A business owner can Google 'Use Social Media' and may be amazed at the number of results that are returned. It will be somewhere in the neighborhood of 223 million web pages that talk about Social Media. How are you not to get confused?
The information you read will inspire you - because Social Media is an exciting new way to market a business. It will enlighten you - because there is a great deal of good information. And it is sure to confuse you - big time. That is because there is so much material and it is not very organized for productivity; in other words it is mostly scattered information that is hard to put into a workable plan for the inexperienced social media marketer.
Social Media is not about posting information - whether it be in the form of written content, audio, or video - and then sitting back and waiting for something to happen. Even if you put a lot of time, effort, and expense in developing the content - it won't be enough to post it and forget it. Social Media Marketing is an important component. It is the promoting of this great content you are sharing.
Being interactive, encouraging engagement, and helping in the form of giving solutions, solving problems, or answering questions, is what creates the buzz around your company, your product, and your service. This is what social media marketing is all about, and it can be very powerful.
Asking your prospects and customers to participate in the conversation that takes place in your brand's social media space, and inviting them to contribute to the content you provide, will build interest and have people talking about you. Being active yourself in responding to what is being said, and also seeking out ways you can help, will make a difference.
Part of social media marketing is searching for conversations and then participating in a helpful way, not a 'selling' way. This builds a reputation of integrity and value. The key to social media is the spread of your information, by the people who like it enough to want to share it with someone. This is how word is spread online in social networking sites. It is important because, now more than ever before, people like to buy from people they know, like, and trust.
Social media has opened up a whole new world to the consumer. They can talk directly with the brand now. They feel more important to the brand and they want more information than ever before, including personal referrals for the brand. So they want to hear what others have to say, and the way a brand makes a positive impact on the people that will refer them is to engage with them online. The opportunity to develop content, for little or no cost, that is delivered very publicly on the internet is quite beneficial to the company if done with the primary benefit of the consumer in mind.
Investment in social media is more in terms of time than money. There is money to be spent in online advertising for sure, but right now many social sites have little or no cost. The investment is more in terms of time for the business owner who is tackling the project alone, and money if you have to outsource the work that is time consuming. Some brands choose to invest in a social media plan and have a current employee do the work. Others with a larger budget may hire a social media consultant or outsource the work to a reputable service.
The takeaway is that Social Media is not only about Twitter, Facebook, Youtube, or any of the social websites, even though they are part of the story. It is about providing content that will attract and benefit people, and then the engaging you do with people to build loyalty and trust. A business should realize that authenticity is important because what you say as you represent your brand is turning out to be much more important than how polished and attractive your content looks. Providing value is what will benefit your business because this creates the buzz around your company that people want to pass along.