The hottest way to market your company currently is through social media marketing. But is social media marketing doomed? According to many recent news reports, yes. So should you just abandon this marketing avenue altogether or keep up your current plan?
One of the biggest misconceptions regarding social media marketing is that it’s point-and-shoot. It’s best to think of marketing with social media like you would direct mail postcards: you can’t just throw a bunch of postcards in the mail to random addresses and expect a high return on investment.
You have to create a fine-tuned message for a specific target audience. The same theory goes for social media marketing: you cannot simply buy some ads or set up a social media page and expect the revenues to flow. Each site has its own function in the lives of consumers. The key is to use each site appropriately and build relationships.
Here are some of the most common doomsday predictions for social media, along with ways to make sure that your own marketing efforts through social media are not a waste of time:
Currently, Facebook is the hub for users of all age groups to connect with both each other and with businesses through fan pages. It has been projected that, like social media sites such as Myspace and Xanga, it will become obsolete by at least the year 2020. The reason for this? Facebook has yet to fully adapt their site to an easy-to-navigate system for mobile phone users. Because of the rise of the smart phones, this is a major flaw. However, Facebook is supposedly looking into buying out the browser firm called Opera. If they do this and can come up with a way to keep themselves relevant, then Facebook will not soon be smudged out.
To market successfully on Facebook, you have to recognize that Facebook is about friends and family connecting and staying in touch. It’s a relational site. Users won’t respond to ads and flagrant marketing attempts in this environment nearly as well. Focus on relationship building, making them smile, and keep posts relevant to them – not all about you.
In a recent article on CNN tech, sources say that although Twitter is keeping in the news because of celebrities and chats with the President, its actual productivity and usership is lagging. More users are using Twitter in combination with other social media sites like Facebook, rather than on its own – if they use it at all. Additionally, though individual tweets are keeping the numbers up, the range of users that daily check their tweet feed are down. Though this is true, the fact that the news is keeping it in mind and that individual tweet rates are still up keep Twitter a viable social media marketing site.
Twitter is all about short, quick bits of information. Don’t expect users to read a lot unless you really grab their attention with a well-crafted tweet that links to content. The easiest way to expand your follower-base is to follow consumer leaders in your marketplace – those who are strong brand advocates for you. You can also use hashtags, but make sure the hashtags you use are relevant. Avoid hijacking news or other conversations that are not relevant.
In an article by Forbes.com, though Google+ is an excellent site as far as general usability goes, it is going to die out soon. The simple reason for this is that although users joined in droves in the beginning, there was not enough on the site for them to continue to traffic it. It achieves the goals of connecting people in a clean and professional way, but it fails because, though they are connected, they won’t spend enough time on the site to make much good of that connection. Google+ will likely just be a great way for businesses to connect employees and customers, but not so much for pure socialization.
Similar to Facebook, Google+ is all about relationships. Don’t expect to be able to advertise blatantly and keep people in your circles. If your content is not relevant to the people in your circles, it’s going to be ignored. Use Google+ and Facebook to create conversations and join in, not to advertise.
Social Media Marketing Today
So what should companies do when planning a social media marketing campaign? Spread yourself out. It doesn’t take much time or energy to create a profile on any one of those social media sites. Join multiple sites. This way you are sure to keep customer attention even if one of your social media platforms is doomed to die in the fast-paced race toward relevant technology.
Then engage based upon the nature of the social media site. Make the experience about a conversation you have with customers and extend their experience with your brand beyond the sale of a good or service. You will gain exposure and create positive experiences that help prospects and customers associate positive emotions with your company.
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