Social media marketing is a term that describes the use of Web 2.0 social media channels to market your business on the Internet. The term Web 2.0 encompasses a wide range of platforms including blogs, web based software applications, Wiki sites, podcasts, videos and social media websites.

If you haven’t already been using social media marketing to promote your business, you had better hurry up and jump on the social bandwagon. It’s a great tool to add to your bag of marketing tricks – easy to learn, but highly effective if done properly.

Social media marketing can greatly enhance your company brand, and have a significant impact in increasing your bottom line. Before launching your social media campaign, keep in mind some of the reasons why social media is so popular.

Social media sites can be described in the following manner:

  • Interactive – people can interact with whoever and whenever they like.
  • Sharing – people love to share and exchange information, ideas and news with each other.
  • Engaging – people are interested in what you or your company has to say, and will often actively participate in conversation or react in some way to let you know what they think.
  • Real time – you can interact with others in an instant and convey your messages or thoughts in a flash through social media sites.
  • Popularity – people get to have their say on what they like – whether it is a newsy item, an article or a video that they enjoy. A piece can go viral due to its popularity and be viewed by hundreds of thousands of people on the Internet in a matter of days.

If your business is ready to test the waters with social media marketing, here is a list of some of the most popular social media sites:

Facebook

Facebook is a social utility that connects you to your family and friends. Users set up their Facebook profile and use it as a platform for sharing news about themselves and interacting with friends. Many businesses are setting up fan pages on Facebook so that customers can follow news about the business and its latest product offerings. It’s also great for sharing photos about your products and using it to promote contests and giveaways.

Advertising your business on Facebook is also a good way to promote your brand and send prospective customers to your website. Advertising on Facebook can be targeted to an audience with appropriate demographics tailored to your products and services.

YouTube

YouTube allows you to create your own video and publish it on a shared video platform. You Tube is massively popular and gets incredibly large amounts of traffic. YouTube can be effective for search engine optimization and help you achieve high rankings in the search engines. If you are planning to create a video, for maximum effect make sure that you include the URL of your business in your video description (and somewhere prominent in the video itself if possible). This will help promote your business website and increase traffic to your website when viewers click on the link in the description.

Twitter

Tweet about whatever you like to whomever you want. As a business, you can set up a Twitter profile and tweet about your business. Learn appropriate Twitter etiquette such as using a conversational tone when tweeting, and make sure that you stay within the 140 character limit for Tweets.

Twitter is great for connecting with customers who are interested in your brand, and with peers in the same industry. Building up a list of Twitter followers is a good way to generate a list of prospective customers.

There are many other social media sites which you can tap into which will be covered in a future blog post.

Good luck with launching your social media marketing campaign. Social media tools are a recent but rapidly developing and powerful method of marketing for any business, whether small or large. Use social media marketing to harness the power of word of mouth in promoting your business.