Social media. Some people think that social media is just Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn. But these are your archetypal social media sites. These...

Social media. Some people think that social media is just Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn. But these are your archetypal social media sites. These are what most people commonly link to the word “social networking.”

But what is social media? Social media is the umbrella term for web-based software and services that allow users to come together online and exchange, discuss, communicate and participate in any form of social interaction.

Why should marketers use social media?

  1. Social media is naturally compelling

Because of the World Wide Web, people are attracted to social media.

  1. It raises your profile

Engaging in social media makes you look reactive. It helps build a reputation that you are a helpful player in your field.

  1. It keeps you informed

In social media, you get to know what’s hot and what’s not. You can get invaluable insight from your customers and what they think about brands and products connected to what you sell. In this way you can immediately know how you will target your customers – you will know what works for them and what doesn’t.

  1. It levels the playing field

Since hiring market research surveys and other offline methods gauging consumer attitudes are expensive, through social media, any company or organization can know what consumers are talking about with little to no financial outlay.

  1. You can influence the influencers

Some marketers to this day still doubt the effectiveness of marketing with influencers, but these people who are often few, have a wide reach. When you influence the influencer, they will do your work for you.

  1. It nurtures you brand advocacy

When you positively engage in people who have good thoughts about your brand, you can foster brand evangelists that will campaign your company or organization through social media.

  1. Viral propagation

One of the most powerful aspects of social media is viral propagation. What is viral propagation? It’s basically “word-of-mouth” but online. By creating content as powerful and relatable, people will pass it on and on – and you’re everywhere in a good way.

  1. The wisdom of the crowd

The online community is so big and powerful that you can harness answers to the most difficult questions your company encounters through their input. Not only is this style affordable, it is also very effective.

Now that we know why we as marketers should try social media, let’s delve into the different forms of social media, and know what works best for our company.

  1. Social bookmarking

Social bookmarking allows users to “save” bookmarks to their favorite web resources.

What’s in it for you? For marketers, this will amplify your exposure and traffic. Creating compelling and useful content and making it easy for users to bookmark your page, you can get the social element of these sites. This will improve your reach and get valuable traffic in return. By having saved bookmarks, this can also increase your relevancy and authority.

  1. Social media submission sites

Social media submission sites are sites for discussion of articles about online marketing and users submit articles, videos and podcasts that they think would contribute to the online community.

What’s in it for you? It’s your way to find out what consumers are interested in. Because users, who are your prospective consumers, submit content they like – in this way you can look at the content that’s mostly floating to the top. How can you use this content to create your own content and make it as compelling?

  1. Forums and discussion sites

Forums and discussion sites are where we get insights about any topic imaginable.

What’s in it for you? It makes you get closer to your consumers by knowing what they are talking about. Find out what makes them tick, in this way you can be more prepared to engage with them.

You can also take this opportunity to answer queries, share what you know and provide expert takes on a certain topic – this will raise your profile and build trust among the users in the community.

  1. Media sharing sites

Media sharing sites are very popular. They allow users to upload, share, comment and discuss their photographs and videos.

What’s in it for you? This is a ready-made vehicle for content distribution. These sites are an ideal vehicle for digital marketing distribution. Create the right content, use the best keywords and you may get viral.

  1. Reviews and ratings sites

Reviews and ratings sites allow users to rate and create reviews for certain services they have encountered. In this way users can gauge the pros and cons of whether or not they should go try service and go to this place.

What’s in it for you? You as a marketer can get insight of what’s good and what’s bad. For example, if you work on a hotel, you can see what people’s complaints are and what they appreciate then apply the knowledge you’ve gathered to your company.

  1. Social network sites

Social network sites are the most common type of social media. It is where you can connect to the people around you.

What’s in it for you? Since social network sites are popular to millions of users worldwide, you can use this platform to create more online exposure of your company. You can also nurture social evangelists – since people love to share what they can relate to, you can use this to generate more social evangelists to advocate for your brand.

  1. Blogs

Blogs are personal websites where the blogger expresses his/her thoughts or emotions through blog articles. The blogosphere is the collective name for the blogging community. In the blogosphere, if something is worth talking about, it is commented and propagated.

What’s in it for you? It is for consumer engagement. Use your corporate blog to show your consumers a personal side of your company. It is a way to give support to your consumers by giving them valuable information and answering their questions. It is a way to show them how good of a company you are by making sure they have a great experience.

  1. Podcasts

A podcast is a series of multimedia files distributed over the internet.

What’s in it for you?  Leading podcasters who are also social media influencers will probably talk mostly of the things that are relevant and connected to your business and to you. You can connect to your business your understanding of the online community.

  1. Micro-blogging

Micro blogging is the mini version of blogging. In here share your thoughts and give updates and you’re to use less than 160 characters.

What’s in it for you? Micro blogging gives you access to high profile thought leaders in the industry. Here you can see the snippets of their activities and try to apply the best techniques to your very own business.

  1. Wikis

Wikis are online collections of web pages that are open for anyone. To create, edit, discuss or comment on anything under the sun.

What’s in it for you? You can build a strong community of advocates around your brand. It can be a great way to produce beneficial interaction and collaboration between people in and out of your organization.

Social media is nothing new. It is a powerful tool that could lift your business higher, or lower, depending on how you make use of it. Make sure you use this guide to be backed with knowledge before delving into the social media world.

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