Social media marketing is characterized by using social media to generate income, publicity, and public awareness of a product. It is particularly useful because the public is so engaged with social media, and it permits a more intimate relationship between the company and the public. Unlike other promotional initiatives, social media marketing is geared toward initiating a chain of public communication, such that customers spread product awareness through relaying the product through their social media accounts. There are a number of online social media outlets. One of the most popular is Facebook, the social networking organization. Every company should have a Facebook account, and an employee should be designated to monitor and update the account. It is especially useful because so many people have Facebook accounts; it is part of most people’s everyday routine, and a company stands a better chance of reaching potential clients through it than through more expensive advertising initiatives, such as print or television advertisements.
Facebook allows for interplay between the company and the client, as people are able to directly communicate to a degree that was impossible in old media. In a sense, this creates a greater degree of risk, since people are able to post negative comments or reviews without any filter, but if a company shown a real commitment to the public’s opinion, they are far less likely to engender negative comments and are generally able to spread good word of mouth concerning their product. If people see that a company has a large amount of Facebook “friends,” there is an increased likelihood that they will purchase a product.
Blogs are also a useful social media marketing procedure, although they require more work to maintain and a greater commitment on the part of the consumer. Unlike Facebook, blogs do not involve as much of a relationship between company and customer, and the onus is on the client to visit the blogs. However, blogs can be more beneficial than Facebook, particularly if the company knows that there is likely to be a devoted client base.
To this end, a niche product that is virtually guaranteed to be profitable would benefit from a blog since they could go into greater detail concerning the product and engender a sense of community among the customers. It may also be useful to write a guest post on a well-trafficked pre-existing blog, as this creates instant exposure to a vast array of potential customers. Also, while blog entries typically require more work than a Facebook update, an additional benefit to blogs is that they are not typically updated with the rapid frequency of other social media outlets. Twitter has rapidly become perhaps the most popular social media outlet for making money online. Companies are able to post quick, 140 character messages describing promotions or other product information. Because checking one’s Twitter account is less time-consuming than signing in to one’s Facebook account or reading a blog, it is easier for the company to quickly reach a large amount of people. Additionally, there is a greater word-ofmouth potential through Twitter than other social media, as people retweet other tweets.
Twitter also makes it quick and simple for companies to respond to tweets addressed to them. Also, Twitter, Facebook, and blogs should make sure that the company website is linked to through the account page. Other effective social media outlets involve pictures. While it is true that blogs, Facebook, and Twitter all enable a company to post pictures on the site, outlets such as Instagram are more exclusively picture-oriented and draw a clientele that is invested in visual advertising. Similar to Facebook and Twitter, it is also free, which constitutes an added benefit that is not always available in blogging. For video marketing, YouTube is also a popular outlet, although it can be more difficult to engage with the public than through Facebook or Twitter. In the end, it is most productive for a company to utilize a wide array of social media outlets, as many people have personal preferences concerning each of them.