There are basically four different types of benefits that you can expect to achieve from a successful social media marketing campaign: links, branding, sales and interaction.
Below, a look at each of these potential benefits and some ideas on how you can make maximise them for your specific needs.
Making use of social media for link building is relatively popular within the SEO community, and for good reason. Using social news sites as a platform to spread your content (linkbait) can relatively easily produce thousands of new inbound links to your site. Compare that with traditional methods of paying or begging for links, and you can quickly see why linkbaiting is so popular.
The of linkbaiting is to produce a piece of remarkable content that will spread virally and naturally collect links. The big social news sites already have millions of users, so the concept is to leverage these sites to get your story popular enough so that it’s exposed to their user community. A popular piece of content on these sites is seen by tens of thousands of hungry bloggers looking for stories to blog about.
Social media marketing goes further than just traffic and links. It is also great for improving brand awareness. It doesn’t matter if you have a new brand or one that is well established, using social media can help build or strengthen it.
Social media is also part of a brand experience when users interact in these channels. If the experience is positive, high-energy, interesting or funny, all of these elements will support a unique brand experience and support ongoing initiatives in this area. Positive or negative experiences here can really have an impact on a brand.
A few examples of positive experiences include funny videos, useful content, flash games, and contests based on user participation. Each of these methods help engage a deeper dialogue or interaction with the consumer and can help get closer to the customer.
The primary aim for many marketing campaigns is to bring an increase in sales. Sometimes this is done directly and sometimes it can be a very indirect process. It can be hard to create a social media marketing campaign that will result in direct sales. This is because you’re reaching consumers in a non-purchasing stage of the cycle. It contrasts from standard SEO where consumers are looking for what you’re selling and at the point of purchase already. Social media is less intrusive, and part of the reason people engage is because there’s more there than just a selling message. Any content with a strong selling message will generally not be received well.
The best way to generate sales through social media is to show how good your product is in a creative way and compelling way.
Sites that are best for direct sales are YouTube, MySpace or any highly targeted social site.
There are a lot of benefits to interacting with your customers through social media. Some of these include improving products or services, establishing trust, being viewed as the authority in your space and creating evangelists.
The most common form of customer interaction in social media is done through blogging. With a blog, your goal should be to establish an open dialogue with your customers. This means that should allow comments on the blog, and you should also be participating on other relevant blogs.
Blogging is not the only way to interact with your customers in social media. Consider reaching out to them in the communities where they hang out but be sure tread lightly as they can very easily have the opposite effect you are hoping for. Remember, social media is somewhere that consumers feel safe from marketers, so you need to have the right approach.
The above are examples for some of the ways social media marketing can be effective today. The environment is still evolving and growing. As we see more participation in different ways, the landscape will pose even more opportunity for marketing.