But their focus being social networking- make them more of an indirect marketing medium in terms of commerce. Would love to see emergent/specific networks prioritized over popular/generic ones.
Will create a summary of most popular suggested networks at the end of the discussion. Comments appreciated, with rationale. Personal SNM experiences of contributors also welcome.
Although Facebook and Twitter are seen as ‘social’ while LinkedIn is seen as ‘professional,’ I believe all businesses should have an active presence on all three sites. People are now going to social media sites, such as Facebook and Twitter, to research businesses. As a response, these businesses should be present on all three sites. Their absence is truly a missed opportunity to reach millions of people.
Recently, in terms of population, Facebook has passed the US in being the ‘3rd largest country in the world’ (China is 1st and India is 2nd). The power of over 500 million people on one site has yet to be determined, but I can tell you as a small business owner that the majority of my business has come directly from Facebook. How exciting is that? And Facebook is a FREE resource! I make it a point to post interesting and relevant information on my site to appeal to those who ‘like’ my business and grow my fan base.
(I recommend Facebook to reach consumers and clients.)
Twitter is also a huge opportunity for businesses. One of the greatest strengths that Twitter has is its ability for real time search. Often it is days/weeks before a search engine crawls your site for updated and relevant information – but with Twitter it is instantaneous! This means, when someone is talking about you, good or bad, you can respond immediately. Again, this is FREE.
(I recommend Twitter to connect with other businesses and professionals, as well as to reach potential clients.)
Lastly, LinkedIn is another great site for social media marketing and networking. Your profile serves as an interactive resume and the great thing about LinkedIn is that everyone on the site is there with business in mind. (You won’t see status updates telling you that Joe Smith just brushed is teeth and is now on his way to a doctor’s appointments.) So use that to your advantage by ‘talking biz.’ Use your connections to your advantage by making more connections. Recommend people and ask to be recommended. (You’re on LinkedIn so I’m preaching to the choir!)
(I recommend LinkedIn to connect with people professionally and promote yourself and your business in a more sales oriented way than you would on Facebook, or even Twitter.)
My basic answer to my clients is to do the research to find out where your potential customers hang out, then use the same platforms/web sites/networks that they do.
Build the relationship with them on their turf and on their terms. I find that this creates a stronger bond and a feeling that you really know your customers, listen to them, and care about them and their opinions. In turn, they feel good enough about your brand or product to recommend or champion it for you.
Remember, SMN is ALL about the RELATIONSHIP not the product or service.
My two cents.
1. SmartPhones: Because they are with you all the time and can access SMNs
2. iTVs: Because they are in your living room and can access all the SMNs
3. eBooks: Because they contain your entertainment and can access SMNs
4. iDVDs: Because they are in your living room and can access all the SMNs
5. NetBooks: Because they are with you all the time and can access SMNs
For marketing a product I would use:
Facebook Fan Page – Fan Pages are great to give customers a little information about the product, as well as a discussion board to share their opinions on it.
Twitter – For the same reasons as Facebook, but with the added bonus that you can send time bound offers via Twitter which increases the likelihood of a sale.
For marketing a service I would use:
LinkedIn – You can generate recommendations and a dynamic portfolio to help boost your trust and credibility to a potential client.
Related, niche forums – By posting actively with smart original comment, it allows you to reach a community of targeted people who could potentially become your client.
I go where the audience is for what I’m offering.
Your live link is below.
Good question Zohaib.
I will answer to your question directly.
Where – Social sites(Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other similar sites)Forums and IMs.
Why – Bigger audience, which means more customers, easier to maintain, better results in overall.
Marketing products – Twitter, Facebook, stock sites(Amazon for example).
Marketing services – LinkedIn, Facebook, job sites(depends on industry, there are many quality ones).
All of those are used on mobile devices(cellphones, smartphones, tablets, netbooks, etc)and because mobile devices are in our everyday life quality results are guaranteed in social network marketing.
I’m sorry I don’t know what “emergent/specific networks …over popular/generic ones” means.
Over Internet – stop being stupid, WC is over.
Regulated industries such as financial services will continue to focus on the major social media sites. Firms have a limited amount of resources to manage their social media efforts. In the short to medium term, firms in regulated industries need to figure out monitoring, data capture, storage and other regulatory compliance issues first. Only after these questions are answered and well understood will firms in regulated industries move on to the emerging social media sites and sites which focus on particular affinity groups.
