Earlier this month I, along with Joel Davis of agency:2, was interviewed by Mike Filsaime of Marketingdotcom.com about social media marketing. Below are my answers to Mike’s questions.
1) What should an online marketer’s primary goal be when utilizing social media?
In establishing a primary goal for social media, marketers first need to define what they are trying to accomplish via social media marketing; e.g. increase the number of Twitter followers, increase the number of Facebook fans, or drive traffic to a webpage.
One of the advantages of using social media as a marketing tool is that it can be used for a variety of marketing initiatives, such as: brand awareness, brand reputation management, new business generation, customer support, specific product/service launch campaigns, and improving SEO.
2) What, in your opinion, is the most effective way for online marketers to use social media?
Social media marketing is, at its heart, a way for companies to communicate with their audience, listen to what they are saying, and engage with them based on their comments. It is not simply a one way marketing channel like TV, where you blast your message and don’t engage in a two-way conversation.
It’s also important to understand that social media marketing is not a stand-alone marketing tactic. It is not something that can happen in a vacuum. For example, a company cannot open a Twitter account and expect people to automatically start following it if they never advertise the fact. Social media needs to be woven into the fabric of everything a company does.
When you visit a website there should be link to the company’s Twitter and Facebook pages. Print and display advertising should also include links to the company’s social media pages.
3) Facebook and Twitter are often cited as the two primary social media sites that online marketers should use. What other social media sites are also worthy of attention?
The other two big general social media sites are YouTube and LinkedIn. There are also a lot of niche social media sites that marketers are not taking advantage of. For example, ActiveRain bills itself as the world’s largest network for real estate professionals. If your company’s target market is real estate agents, then ActiveRain is the sort of social media site that you should be on. There is a lot less competition (noise) on ActiveRain than there is on Facebook.
Active Rain is just one example of hundreds of niche social media sites. There are these types of social media sites in every market.
4) What tools and software would you recommend for assisting with social media management?
We use Google Alerts to monitor what is being written about our company, brand, industry, and competitors. This is a free service from Google and we get an email every day with any relevant results based on our request. It’s a great way to quickly and easily keep on top of what is being said about you.
6) What new social media opportunities can we expect to see over the next 12 months?
As Facebook grows and becomes even more mainstream, I expect to see a substantial increase in the number of people using niche social media sites like ActiveRain.
I also expect to see more situations like that recently experienced by Cooks Source Magazine. If companies fail to understand the power of two-way communication their reputation can be destroyed very quickly online. I expect to see people offering reputation management services as a result.