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The fascinating world of social media has over a billion people. Smart business people consider such huge numbers as an excellent marketing opportunity that reaches more than enough people in your area. Social Media Marketing is the new way of increasing sales and growing your business, in fact, some companies are entirely online.

Social media marketing, or SMM, is a form of internet marketing that implements various social media networks in order to achieve marketing communication and branding goals. Social media marketing primarily covers activities involving social sharing of content, videos, and images for marketing purposes.

Sourced from:http://www.wordstream.com/social-media-marketing

SMM mainly involves sharing content, videos, and images for marketing purposes. The following platforms are some of the favorites for most marketers;

1.Facebook

Facebook’s casual, friendly environment requires an active social media marketing strategy that begins with creating a Facebook Business Fan Page. You will want to pay careful attention to layout, as the visual component is a crucial aspect of the Facebook experience. Social media marketing for business pages revolves around furthering your conversation with audiences by posting industry-related articles, images, videos, etc. Facebook is a place people go to relax and chat with friends, so keep your tone light and friendly.

2.Google+

Google+ is the new Facebook competitor, and it promotes the same fun, casual atmosphere. On Google+, you can upload and share photos, videos, links, and view all your +1s. Also, take advantage of Google+ circles, which allow you to segment your followers into smaller groups, enabling you to share information with some followers while barring others. For example, you might try creating a “super-fan” circle, and share special discounts and exclusive offers only with that group.

You can also try hosting video conferences with Hangouts and experiment using the Hangout feature in some fun, creative ways. Some social media marketing ideas: if you are a salon, host a how-to session on how to braid your hair. If you own a local bookstore, try offering author video chats. If you are feeling adventurous, invite your +1s to your Google+ Community. Google+ Communities will allow you to listen to your fan’s feedback and input, truly putting the social back into social media.

3.Pinterest

Pinterest is the latest in social media marketing trends. Pinterest’s image-centered platform is ideal for retail, but anyone can benefit from using Pinterest for social media purposes.
Pinterest allows small businesses to showcase their own product offerings while also developing their own brand’s personality with some unique pinboards.

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4.Twitter

Twitter is the social media marketing tool that lets you broadcast your updates across the web. Follow tweeters in your industry or related fields, and you should gain a steady stream of followers in return.

Mix up your official-related tweets about specials, discounts, and news updates with some fun and quirky tweets interspersed. Be sure to retweet when a customer has something nice to say about you and do not forget answer people’s questions when possible. Using Twitter as a social media marketing tool revolves around dialog and communication, so be sure to interact as much as possible.

5.LinkedIn

LinkedIn is one of the more professional social media marketing sites. LinkedIn Groups is a great venue for entering into a professional dialog with people in similar industries and provides a place to share content with like-minded individuals.
Encourage customers or clients to give your business a recommendation on your LinkedIn profile. Recommendations make your business appear more credible and reliable for new clients.

6.YouTube

YouTube is the number one place for creating video content, with can be an incredibly powerful social media marketing tool. Many businesses try to create video content with the aim of having their video “go viral,” but in reality, those chances are pretty slim. Instead, focus on creating useful, instructive “how-to” videos. These how-to videos also have the added benefit of ranking on the video search results of Google, so do not under-estimate the power of video content!

7.Location-Based Social Media Tools

Social media platforms like Yelp, Foursquare, and Level Up are great for brick and mortar businesses looking to implement marketing social media. Register on these sites to claim your location spot, and then consider extra incentives such as check-in rewards or special discounts. Remember, these visitors will have their phones in hand so they will have access to providing reviews, which could hurt or significantly aid your users.

8.Reddit

Reddit, or similar social media platforms such as Stumble Upon or Digg, are ideal for sharing compelling content. With over 2 billion page views a month, Reddit has incredible social media marketing potential, but marketers should be warned that only truly unique, interesting content would be welcomed. Posting on Reddit is playing with fire—submit spammy or overly sales-focused content and your business could get berated by this extremely tech-savvy community.
If you have content you believe the Reddit community (majority is young, geeky, liberal, and internet-obsessed) would enjoy, you could reap tremendous benefits and earn valuable traffic.

