Recent studies indicate that social media marketing channels are growing in influence when it comes to the advertising and sales of products and services. A study conducted in 2012 by a reputable global survey company, for instance, found out that consumers all over the world spends at least twenty-two percent of their online time browsing social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter. Considering that the reach of social networking sites is global, it is indeed a potent channel for developing a market base, and should be considered by any company in formulating their marketing plan.
For the purpose of this discussion, let us define what is meant by social media marketing. This kind of marketing makes use of social media sites in promoting and selling a company’s products and services. The main process by which this is achieved is by gaining website traffic. What is the means for obtaining such traffic? The most common method is by creating content that will be of interest to users, such as in online forums and digital advertising. Such content should both be relevant and catchy enough so that its readers would want to share it through their accounts in the different social networks. The advantage of using this medium as a channel for sending across a corporate message that markets a product or services is that people who receive such messages are more likely to trust it easily that if the same message was sent through a paid campaign. This is so because the message would come to your target from a trusted, third party source.
Social media marketing, therefore, runs on an earned media rather than on a paid media, which all the more makes it so appealing for any company. You just have to take advantage of sites through which messages about your products or services can be channeled through to your intended audience. Different social media sites also have different impact on online audiences which can be attributed to their different features and services. It is crucial, therefore, to make an analysis of each site before deciding to use it in order to be able to formulate a plan that can deliver an optimal result.
The major sites that can be considered as a good platform for the execution of any social media marketing plan are as follows: Facebook, LinkedIn, MySpace, Twitter, and Digg. Among these sites, Facebook seems to enjoy the highest popularity among users, which makes the site a good platform for executing brand exposure. The advantage with Facebook is that people will trust your brand easily as long as you are connected to their friends. On the other hand, LinkedIn capitalizes on relationship building between individuals and companies and can be used for targeted branding strategy, since it focuses on building connections between individuals who share the same interests and who are in the same industry or profession. MySpace can also provide a marketing platform but it is quite specific for those who are in the entertainment industry. Twitter, on the other hand, is a microblogging platform that is getting more popular on mobile, so marketers can make use of the site for real time marketing initiatives. Digg is another social media site that thrives on users looking for a topic that is of interest to them at the moment. Marketers can take advantage of the site by looking for a topic that catches user’s interest at the moment, and then enter a niche marketing campaign that is related to that particular topic.
As can be seen from the discussion above, different social media sites have different features, but all of them can be used as an effective online marketing tool. The method has just to be formulated in accordance with their features so as to produce optimal results.