Social Media Marketing 101

by James Shaw, Creative Director/Principal at Twin Creek Media
Social Media Marketing is all the rage right now in the business world. What is Social Media Marketing (SMM)? Social media marketing is a term that describes use of social networks, online communities, blogs, wikis or any other online collaborative media for marketing, sales, public relations and customer service. Common social media marketing tools include Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Flickr, Wikipedia, Orkut and YouTube. Technologies that didn't exist 2 years ago are creating a need for a whole new category of jobs within mainstream companies.  Dollars are shifting on an epic scale from "traditional" advertising channels to digital channels.  The web is buzzing with comments, reviews, ratings, blog posts, photos, videos... people are talking.  Are you listening? Hmm... So now what? How does this filter down to you, the marketing manager at a small to midsized business? [caption id="" align="alignleft" width="324" caption="Click to read original article on eMarketer.com"]Social Media for Small Biz[/caption]
In a world where the Vatican has a YouTube channel and Bill Gates is 'tweeting' on Twitter, what should you do, as an Okanagan business owner or marketing executive?
1. Start at the top.
Strategically integrate your social media marketing efforts with your overall marketing communications plan.  Develop a social media strategy as a part of your internet marketing plan, which is in turn, part of your top-level marketing plan.
2. Create a social media footprint.
Start with creating a profile, short bio, keywords, and avatar (a small thumbnail graphic) for use on the major social media platforms relevant to your industry eg. Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Flickr, YouTube, MySpace, your own blog.  More on creating a social media footprint 3. Listen, Engage, Publish, Repeat. Have Fun! Social Media at it's core is about relationships.  It's about sharing.  As social media applies to marketing, the rules of the game don't change: it's still about relationships, but the intended outcome shifts to meeting your business goals instead of personal.  Please don't think that social media marketing is about advertising!  If you treat it like a one-way communications channel your efforts WILL NOT be rewarded.  In a real-life conversation, listening is just as important as talking.  Social Media Marketing is no different.  Listen to your audience.  What are their opinions about your brand?  What is their feedback about your service or lack of?  Do they have recommendations about how to improve your product?  Engage in the conversation that is happening all around you.  Share your knowledge.  Be helpful.  Be insightful.  Give others feedback.  Be authentic, and understand that whatever you say is always "on the record". Planning to use social media soon? If you're wondering how to integrate social media into your marketing mix, please call 250-762-4001 or email us. The couches in our studio are pretty comfortable and the Cherry Hill coffee is always fresh...