Sourced from: http://www.wordstream.com/social-media-marketing

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Social media platforms provide a vast number of opportunities for marketing depending on your target market. Luckily, every possible target market can be found in many of the existing social media platforms.

The internet has transformed business marketing. No matter what you do, the internet is likely to be at the heart of your marketing strategy.

There has, of course, been a rapid rise in the number of e-commerce enterprises selling goods online. Some operate solely in the online sphere. Many others are bricks and mortar businesses that are also offering products and services via their websites.

However, many other business models are using the internet to promote their business via websites, blogs, email, social media sites like Twitter and networking sites like LinkedIn. What’s more, Internet marketing enables you to carry out marketing activities that range from market to improving customer service.

Sourced from: http://www.marketingdonut.co.uk/marketing/online-marketing

The social media phenomenon has revolutionized business and work so much that some companies sell good online entirely while other companies utilize both the online and physical location sphere. The following are the possible forms of social media platforms divided by the type of online platform;

1.Website marketing

At the very least, a website can help your customers find you, providing contact details and showcasing your work. However, the marketing opportunities that the internet presents go much wider and deeper than this.

You can tell visitors about your product or service and promote special offers. You can improve customer service by giving useful information and enabling customers to provide feedback.

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2. Social media marketing is now routinely used by many businesses to promote their businesses online and engage with customers and to build their reputation and brand. Establishing a presence on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn can allow you to communicate directly with existing and new, target markets.

You can also use online equivalents to traditional marketing methods — advertising on other websites that your target customers are likely to visit, for example, or setting up affiliate marketing relationships with other companies.

However, one of the best ways to get visibility is to appear high up in search engine rankings. Search and pay per click advertising are generally considered the best ways to get people to your site.

3.Email marketing

Email is a convenient and cost-effective way to tell existing and potential customers about offers, to respond to queries and provide customer support. Email messages can be used to highlight special offers and new products and can help drive traffic to your website.

Email marketing has the benefit of lower costs and higher response rates than traditional marketing mailings. It is also easy to track responses so that you can quickly test what works and tweak your emails to increase response rates.

However, you can also use other forms of online communication as part of your internet marketing strategy.

Sourced from: http://www.marketingdonut.co.uk/marketing/online-marketing

E-mail marketing allows a convenient and cost- effective way of informing potential and existing clients of new offers. The following are some of the numerous benefits of using the online platforms for marketing;

  • Convenience – By developing an online marketing campaign, you can essentially be “open for business” 24 hours a day, without having to worry about store hours or overtime wages for staff. Not only is offering online access to your company or product convenient for you, but it is also convenient for your potential customers. As more and more consumers around the world rely on the Internet for everything from shopping and entertainment to research and education, there’s no question potential customers will appreciate being able to learn about your business or product online at their own leisure.
  • Cost – Cost is an important factor to consider in any marketing campaign, and by advertising your product or business online, you can avoid the high costs associated with traditional mass marketing. The cost of starting an online marketing campaign, for example, is only a fraction of the thousands of dollars you would spend on a billboard or radio and television ad, and can deliver long-term exposure rather than short-term results.
  • Reach – By marketing your product or service online, you can overcome some barriers, most notably distance. While mass marketing practices like advertising on billboards or in the newspaper reach only a local audience, an online marketing campaign can extend your reach across the country or around the world, significantly widening your target audience and improving your opportunity for growth.
  • Personalization – With a quality Internet marketing campaign, you can tailor your advertising techniques to your target audience, ensuring that your product or service will meet their eye in a timely and concentrated manner. Online marketing also allows you to create a clear-cut communication between yourself and your customers, which can help you, build a better online presence and a more trustworthy image.
  • Social – There’s no question that social media plays a significant role in the advertising practices we see today, largely because consumers put a lot of stock in the reviews and comments posted online by their fellow consumers. With social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, you can easily incorporate social networking tools into your online marketing campaign and take advantage of consumers’ heavy reliance on social media.

