As the use of social media marketing spreads out, more companies are starting to exploit it. A number of businesses are currently starting to recognize the leverage of online tools in setting up a community wherein their potential clients can mingle – the crucial groundwork of social media marketing. On the other hand, the current query amongst these businesses is “what must we do now?”For companies that may have already created online communities and possess a certain familiarity on how to make an online presence, the next step to be done would be to use social media marketing advanced tactics.These social media marketing advanced tactics are strategies that go beyond the standard social media presence. Prior to carrying on with the utilization of advanced tactics, you have to make sure that your business has already understood the basic ideas about social marketing, has crucial comprehension on online marketing, and has a familiarity with drawing the attention of prospects. Once you have fulfilled all of these conditions, you may now use all or any of the following social media marketing advanced tactics:1. Take Advantage of MultimediaMultimedia is an efficient strategy to capture the attention of prospects because of the fact that the web is broadly utilized by people nowadays in looking for photos or videos of products that they would like to purchase. What’s good about this strategy is that it is not difficult to carry out, and has been proven to be competent, among other social media marketing advanced tactics.Show images of your goods, as well as your workers. By doing so, you may gain your customers’ trust and provide them the assurance that they can avail of your products safely. Video clips are very much effective as well, seeing that they could make your prospective customers feel important, and you can even make use of videos to construct powerful online communities in social networking sites. Furthermore, videos also let consumers have a comprehensive knowledge of the concepts in relation to your products – superior to any well-written piece of writing.2. Mix Online and Offline MarketingWhile many users utilize the web, there are still a few who depend on offline advertisements to learn more about products. By merging online and offline advertising, you could reach more prospective customers.You may do this by putting your site or online community’s URL on your flyers, posters, and other offline advertising means. With this tactic, you can cause your community to grow, and even earn the trust of more prospective customers.3. Personalization of Messages on Social Networking WebsitesSocial networking websites let you achieve a certain kind of bond with your potential clients, but it’s quite repugnant if the updates you post are the same for EACH social networking site. The fact is that prospects would not like reading posts that apparently appear to be programmed. So whenever you update your Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, or any alike social networking site, remember to customize your messages, and make it sound like you’re directly speaking to your followers. Also make sure that the message you post on one social media website doesn’t relay the exact similar message as what you posted on another.4. Directories and ListingsThis is probably among the primary social media marketing advanced tactics considering that it is normally the technique that can earn you a lot of customers. It is important that you post your company on online directories so that prospects can discover it without much trouble. Furthermore, if you have an outlet or place they can go to, don’t forget to add it to online maps such as Google’s and Yahoo’s.5. Promos and ContestsSocial media marketing doesn’t stop at making your online community develop. A strong connection with your clients is an important step in making your community grow. A great technique to reinforce the connection between your business and clients is to hold contests. Doing so will make you get AND keep your prospects’ interest by connecting them through enjoyable activities. Discounts and promos solely given to them is also an effective technique to make them believe that being a member of your community is worth it. This social media marketing advanced tactic is certain to turn prospects into actual buyers.Social media marketing is more than building a presence for your business. It involves making your online community grow and be productive. The said social media marketing advanced tactics will surely help you make your marketing more successful and your sales develop.For more information regarding advanced social media marketing tactics, please refer to my author bio below.
Social Media Marketing seems to be the latest buzz word for anyone looking to increase their online presence and sales, but is Social Media Marketing (SMM) all it is cracked up to be?S.M.M companies are now springing up all over the place these days and they are telling anyone that will listen about how incredibly important social media like Facebook twitter and YouTube are to your business but, for the average small to medium sized business, does marketing to social networks really live up to all the hype? Is spending a small fortune on hiring a SMM company really worth it? And has anyone really done their research on this before they hired someone to set up there Facebook business page? Some SMM companies are setting up things like Facebook business pages (which are free) for $600 to $1,000 or more and telling their clients that they don’t need a website because Facebook is the biggest social network in the world and everybody has a Facebook account. Now while it may be true that Facebook is the largest social network in the world and yes, Facebook’s members are potential consumers, the real question is are they actually buying? Social media marketing companies are all too happy to point out the positives of social media like how many people use Facebook or how many tweets were sent out last year and how many people watch YouTube videos etc. but are you getting the full picture? I once sat next to a SMM “expert” at a business seminar who was spruiking to anyone who came within earshot about the amazing benefits of setting up a Facebook business page for small business (with him of course) and selling on Facebook. So, intrigued by the aforementioned “experts” advice I looked him up on Facebook only to find he had only 11 Facebook friends (not a good start). So being the research nut that I am, I decided to take a good look into SMM in regard to selling to see if it actually worked, who did it work for and if it did why did Social Media Marketing work for them? And should business rely so heavily on social networks for sales?As a web developer I was constantly (and now increasingly) confronted with several social networking challenges when potential clients would say that having a website sounds good but they had a Facebook business page and had