It is impossible to ignore the power of social media for branding. Every day it is integrated more and more into the marketing of businesses – both small and large. Even brick-and-mortar businesses can take advantage of this by focusing on a specific region. However don’t bother if you will just “join,” you need to be active in order to see the results. Building relationships and trust takes time. Here are 7 types of social media you should take advantage of every day.
Besides the obvious personal benefits of using websites like Facebook and Myspace, there are many advantages to using these networks for your business. According to Michael Greene, research analyst at JupiterResearch, social networks such as Facebook and MySpace can be powerful marketing platforms. “MySpace has already become a must-use platform for entertainment marketers looking to connect with young and highly engaged audiences,” he said. “And Facebook offers an array of options for marketers through its ‘Pages’ function and its applications platform.” Facebook and Myspace are soon becoming the most prominent means of sharing information. As of July 2009, both sites were reaching over 180 million unique visitors on a monthly basis and are continuing on an upward trend. Businesses can promote through these sites’ forums, blogs, fan pages, groups, events, bulletin boards, and other features.
LinkedIn is the most prominent professional networking site. You can increase your credibility by creating a professional profile that serves the purpose of a resume, having lots of connections, and answering many questions in forums related to your business. Moreover, other professionals can recommend you and introduce you to new contacts. There are many groups specific to your business that you can join and post interesting discussions in. Also, chances are if people like what they are hearing from you, they want to learn more about you and your business.
It is best to integrate a blog into your own website, however, if that isn’t an option there are many websites like WordPress and Blogspot that offer free hosting. Be sure to consistently provide fresh and relative posts. Blogging can increase search engine optimization and boost your traffic. Providing an interesting read for your users can leave a positive experience with the main brand you are marketing.
Microblogging sites like Twitter have gained an incredible amount of traction. Twitter allows users to send out real-time updates to its followers and is great for getting opinions. Also, there is no limit to the number of followers you can have. You first need to have an aesthetically appealing page, preferably custom and have a picture attached to it. Tweet about the human side of your company instead of constant company updates. Keep your followers interested and engaged in your brand and routinely tweet (at least once a day). Likewise, multiple businesses have spawned off from the Twitter idea, allowing users to log in to niche chat rooms and network with like-minded people. Twitter can even provide for internal communication within a business. You can do so by protecting updates by limiting them to certain personnel. Using search tools you can keep track of what is being said about your company or even the industry as a whole. Here are a couple of resources to help your company get familiar with how other businesses do this:
There are many social bookmarking sites out there but the most prominent are Digg, Reddit, StumbleUpon, Delicious, and Technorati. People come to these sites in search of interesting reads/websites. If you post something with a catchy or interesting title and the content lives up to the hype, this can gain momentum on these sites which boost your rankings on the site and add more visibility to your posts. Additionally, sometimes posts that make the front page of these sites can see a surge of 30,000 unique visitors in a given day. See the Digg Effect.
Discussion forums are integrated into many websites. This was one of the first forms of social media and still continues to remain an effective social media for branding. If you take time and respond to people and post interesting topics for discussion, it could bring a significant amount of traffic to your website. This is focused marketing because you are engaging people that already have an interest in what you are essentially selling. Craigslist has a forum that can be filtered by city and topic and has a very large viewership base of over 50 million unique visitors monthly.
YouTube is the most effective form of video marketing. You can create a channel and post videos that get people interested in your brand. In those videos, you can put a link to your site. So, if you can create some videos that have the ‘virability factor’, there is a great chance they can get shared across the net. Think outside the box and you will be handsomely rewarded.
Don’t get overwhelmed, shaping a brand isn’t an overnight process. Spend a portion of your day focusing on social media for branding. And in no time, you will see a noticeable difference in traffic.
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