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Thread: The Social Media Marketing Network

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    The Social Media Marketing Network

    Putting your social media marketing in overdrive...

    5 Advanced Social Media Marketing Strategies for Small Businesses
    Source: mashable.com

    Building a social community is easy, but how do you get people to actually engage? Here are 5 advanced strategies for taking your community to the next level.

    Tues at 18:45 · Comment · Like / Unlike · View feedback (6)Hide feedback (6) · Share

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    Site Caretaker Dave A's Avatar
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    All we need are the 5 advanced strategies, then
    The trouble with opportunity is it normally comes dressed up as work.

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    5 Advanced Social Media Marketing Strategies for Small Businesses

    September 30th, 2009 | by Samir Balwani

    Samir Balwani is an emerging technology strategist at Morpheus Media, a firm specializing in Social Marketing, SEM, and SEO. You can follow him on Twitter @samirbalwani and get his newsletter.

    Social media marketing and the businesses that utilize it have become more sophisticated. More small businesses are beginning to understand how to best leverage online tools to build a community and recognize that engagement and interaction are the foundations of social marketing, but most don’t know what’s next.

    What follows are five advanced strategies for small businesses that may already have small online communities and understand how to create an online presence, but don’t know what to do next.

    What Is An Advanced Strategy?

    The definition of an advanced social strategy is a technique that goes beyond the normal social media presence. It introduces or reinforces a marketing message while pushing a user to another profile or business site. Before moving forward with an advanced strategy, it’s important that your business understands social marketing, has experience engaging consumers, and that you possess a basic understanding of online marketing.

    Strategy 1: Multimedia Usage

    The term “A picture is worth a thousand words” has never been truer. Consumers are now using the web to look for product pictures and videos; they want more information and want to see what they’re considering buying. The good news is that it’s easy for a company to create and publish videos and pictures.

    In addition to taking photos of products, you can also take pictures at office events as a way to highlight company culture. This not only helps convince others to work with you or to buy from you (consumers see that you are down to earth and one of them, instead of a stuffy company), it also helps your HR department recruit new employees. Who doesn’t want to work for a company that celebrates birthdays and has a good time?

    Videos are useful for explaining complex how-tos or concepts. Showing step by step directions can have a greater impact than even the most well written article. Businesses don’t have to invest huge sums of money to create good videos, either. I highly recommend the relatively cheap Flip camcorder, which takes great videos and is easy for even a non-technical marketer to use.

    Multimedia can break down the faceless business-to-consumer sales flow and make your company appear friendlier. Use videos and images to show that your business is fun, you care about your employees, and most importantly, that you care about your customers.

    Example: WorldMusicSupply.com

    WorldMusicSupply.com, an online retailer of musical instruments and accessories, has used YouTubeYouTubeYouTube to build a strong online community. Their channel has built over 7,000 subscribers and has over 260,000 views.

    Strategy 2: Integrate Offline and Online Advertising

    Many small businesses do some sort of offline advertising, whether it be radio, print, or cable. Social marketing allows a business to extend their offline sales pitch.

    Including your Facebook Page or blog URL in offline ads act as social proof, inviting potential consumers to see your community and increase trust in your business. Not only can integrating online and offline advertising help the conversion process, but it can also help build your community. Introducing potential consumers to your social profiles means they may join your community now and buy later.

    Strategy 3: Message Adaptation

    As businesses start to become more sophisticated with social media they are starting to leverage more online platforms. However, most deliver the same message over multiple platforms instead of tailoring communications for each individual site.

    Social platforms each have an ecosystem of their own. What might be acceptable on Tumblr might be considered spam on Facebook. A specific style of writing might spread on Twitter but fail on FriendFeed. Understanding that each site is different and then customizing your message ensures they do well on each respective site.

    Not only does customizing messages across sites help the message spread but it keeps users from receiving multiple identical communications. Be sure to maximize your potential by sending a user that follows the business on Twitter and Facebook two different messages, instead of the same thing.

    Strategy 4: Local Social Networks, Beyond Yelp

    For a small business, local search can be a big win. Being visible to consumers looking for a business in their area is extremely important. Make sure your site is included in local business directories in order to help ensure that consumers find you when they need you. Sometimes finding that many sites can be difficult, however.

    First, make sure you check your competitors. Where are they listed? Check their inbound links to check for business directories you can add yourself to. Also, make sure your business has been added to Google MapsGoogle MapsGoogle Maps, using the Local Business Center.

    Take the time to include all the information you can and update any old news. For many consumers, this will be their first interaction with the business.

    Example: Bella Napoli in New York

    Bella Napoli is a small pizzeria in New York that has done a great job of making sure they appear in as many local searches as possible.

    Strategy 5: Contests and Discounts

    Building a community is only the first part of social marketing. Using that community to drive sales, propagate marketing, or crowdsource operations is the true power of social media. One way to excite the community is to collectively do something to create a contest or offer an exclusive discount (i.e., the contest can create competition between users). Not only does a contest build buzz organically but if contestants need to, for example, publish an article that gets the most comments in order to win, the contest itself becomes viral.

    A good social media contest should include some sort of sharing or virality as a requirement for winning.

    Discounts are also a great way to connect with your community. By giving exclusive coupons to your social community, you’re rewarding and reminding them that you are not only a brand to engage with, but also to buy from.

    Example: NetFirms.com

    NetFirms.com decided to make it easier to register a domain by allowing people to do it via Twitter. Those who participated or spread the word by tweeting, were also entered into a prize drawing.

    Conclusion

    Creating a basic social media presence is easy enough, getting your community to actually do something is more difficult. Taking advantage of these strategies can help you build your community, make your marketing more effective, and incentivize buying.

