When people say the word “media,” the first thing that often comes to mind is TV, radio and newspaper. This is the traditional form of mass communication, where one medium sends information to a large number of people. This form of mass communication only transmits information, with little to no interaction from those on the receiving end of the information. It is also an extremely expensive venture to get into and maintain, which is also why it costs a lot to advertise in any of these media of mass communication.
With the current Internet speeds and availability, though, these traditional media are slowly being replaced by social media – also known as consumer-generated media in the more commercial circles of society.
Social media itself is the epitome of the Internet culture: it is a collection of web-based and mobile technologies that allow users to generate and publish content. This simply means that people create, upload and share a whole lot of “stuff” on the Internet. Everything is fair game with social media – from simple comments and amateur videos to technical manuals and sweeping scientific studies .
For an example, you can simply read this entry about social media on Wikipedia. Not only will you learn more about social media, but you will have visited a social media site born from the collective input of experts around the world!
But you are not reading this guide to learn more about social media’s roots and origins. You are reading this to learn how to increase traffic to your own website. Ergo, you are reading this guide to increase your overall profits.
So let’s cut to the chase, shall we?
How Social Media is Relevant to Marketing
The whole point of this guide is to teach you how to increase web traffic to your business by using social media, but it is absolutely essential that you first understand how to use the various social media to that end.
Here are a few things to help keep you in the right frame of mind:
Information and Awareness
One of the first things you need to remember about social media is the distribution of information.
If you are launching a program, starting a promotion, offering discounts, looking for employees, opening a new line of products or have anything important to say, then social media will be one of the quickest and cheapest ways for you to get that information out into the Internet. This is also a facet where social media shines, since people can pass along this information on their own social networks.
Engagement and Discussion
One of the main draws of social media is giving the consumer the ability to easily communicate with both the business and other consumers.
A smart consumer of the Internet age no longer takes advertisements at face value. He goes online and starts from there, and social media allows you to communicate with these people on a near real-time basis.
You always have the option to filter or block discussions if they don’t go as you’d like them to. Just keep in mind that they can and will discuss an issue on a separate website that you will be unable to monitor. This is why it would be better that you see what frustrates your customers yourself and address the issue in a timely manner.
Support and Assistance
If people have problems, one of the first things they do is look for someone to help them – and social media could be a cheap and accessible tool to let that happen.
Social media is a cheap, easy and convenient tool for people to seek solutions to problems that they may encounter and answers to questions that are nagging them. This is especially useful for small businesses, where the need for expensive customer care services is virtually eliminated by using social media instead. One or two people will be more than enough to handle things until the business grows big enough to need and afford larger customer care services.
Networking and Recruitment
If you are looking for people to help support your business – like partners, suppliers or employees – then social media can help you out there as well.
Not only will you be able to bring additional business to your website, but you could also use an established social network to get additional
Competitiveness and Relevance If you can use social media to get customers your way, then you can bet that your competitors can use it too.
This is why social media can be a very useful tool to spy on the competition. Are they launching a product with new features? What problems are their customers experiencing? How are they setting up their own social media marketing strategies? Keep an eye on your competitors and you will be able to modify and present your own products and services in a more relevant and competitive manner.
Trust and Assurance
Everything that has been discussed earlier will ultimately lead to one thing – the trust of the consumer.
This is perhaps the main reason why social media is so effective in marketing circles. It is also the reason why other businesses just can’t see any traffic increase when they use social media.
Remember that you are dealing with intelligent people that have something to say. Learning how to properly engage and communicate with them will mean the difference between a successful social media marketing campaign and a total waste of time and energy.
Now that you have a general idea of how social media works as a marketing tool, it’s time we got down and dirty with the first social medium: Facebook.