been told by various sources (the ever present yet anonymous “they”) that social networks were the thing to do, but after discussing their needs it became quite clear that those potential clients didn’t actually know why they needed social networks or SMM to generate online sales, They just wanted it. For small and medium sized business I always recommended building a quality website over any type of social network, why? Well it’s simple really because social media is Social Media, and social Networks are Social Networks they are not business media and business networks (that would be more like LinkedIn). I know that sounds simple but it’s true and the statistics back it up. The fact is that social media marketing fails to tell you that Facebook is a social network not a search engine and despite the number of Facebook users and Google users being around the same, people don’t use Facebook in the same way that they use a search engine like Google (which has around half the search engine market), Yahoo and Bing to search for business or products. They use it to keep in touch with family and friends or for news and entertainment. In a recent study done by the IBM Institute for Business Value around 55% of all social media users stated that they do not engage with brands over social media at all and only around 23% actually purposefully use social media to interact with brands. Now out of all the people who do use social media and who do interact with brands whether purposefully or not, the majority (66%) say they need to feel a company is communicating honestly before they will interact.So how do you use social media marketing? And is it even worth doing?Well first of all I would say that having a well optimized website is still going to bring you far more business that social media in most cases especially if you are a small to medium sized local business because far more people are going to type in “hairdresser Port Macquarie” into a search engine like Google, Yahoo and Bing than they ever will on any Social Media Site and if you don’t have a website you’re missing out on all of that potential business. However despite all the (not so good) statistics I still think it is still a good idea for business to use social media just not in the same way that a lot of SMM professionals are today, Why? Because it’s clearly not working in the way they claim it does. Basically SMM Companies and Business as a whole looked at social networks like Facebook as a fresh market ripe for the picking and when Facebook started getting users measured by the millions PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel invested US$500,000 for 7% of the company (in June 2004) and since them a few venture capital firms have made investments into Facebook and in October 2007, Microsoft announced that it had purchased a 1.6% share of Facebook for $240 million. However since Facebook’s humble beginnings up until now (2012) both SMM Companies and Business have failed to truly capitalise on the huge number of Facebook users online. The truth is numbers does not equal buyers. Is it in a Social Media Marketing company’s best interest to talk social networks up? Absolutely. Is it in a Social Network like Facebook’s best interests for people to believe that companies can sell en masse by advertising and marketing with them? Of course it is. In early 2012, Facebook disclosed that its profits had jumped 65% to $1 billion in the previous year as its revenue which is mainly from advertising had jumped almost 90% to $3.71 billion so clearly the concept of SMM is working out for them but it is working out for you? Well… statistically no, but that does not necessarily mean that it never will.I believe the major difference between social networks and search engines is intent. People who use Google are deliberately searching for something so if they do a search for hairdressers that’s what they are looking for at that particular time. With something like Facebook the primary intent is usually to connect with friends and family. In October 2008, Mark Zuckerberg himself said “I don’t think social networks can be monetized in the same way that search (Search Engines) did… In three years from now we have to figure out what the optimum model is. But that is not our primary focus today”. One of the biggest problems business face with social networks and SMM is perception. According to the IBM Institute for Business Value study there were “significant gaps between what businesses think consumers care about and what consumers say they want from their social media interactions with companies.” For example in today’s society people are not just going to hand you over there recommendations, Facebook likes, comments or details without getting something back for it, so the old adage “what’s in it for me?” comes into play. So the primary reason most people give for interacting with brands or business on social media is to receive discounts, yet the brands and business themselves think the main reason people interact with them on social media is to learn about new products. For brands and business receiving discounts only ranks 12th on their list of reasons why people interact with them. Most businesses believe social media will increase advocacy, but only 38 % of consumers agree.Companies need to find more innovative ways to connect with social media if they want to see some sort of result from it. There were some good initiatives shown in the IBM study of companies that had gotten some sort of a handle on how to use social media to their advantage, keeping in mind that when asked what they do when they interact with businesses or brands via social media, consumers list “getting discounts or coupons” and “purchasing products and services” as the top two activities, respectively a U.S ice cream company called Cold Stone Creamery offered discounts on their products on their Facebook page. Alternatively there is a great program launched by Best Buys in the U.S called Twelpforce where employees can respond to customer’s questions via Twitter. With both Cold Stone Creamery and Twelpforce the benefit is clearly in the favour of the potential customer & the great trick to social media marketing is to sell without trying to sell (or looking like your selling) unfortunately most social media marketing is focused the wrong way.Building a tangible buyer to consumer relationship via social media is not easy and probably the most benefit to business’ using social media to boost their websites Google rankings. But business’ need to understand that you can’t just setup a Facebook business page and hope for the best. SMM requires effort and potential customers need to see value in what you have to offer via your social media efforts give them something worth their social interaction and time and then you may get better results.Now just as a footnote Facebook shares have dropped to under $20 per share, that’s half their original price… and the lawsuits are flying