There can be no denying the impact that social media has had on business, you only have to look at the reach it has: well over a billion people between Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn subscribers. What's more, there is no sign of the social media bubble bursting just yet.
However, social media is actually much more than just a numbers game and in order for any marketing campaign to succeed then businesses simply have to understand how to embrace it properly. Indeed, the potential for extending the reach of your business and your brand has never been bigger. The time for action is now, but jumping onto the social media bandwagon without first doing your homework and making careful preparation is just inviting the wheels to fall off your campaign. And that means constructing a relevant and worthy social media marketing strategy.
DaniWeb has already covered how social video plays a key role in online advertising campaigns so I won't bother going over that same ground again. Likewise, DaniWeb has detailed why buying social media reviews is a recipe for disaster when it comes to any sensible marketing campaign that expects customer retention and brand longevity.
What we haven't done so far is compile a basic list of social media marketing campaign tips, until now...
Think of social media networks as marketing channels and match your products to those which are appropriate. The scattergun approach of simply throwing your efforts into the conversational mix without any thought about audience is asking for trouble. You will more likely alienate potential customers rather than attract them by choosing the wrong networks or adding negatively to the signal to noise ratio within the right ones.
Understand the channels you use, and tailor your marketing campaigns accordingly. Facebook isn't the best place for small snippets of news or conversation, that's what Twitter is best at. Likewise, Twitter isn't the place for in-depth customer engagement and involvement via link sharing, event promotion, product photography and the like, that's what Facebook is good at. Both are great for customer support, while LinkedIn isn't. If you want somewhere to further your business-to-business connections, to increase awareness of your whole business within your market sector, then LinkedIn is the place to go.
Don't forget that the 'big three' are not the be all and end all of social media. Google+ should be ignored at your peril, especially as it enables you to very carefully target your campaigns courtesy of being very much interest group led. Likewise, the same can be said of sites such as Tumblr and Pinterest. However, at the same time it is vital that you do no bite off more than you can chew. Which brings me back to my original point: choose your channels carefully. If you create accounts at every social media outlet you can think of, and then allow many of those accounts to sit there doing nothing because you can only devote a finite amount of time to your campaigns and have to prioritize your efforts, then what you end up with are numerous signposts indicating that your brand, your products and your business are dormant and stale.
Perhaps the single most important tip that can be offered is to hammer home the point that when it comes to social media the clue is in the name: it's a SOCIAL medium, so interaction is the key to success. Whatever channels you open within the social media sphere, you simply must put the effort into your interactions to ensure that your customers and potential customers feel part of your business family rather than apart from it. It's harking back to that 'never abandon a channel' mantra, because if you go quite, if you don't respond to queries, if you don't maintain the conversation then onlookers feel abandoned by your business and in turn will abandon you. If you want to convert conversations into custom, then you have to have those conversations in the first place. This really isn't rocket science folks! So be pro active, don't wait for others to ask the questions you can answer but instead provoke the conversation yourself, without stumbling into the realm of the social media spammer where everything is product led. Social media marketing is a balance between those two things, social media and marketing. Get the balance right and your campaigns will succeed.