Sourced from: http://www.doz.com/marketing-resources/top-5-benefits-using-online-marketing-campaign

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Technology promises to continue growing and introducing better platforms with each development. It has introduced many platforms that put to shame many traditional marketing strategies. The most interesting thing is that most platforms are free!

To some entrepreneurs, social media marketing is the “next big thing,” a temporary yet powerful fad that must be taken advantage of while it is still in the spotlight. To others, it is a buzzword with no practical benefits and a steep, complicated learning curve.

Because it appeared quickly, social media has developed a reputation by some for being a passing marketing interest, and therefore, an unprofitable one. The statistics, however, illustrate a different picture. According to Hubspot, 92% of marketers in 2014 claimed that social media marketing was necessary for their business, with 80% indicating their efforts increased traffic to their websites.

Sourced from: http://www.forbes.com/sites/jaysondemers/2014/08/11/the-top-10-benefits-of-social-media-marketing/

Many entrepreneurs still hold to traditional strategies as they have this misguided notion that social media marketing is unprofitable. However, it can be as profitable as the Internet is an innovation here to stay and provides a platform to reach so many people. The best way would be to identify the best strategy to utilize in social media marketing.

1.Identify Business Goals

Every piece of your social media strategy serves the goals you set. You simply cannot move forward without knowing what you are working toward.

Look closely at your company’s overall needs and decide how you want to use social media to contribute to reaching them.
You’ll undoubtedly come up with several personalized goals, but there are a few that all companies should include in their strategy—increasing brand awareness, retaining customers and reducing marketing costs are relevant to everyone.

2.Set Marketing Objectives

Goals are not terribly useful if you do not have specific parameters that define when each is achieved. For example, if one of your primary goals is generating leads and sales, how many leads and sales do you have to generate before you consider that goal a success?

Marketing objectives define how you get from Point A (an unfulfilled goal) to Point B (a successfully fulfilled goal). You can determine your objectives with the S-M-A-R-T approach: Make your objectives specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound.

3.Identify Ideal Customers

If a business is suffering from low engagement on their social profiles, it is usually because they do not have an accurate ideal customer profile.

Buyer personas help you define and target the right people, in the right places, at the right times with the right messages.
When you know your target audience’s age, occupation, income, interests, pains, problems, obstacles, habits, likes, dislikes, motivations, and objections, then it is easier and cheaper to target them on social or any other media.

4.Research Competition

When it comes to social media marketing, researching your competition not only keeps you apprised of their activity, it gives you an idea of what is working so you can integrate those successful tactics into your own efforts.
Start by compiling a list of at least 3-5 main competitors. Search which social networks they are using and analyze their content strategy. Look at their number of fans or followers, posting frequency and time of day.

Also, pay attention to the type of content they are posting and its context (humorous, promotional, etc.) and how they are responding to their fans.

5.Choose Channels and Tactics

Many businesses create accounts on every popular social network without researching which platform will bring the most return. You can avoid wasting your time in the wrong place by using the information from your buyer personas to determine. If your prospects or customers tell you they spend 40% of their online time on Facebook and 20% on Twitter, you know which primary and secondary social networks you should focus on.

When your customers are using a particular network that is where you need to be— not everywhere else.

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6.Create a Content Strategy

Content and social media have a symbiotic relationship: Without great content social media is meaningless and without social media nobody will know about your content. Use them together to reach and convert your prospects.

There are three main components to any successful social media content strategy: type of content, time of posting and frequency of posting.

The type of content you should post on each social network relies on form and context.

7.Allocate Budget and Resources

According to recent data from Google, 30% of respondents say that social media has its own new and distinct budget. Of those respondents, 8.7% say their social media budget is pulled from traditional marketing media (i.e., TV, print, and radio).

I found it interesting that 2/3 of respondents say they plan to increase their social media budget during the upcoming cycle.

8.Assign Roles

Knowing who is responsible for what increases productivity and avoids confusion and overlapping efforts. Things may be a bit messy in the beginning, but with time team, members will know their roles and what daily tasks they are responsible for.

Sourced from: http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/essential-elements-social-media-marketing-strategy/

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