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Even if you don't use social media, chances are high that many of your customers and clients do!
While most social networking sites are offered free of charge, creating and building a social media presence across social media platforms can be confusing and time consuming. Blue Water Media’s Washington DC social media marketing specialists can help you better understand the tools available to you and the benefits of the different networks, and we can help you plan and execute your strategy accordingly.
What Are the Benefits of Social Media Marketing?
There are many advantages to expanding your digital presence through social media. Doing so can help you learn about your target audience, develop closer relationships with customers, create brand loyalty and involvement, publicize promotional events, increase brand visibility, drive consumers to your website, and promote new products and services.
- Target Your Audience — When you join a social networking site, you will gain access to your customers’ profiles, which contain valuable information about their wants and needs as consumers. Many networks also allow you to target specific demographics.
- Communicate with Customers — At the heart of every social networking is communication. Unlike traditional forms of marketing focusing on “one-way” communications, social networking will enable your brand to develop “two-way” communication with your customers. This two-way communication will give you greater insight into customer perceptions, satisfaction, and needs.
- Promote Brand Loyalty — By creating a group for your company on a social networking site, you allow group members to view your promotional photos and gain information about your company. Your business name will also show up in the “Likes” and “Pages” sections of users’ profiles, essentially providing free advertising. The more exposure and interaction users have with your company, the more attached they will become to your brand.
- Publicize Promotional Events — By utilizing the “Events” feature on many social networking sites, you can create, publicize, and invite contacts to promotional events. When people RSVP to a Facebook event, for example, their attendance will be published in their news feed, which all their friends will see.
- Increase Brand Visibility — Sometimes the difference between winning and losing is simply showing up. Creating and maintaining active social network profiles increases the chance that a potential customer will discover your brand. Creating a profile for your company on various social networking sites is a great way to build your Internet presence and expose more people to your brand. Some of the sites we recommend enable contacts to become fans of your company, causing your company’s name and logo to appear on their profile. So, anyone who looks at their profile will see your logo.
- Drive Website Traffic — While communication is at the heart of all social networking, it is this communication that offers you the opportunity to entice customers to visit your website. By posting links, offering incentives, and generally creating topics of interest, you can drive more customers to your website and take them one step closer to making a purchase.
- Gauge Customer Interest — Because the customers you interact with on social networking sites are often your most loyal and engaged customers, they tend to be happy to offer advice. Customers’ willingness to help provides you the opportunity to conduct informal research on customer interest in new products and services. You will gain insights that improve your products while making your customers feel valued and appreciative of your candid communication.
How Can Blue Water Media Help?
Blue Water Media will assist you in selecting the social networking platforms that are most relevant to your business and target audience and will then create your profiles on the selected sites, taking care to maintain your established brand identity. Once your profiles have been formed, Blue Water Media will advise your staff on how to manage the profiles and will recommend strategies and techniques for merging your existing marketing. When developing your social media campaign, Blue Water Media will perform the following activities:
- Select Relevant Social Networks — When embarking on an Internet marketing campaign, it is important to clarify who you are trying to reach. Depending on your target market, we can use our Internet prowess and knowledge of social networking sites to recommend those that will best access the consumers your company wants to reach.
- Setup Profiles Quickly and Professionally — Our skilled web and marketing staff will set up profiles that are professional in appearance and correspond with your brand identity.
- Integrate with Existing Marketing — Blue Water Media will provide you with methods for incorporating your new social networking profiles into your existing marketing initiatives.
- Recommend Effective Strategies and Techniques — Using our in-depth understanding of online social networks and Internet marketing in general, we will put together a plan that best utilizes the tools social networking sites offer to help your company reach its goals. We will assist you in managing these channels for marketing and communicating with your customers.
Primary Social Networks
While there are many social networks to choose from, for clients looking to grow their digital marketing footprint, we recommend starting with a small handful that have particularly large audiences.
Facebook is currently the top social networking site on the web and is a free-access website that allows users to join a network (e.g., city, region, workplace, or school) and create a profile. Once users create their profiles, they can connect with friends, send private messages, create affinity groups based on common interests, write on their own and other users’ public “walls,” become fans of products or brands, upload photos and videos, write public notes, and promote and invite other Facebook users to events. All activities can be published on a public “News Feed,” which is visible to all a user’s Facebook “friends.”
Demographics/Points to Consider — Facebook can help you reach a broad range of target markets. Facebook is used internationally by people of nearly all ages, ethnicities, interests, and walks of life, and a plethora of ever-evolving features leave no shortage of ways to creatively market your business.
Twitter has emerged as a social networking and micro-blogging site with a vast following and is the third most used social network, which puts the number of unique monthly visitors at roughly 6 million and the number of monthly visits at 55 million. Twitter enables its users to post “tweets,” or text blurbs of up to 140 characters, and comment on other users’ tweets. Joining and using Twitter is free, and users can open their tweets to public viewing or limit access to selected contacts.
LinkedIn is a social networking website that focuses on the business world. As of May 2009, it had more than 40 million registered users working in 170 industries. Users create a profile with relevant personal and work-related information. They then link to current and former colleagues and friends. These people are listed on a user’s profile as “Connections.” Users can also engage with the larger LinkedIn community by asking and responding to questions using the “LinkedIn Answers” feature. Individual companies also have profiles on LinkedIn.
YouTube is currently the most visited video-sharing/viewing website globally. YouTube allows people to easily upload and share video clips on the YouTube site and across the Internet through mobile devices, websites, email, and blogs. Anyone can watch YouTube videos for free, and video topics range from current events and the latest music to wacky and often bizarre home videos.
Nicknamed the “visual Twitter,” Pinterest is an invite-only website that allows users to collect and categorize images from around the web onto labeled “pin boards.” Pinterest is on a mission “to connect everyone in the world through the ‘things’ they find interesting.” As the platform continues to expand, smart businesses are taking notice.
The number-one search engine’s foray into social networking has continued to grow in popularity. We recommend Google+ to clients as a way to strengthen search engine optimization efforts in addition to building a social media presence.