‘Social media’ is a term that has gained prominence and popularity over the past couple of years. But what is it, and how can it be used to benefit your business? Media are communication instruments. Traditional media such as newspapers, radio, and TV formats are one-way communication formats from the publisher to the reader, listener, or viewer.

Social Media

Social Media was enabled by so-called ‘Web 2.0’ technologies that surfaced circa 2002-5 to facilitate multi-participant communication, information sharing, interoperability, collaboration, communities, and the user or consumer-generated content (media) on the World Wide Web. It encompasses capabilities such as blogs, online chat, social networks, online communities, wikis, social bookmarks, forums, video sharing, photo sharing, virtual worlds, podcasts, social news, etc.

Social Media Marketing

So it follows that ‘Social Media Marketing’ uses social media capabilities for marketing purposes. Not quite – traditional forms of marketing do not directly translate or work in this new environment. In conventional marketing, you should produce materials and campaigns aimed at your customers and prospects by hiring New Orleans social media marketing agency you can depend on.

In social media marketing, you’re engaged in communication with your customers and prospects. You use social media capabilities in the same ways your customers and prospects do. You observe the rules set by the community you are communicating with. Those are significant differences. Social media marketing can be compelling and successful if approached and used correctly. Conversely, you can cause yourself a lot of pain if it comes incorrectly or is ignored.

Think about social media marketing as social influence communication via various tools, online communities, social influencers, public relations, customer service, etc. The top 5 tools are Blogs, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and YouTube. Here are some of the many ways to use social media marketing for your business:

  1. Exposure for your business/products/services/solutions – the number one benefit is getting more exposure to more people in more ways.
  2. Improve your business/products/services/solutions visibility on the Internet – the second significant benefit is increased traffic for your website and other web properties.
  3. Generate more sales leads – the third significant benefit is search engine ranking improvement, which enables more people to find your business when they search for products/services/solutions like yours.
  4. Increase customer loyalty by monitoring and participating in conversations about your business/products/services/solutions.
  5. Gain insight from communities of interest for your business/products/services/solutions by participating in discussions and getting first-hand information about what buyers want.
  6. Build your brand and authority by using your expertise to educate and assist people in your communities of interest.

Although social media marketing direct costs are very affordable, the time demands are significant and require continuous attention.

If you have any doubts, consider these statistics from several surveys – 73% of active online users read blogs, 57% have joined a social network, 83% watch video clips, 39% subscribe to an RSS feed, and according to Time magazine, social networking sites are more popular than pornography sites. If you’re not doing social media marketing, you’re not using the full potential of the Internet.