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    Platinum Member Marq's Avatar
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    My interpretation of the small business market in South Africa is that the majority do not have a clue as to what this article is about.

    While most may have heard of facebook, only a few have their names up there. Those that do have their names there, have their kids and family as friends and it goes no further than that. Twitter digg and the rest have never been heard of and certainly will not be seen as a methodology for business networking.

    I have not seen any value in these social media scenarios beyond the social world. Talking to friends and sharing common interests such as sports music and after hours activities seems to be a common thread. Business promotions and links to web sites seems to have a general failure rate.

    Personally I do not see a place for social media in the business world. Comments such as 'As businesses start to become more sophisticated with social media' just do not make sense to me. It may be able to help maintain brand presence through a mention every now and again but is no more effective than one in a group a friends suggesting that they go round to the local steakhouse for a meal. It would have happened anyway whether the group were physically together as in the 'old days' or bound through sms's, twitters and facebooks as is the case in todays world.

    I do not believe the community around me is hanging onto their computers waiting for some 'important' bloke to twitter a really good comment or a mate to give them the latest download of the best take away in town. The volume going through these programmes is so phenomenal that very little is actually going home. I certainly have no time for all these social pages for business activity, being too busy doing business. Have tried it a bit but have yet to achieve anything beside wasting time.

    The basics of any good internet marketing will include a video demonstration, linking website to other forms of media, adapting messages, operating locally and offering discounts and specials. Hardly rocket science, not new and being sold as the latest thoughts from an emerging technology strategist.
    The cost of living hasn't affected its popularity.
    Sponsored By: http://www.honeycombhouse.com

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    I do most of my networking and assisting of my clients on all of these and more social networks. AND THEY DO WORK!! I have well over 1000 people on each of the social networks which is more than the average SA database can offer me. Full contact details. I can send all messages, newsletters and advertising and it is not classified as spam. If the people don't know about these networks then we have discovered a money making situation. Guess what Marq, you have just proven the theory that there is no such thing as unemployment.

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    Platinum Member Marq's Avatar
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    When I think of social - I think friends and family and parties and braai stuff.

    I am not sure if it was on this forum that we discussed the subject of friends vs business environments and the definitions of a friend. I think it came up in a mlm discussion, many moons ago, where in mlm everyone in your world is a target subject for a sale or link or contact for a future hit. Friends and family dont stand a chance and are soon just a past name on a database. I am sure there are many mlm proponents who sit alone today wondering why their family is having a sunday roast and they have not been invited. They then wonder off to the latest 'networking' workshop to find similar souls who then assure each other that it was all worth it in the long run.

    Anyway if we refer to a database in a 'social networking environment', I think of friends that I can enjoy life with. I do not think of a list of potential suckers ...er...customers/clients. If you say you want to make friends with me - then be a friend and invite me to your next party or come around and have a beer with me, not a person who is going to send spam and send stuff to my email and phone telling me that I missing out on some wonderful new concept that I heard of ten years ago. If you want to do business then I will put you on my business contacts list and we can then talk business....we can also talk friend type stuff, of course, but at the end of that talk, I still know why we have a relationship.

    I guess its a question of definition - mine is friends to be social with and business potentials that I can be friendly with. I keep those separate, trying to understand the world we live in by not being dependent on the next person I meet for my future survival, if I am in friend share my life mode. If I in hunting and fishing for new blood mode to ensure my survival, then thats a different scenario.

    Perhaps I am old school - the new generation in an over populated world seeing all around them as their next victim and now misusing the term 'social'. In my 'old world' we used to go to 'socials' which was a fun party drinking fall down event. A social network for me is just an extension of that idea. A place to meet new friends. It seems though that the trend now is to go to the 'social' to pick up new victims. The majority are there on the social media for a party and to talk general life stuff to each other.....here circling on the outskirts is a bunch of 'networkers' ready to prey on the next person that comes into scope by clicking the button that says 'lets be friends'.
    The cost of living hasn't affected its popularity.
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    But...

    Online marketing is a wonderful tool when used properly, although social networking can be to over estimated in its ability to yield traffic to your website and of course if your website is designed properly conversion into sales. Although a well thought-out and publicized social networking campaign can be very beneficial most will not have the time or expertise to see any benefit.

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    Who are the first people you discuss your ideas with? Friends and family, of course. It doesn't matter what you want to call the networking. You have a potential business with every idea, you have a perfect business network when you convert your social network into business.

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    The best Devil's Advocate can be found on this forum. He brings out the best ideas and arguements that are found in the opposition.

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    Site Caretaker Dave A's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Marq View Post
    I am not sure if it was on this forum that we discussed the subject of friends vs business environments and the definitions of a friend.
    I remember this discussion on terminology when vBulletin introduced the social networking functionality - we never really resolved that one in the end

    And then there was a discussion on some aspects of common MLM practices, particularly the starting with family and friends part - but that's proving a little more elusive to find.

    My opinion is there's little doubt that "social networking" done wrong not only looks fugly, I suspect it's actually counter-productive.

    It really does comes down to intent and much as Marq suggests, appropriate behaviour for the environment you're in. Aggressive networking chasing sales in a social environment doesn't create a good impression. And even in a business environment, trying too hard doesn't look that slick either.

    You don't want to be a wallflower, but coming on like gangbusters pitching for the sale doesn't fly either. Can I suggest - just be yourself? And hopefully that's someone that's helpful and clearly the goto person to solve that particular little challenge you're dealing with.

    Obviously for this to work people need to know what business you're in, but you don't need flashing neon signs. Honey works.

    Just my opinion.
    Last edited by Dave A; 18-Nov-09 at 10:32 PM.
    The trouble with opportunity is it normally comes dressed up as work.

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