Social Media Marketing Guide

Last week we dealt with SEO and how to make your SEO specialist's life a little easier. We gave you a little list of do's and don'ts to keep in mind when asking someone to create your site. we also tried to explain a little about what SEO is and why you should be considering SEO. Didn't read the article? Here's a link.

If you're confused by the title of this piece, where have you been? Social media is the single most important internet marketing tool you could use and the possibilities are endless. So are the social media that are available to you. Some, like de.li.cious, aren't used that much anymore while others, like Facebook, are some of the most popular in the world. All you have to do is figure out how to make sure that they work for you. The great thing about a well thought out Social Media Marketing (SMM) strategy is that it requires almost no money investment. SMM does require you to invest time and there are steps that you have to take to make sure that your time is invested wisely.

Step One:
Analyse your online presence. This sounds easier than it actually is. To analyse your online presence you need to:
Measure the amount of visitors you get to your site (if you have a site).
Figure out how often you add new content.
How you're doing on your social network profiles (once again, if you have any). If you do, you need to decide if you want to optimise. If
you don't, get some.
Step one basically boils down to how active you are on the internet, how often you interact with your readers, users, etc.

Step two:
Learn about your target audience. Do the research on the boring things like demographics and interests. It will do you good to find out about things like who your audience is, how old they are and where they live. What are they interested in, where do they go, what do they do in their spare time? These are all things that you need to know in order to build an effective marketing strategy.

Step three:
What do you want your SMM to do for you? What goals have you set for your SMM? How long should it take for your goals to be reached? These are all questions you should ask yourself before you start. You need to set measurable and attainable goals. You're not going to get a million followers in a week so don't even think that it is a reasonable goal.

Step four:
Once you've figured out these three steps, it's on to the next step, which social media do I choose? You have many options, some of the most popular include Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google Plus.

Facebook is the best known of the four major social media. To date it has 800 million active users, 50% of which log in on any given day. It is still the most popular and most widely used social platform in the world and you should use it. Imagine the power 800 million people have to grow your brand...

Twitter is quite possibly one of the most innovative social media out there. Tweets are recorded in real time and are actually picked up by search engines. News agencies around the world use Twitter as a way to communicate breaking news. Imagine this: Osama bin Laden is killed in his compound. Through normal news channels this story would have taken at least a few days to travel the world. With Twitter, Americans were celebrating in the streets within hours of someone ‘tweeting' the news. And with 175 million registered users, your brand identity could also have that global reach.

LinkedIn profiles allow business people to connect with other business people. Researchers can share information with one another and market research becomes that much easier. LinkedIn is a social medium designed to connect professionals with other professionals. By getting in touch with people in your field or directly with people who need what you sell, you can help your business take off. To date, LinkedIn has over 70 million members and you should be one of them.

Lastly, Google Plus is Google's answer to all of the above. Since its launch in June this year, this new kid on the block has already got 20 million users. With ways to integrate your personal page and circles onto a business page, you can get the best of all worlds. Plus works using the best of the major social media out there. It has real time feeds like Twitter, friendship groups and status updates like Facebook, Skype capabilities and YouTube-like video sharing. Plus provides the perfect opportunity to get in on a social network from the ground up.

Other platforms available to you are blogs, YouTube, Skype (which allows you to speak to your customers face to face) and RSS feeds (that help your users keep up with what you are saying, updating, tweeting or plussing). Whichever social media you choose is up to you. You just have to find one that works the best for your company. And you can always call on the professional and friendly SMM experts at Jasper Consultants if you get stuck.

Next week we'll be talking about content marketing and how to go about creating good, relevant and useful content so join us then.