My best guess for regulated industries use of the major social media sites is as follows:
a. Twitter’s relatively limited feature set makes life easier for those responsible for regulatory compliance in their firms. This means that “cutting ones teeth” (for risk managers) is relatively easy for firms breaking into social media marketing.
b. Twitter has a pretty good set of third party applications which helps firms manage the posting process.
2. Facebook: with large “installed” base and broad range of options for companies to reach the ultimate client, Facebook is hard to beat.
3. LinkedIn. Don’t get me wrong. LinkedIn is an absolutely amazing site with a strong user base. However, its appeal is not as broad as Facebook’s for the mass market. On the plus side, I believe the median income for LinkedIn users is around $108k. It’s a great place to connect with the “middle affluent” instead of the mass market.
I don’t see smaller sites focused on affinity groups being used by regulated industries for quite a while for the reasons cited at the beginning of my post. Instead, I see opportunities for target marketing within the three largest sites through the creation of groups, lists, etc.
A little out of scope I admit, but the next two I would focus on would be YouTube and Foursquare.
From a risk management perspective YouTube is a known factor and is a good place for risk managers to work with marketers and sales people in adopting social media.
FourSquare has enormous potential because it drives home the notion that, like politics, all sales are local. Location based marketing viewable at several levels. Very interesting.
In order to manage high volume SCORE inquiries in federal government contracting, I set up a Google blog as an extension of my volunteer work that blossomed into a web site containing the basics of entering and succeeding in the venue as well my books and articles on the subject for download via Box Net.
The idea was to refer clients to article links at the site to avoid repeating myself over and over to new business clients and still keep myself available through the SCORE web site for specific inquiries and problems.
I linked everything together on “Linked In” and began answering questions at the “Answers” feature there as well as registering at many of the free applications for networking web sites on the Internet to see how that could benefit my work. Twitter, BlogCatalog, Facebook, Widgetbox, Friendfeed, Ning and similar free applications served my site well.
The Adsense Feature added cash flow. Roughly 30% of my clients began coming via Linked In or Linked In related networking.
The result has been heavy traffic, good efficiency in supporting over 3400 score counseling cases over the last 4 years and virtually no expense to me as a volunteer working for a non-profit organization.
I pass this experience on to others in the belief they may benefit from a similar approach.
Buy software for social bookmarking.
Social Network Marketing is effective when a product or service is has a limited audience for one reason or another. Social Network Marketing is not making an ad or promotional campaign and throwing it out on whatever network. It’s about engaging people who have an interest in that thing and getting them to market for you.
There’s three basic components to this: 1) Find your audience;. 2) Engage them and critically 3) Reward them for doing the work. Without three, you’re just asking for free promotion.
I have one social network campaign that’s still paying off more than a year after it was launched. It didn’t cost me a penny to launch and it’s cost me a few dollars here and there to give a meaningful reward. It’s a genius idea, even if I do say it myself. 🙂
I would add the following option to your list:
c) Providing the public with useful, informative content
Social media marketing has the greatest and most beneficial impact when it’s used to provide the public with information that they need. That makes your business an information resource and gives it relevance in search engine results.
The Internet’s greatest use is as a research tool. The social networks can further that cause by showing how different interconnected groups of people are using information to build communities and businesses.
Social networking is more effective if you tie all your accounts together in some way. For instance, everything I post on Twitter shows up in my Facebook profile and on my blog.
Of course, when you post to your blog make sure you have a link back to your website. Or the product you are talking about.
As @Matthew pointed out the real power in Social Media Marketing (leverage!) is by cross promoting all: Blog, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn, etc.
We are finding that Social Media Marketing is much more effective for B2C clients for lead generation and not so great for B2B, unless the latter are say north of $25M in revenue and using Social Media for functions other than just pure lead generation; i.e. Customer Service, Branding, Thought Leadership, Competitive Analysis, etc.
We are not saying to B2B clients not to use Social Media Marketing – just that it acts much more as a front end funnel or brand awareness tool. If you take it to a more advanced level using third party apps and tools it can be more of a lead generation system, but takes more time and resources.
Saw your blogpost on LinkedIn, without LinkedIn I would not have found this article. So there is a big advantage of SNM. My opinion about this subject is pretty straight forward. Social Networks are taking over the task of search engines.
For example Twitter, I can find almost instantly what I am looking for an article, the latest news or local weather information.
The big advantage of SNM is that you can target specific groups of people and trigger their interests without going through all the SEM things you have to do.
Currently I am testing out what Twitter can mean and what the effectiveness of placing links to blogs and articles is.