Social Media Marketing: The Basics

Social media marketing is quickly cementing itself in the business world. What began as a way to stay connected with friends and family has evolved into a powerful promotional tool.  Digital marketing isn’t a fad. It’s not a trend. And it’s not going to disappear. In fact, it’s growing at an exponential rate.

But before you go viral, you’ve got to understand the space you are playing in. Here’s the sites and services you need to know before you enter the social media landscape.

LinkedIn is an “online resume service” Shocked and surprised boy on the internet with laptop computerbased on the concept of six degrees of separation, where each one of us is connected to another person by six people or fewer. It’s widely used by business professionals.

Facebook is a “community phone” with a real-time running ticker of your friends’ activities. Stay in touch one-on-one or with groups with direct message functions and chat capability. Business success on Facebook is linked to users “liking” content and interacting with a business’s page.

Instagram is a photos-on-the-go mobile application owned by Facebook. Its popularity is due to ease of use and visual appeal. People and brands use Instagram to show and share their story visually—with photos and videos. Content shared to social media has the opportunity to quickly go viral.

Twitter is a Bluebird Cartoonbreadcrumb trail where users follow bite-sized pieces of interesting information back to your Web site. It’s used for staying in touch with a large number of followers with short bursts of information in SMS format.

Pinterest is a virtual pinboard that helps users collect, categorize, organize, store, retrieve and share data- in picture form. With Pinterest, users are only two clicks away from your Web site.

YouTube, owned by Google, is the second-largest search engine on the planet. YouTube is a video-sharing site with the majority of programming uploaded by individuals, although the major networks and most businesses have a YouTube presence. User-generated video content includes movie clips, TV clips and music videos, as well as amateur content, such as video blogging, short original videos and educational videos. How-to videos are the most widely searched terms. Users can find videos on almost any keyword entered into the search bar.

Google+ is more than a social network due to the multipurpose functionality of Google. Google+ offers personal features similar to Facebook: Social networking with friends, the sharing of photos and videos. But Google+ offers some key features to businesses that Facebook does not: Hangouts, live streaming, one-touch recording and email integration. Businesses using Google+ get the increased benefit of search engine rankings.

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Dashboards are all-in-one programs that allow you to update, monitor, measure, manage and maintain your social media conversations on one screen. Use them to maximize your time and efforts and increase productivity. Dashboards change as quickly as the platforms themselves, and each has
its own niche and function. Popular dashboards include:

Hootsuite: A social media management system for brand management that supports Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, Foursquare, Myspace, WordPress and Mixi™. The service is very popular and easy to use; free and paid versions available.

TweetDeck: Connect users with contacts across Twitter, Facebook, Myspace, LinkedIn, Foursquare and more. Schedule future posts, manage multiple accounts and update several social media sites at once to maintain consistency. A Social media conceptdesktop application is available with both free and paid versions.

HubSpot: All-in-one marketing software that helps users attract leads and convert them into customers; HubSpot is a pioneer and leader in inbound marketing, using education as a tool to further their marketing efforts – and yours! It offers advanced analytics, both free and paid services.

SocialOomph: Increase social media productivity by crossing platforms of Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and your blog posts. Schedule tweets and posts, track keywords, view mentions and retweets, and auto-follow
on Twitter®. Paid and free versions are available.

Digital marketing can be a valuable tool for your business. If you focus your social media efforts in the right place with the right tools,  you’ll open up connections to virtually millions of people around the world. 

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