Facebook recently surpassed tech giants like Google and Microsoft in customer engagement, the statement not only elicits awe but is also enough to prove the growing clout of social network marketing. If industry reports are to be believed, there are more social networking accounts today than the total number of people in the world, with 4.5 billion active accounts. People are yearning to be a part of the social networking phenomenon; this has led to the unprecedented dominance of social network marketing in the advertising world which is forever on the lookout for new mediums to get advertorial messages across.
A recent market study revealed that marketing spending on social networking sites has ballooned to several billon dollars with Facebook taking the largest share of the pie with anticipated revenues of $3.8 billion in 2011 and $150 million for Twitter. These figures should be enough to elucidate to the budding entrepreneur why he needs to use social media to gain an edge over his competition. The best part of social media marketing is that it offers an incredible opportunity to build rapport where the marketer is no longer associated with pesky commercial breaks but is an active engager in the relationship. If you are interested in making social media sites work for you, here are some simple yet remarkably efficacious strategies
Ask for feedback from clients
While you will need a strong stomach to digest some of the unsavory comments, you would be surprised at the sheer popularity of the technique; after all, everybody enjoys offering their two words of advice. You do not have to choose something overtly controversial or an aspect of your business which is bound to result in a backlash.
From a corporate point of the view, the safest bet would be to ask your consumers about what they would like to see added to your product line or you could even ask for ideas for a promotional campaign. This should certainly get you scores of responses and while implementing the most popular ideas, you will know that your audience will certainly appreciate them.
Create a snazzy video
A video can not only inform but also entertain; in fact, offering your followers a video that is catchy and points to your product or the values of your company or can in some way be associated with your establishment is the fastest way to garner their attention. Contrary to popular belief, it does not take a lot to create a video; a simple video camera with the most basic functions should do, you also do not need an Oscar winning directorial venture to ensure the popularity of your video.
Any useful information about your product that is not a blatant marketing ploy will find favor with your consumers. For instance, if you sell fire extinguishers, a video on how to use one, or a clip that shows how to spot potential fire hazards around the home or even a hilarious take on fire and its damages will certainly be appreciated.
Host a contest
This is a tried and tested technique that always yields rave results. Many companies and even individuals have used this approach to exponentially increase their fan following on social media sites. Ideally, like all other marketing measures for social media, your contests should also reflect on your business or product in some way, try to get as creative as you can. For instance, a site that offer cameras and photography related services can start a contest where the participants have to send in a funny picture with a caption. Since it’s a contest, you will need to offer a prize to make things interesting, in the photograph contest, the prize for the most hilarious contribution can be 3 months of free film development services or a camera etc.
Use a social cause to your benefit
Using a social cause is another fantastic way to show your followers that you care while putting your business in the spotlight. Many corporate houses have recently started ‘donate for Japan’ campaigns; they are encouraging their followers to send in donations to sites that can ensure that their contributions find their way to the people of the tsunami ravaged country. However, you do not have to necessarily wait for a catastrophe; any social cause that shares some common ground with your business venture will work wonders. For instance, a site that offers toys and kiddie supplies can encourage donations to a foundation that helps children from poor households etc.
Offer something free
This is the oldest trick in the book albeit one that can still yields fabulous results. Offering free widgets, content, applications, etc can greatly accentuate your fan following a social networking site. For instance, if you offer internet marketing products on your site, the lure of a free auto responder or even an e-book on the niche will often prove irrepressible to most of your followers.
With free promotion on a social media site, it is imperative to remember that everything you do and every word of content that you put out should communicate your brand to your followers. So, ensure that your messages and profile page are optimized for niche specific keywords and reflects positively on your venture without being blatant advertisements.