In the last few years social media sites have experienced phenomenal growth as more people discover the joys of networking. A study by Nielsen in May 2009 reported that:

“People continue to spend more time on social networking and blog sites than ever before, with total minutes increasing 82 percent year-over-year and the average time per person increasing 67 percent year-over-year in May 2009. (Nielsen’s Social Media QuickTake, May 2009)

Social Networking Sites

Not surprising given that social networking sites are fun places to hang out at. People love to go online to have a chat, to share, to learn, to experience, and to engage with other web surfers that have common interests.

In an earlier blog post titled “Social Media Marketing – An Indispensable Marketing Tool”, I touched on the use of popular Web 2.0 social media channels like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube – tapping into these channels can help your business to achieve a range of social media marketing goals.

Before embarking on a campaign to market your business online, it’s important to obtain clarity about what you would like to achieve for your business through these powerful social media channels.

Business Goals

Your business goals may include one or more of the following:

  • To improve recognition of your company brand and lift its profile;
  • To reinforce your brand through high exposure on the Internet;
  • To increase the number of prospects and customers that subscribe to your email newsletter;
  • To survey customers about their experiences with your products;
  • To conduct market research for a proposed new line of products;
  • To collect demographic information about your customer base.

It’s relatively easy for a company to join numerous social media sites and to get started with their marketing efforts. However, businesses venturing into social media marketing should have a clear plan of action, especially if it is their first time.

Social Media Campaign Tips

Here are some useful tips to get your campaign started on the right foot.

  • Define the goals of your social media marketing efforts. I’ve listed several potential goals above, but you may find others specific to your business.
  • Start your marketing efforts by targeting only a few social media sites, and take the time to understand the rules of engagement (both written and unwritten!) of these sites. As your business becomes more experienced with its online marketing efforts, select a few more new social media sites to add to your marketing mix.
  • Decide on your objectives for each social media site. For example, your business may set up a Fan Page on Facebook to showcase photos of your products, and to connect with customers, while it uses Twitter to update followers with company news, and to offer promotions and competitions.
  • Work consistently to interact on these social media sites. Try to avoid blatant self-promotion – your input should be useful information, or something that has entertainment value for your followers. Good examples of the latter include a cool video or a funny article that readers feel compelled to share with others. If you can entertain and provide useful information at the same time, even better.
  • Social media campaigns are not a set and forget promotion. Your business will need to invest time to monitor and update your social media campaign on a regular basis.

Popular Social Media Sites

If your business digs the use of social media for marketing your business, be sure to check out popular sites such as Digg, StumbleUpon, Reddit and Technorati.

Digg is a popular community site for people to share and discover content from around the web. A piece of content that is really liked, whether it be an article or a video, can go viral on the web if it makes it to the first page of Digg. People are really going to have to Digg it though!

With a solid social media campaign in place, your business should soon be reaping the long term benefits of a strong brand presence online and constant engagement with your customers.