By Joseph LaCoste (Guest Post)
Social Media Networking is the newest approach to effective business marketing and advertising. Current Social Media Networking (SMN) trends are rising fast along with new creative strategies to leverage this trend to promote products and services. It is normal today for corporate marketing and advertising plans to include at least the top 4 SMN companies. There are some great strategies already being employed with new innovative approaches appearing regularly.
Social Media Marketing Trends
Social Media Networking (SMN) is the fast growing global business trend in Marketing and Advertising. 76% of businesses participate in social media marketing and by the end of 2012 that number will be up to 92% (Marketing Profs, 2012). In a 2012 survey of marketers it was determined, “Most of the marketers surveyed are focusing their SMN efforts on the three largest US social networks: Facebook 89%, Twitter 77% and LinkedIn 63%” (Marketing Profs, 2012). In another survey to determine what SMN programs businesses are using they found, 88.8% use Facebook, 66.4% use Twitter, 63.4% use YouTube, 40% use LinkedIn, 39.3% use Blogs, 20.8% use Pinterest, 12.8% use Google+, and Others 47.2% (Grensing, 2012). A little over 40% surveyed share information on video social websites like YouTube and Vimeo and around 40% on image social websites like Pinterest (Marketing Profs, 2012). There is no question SMN is being integrated into business marketing.
Another fast moving trend is the tools that are increasing the effectiveness of SMN. In a few years it is predicted the number one way to access the internet will be through smart phones, and other mobile devices. Everyday celebrities, without compensation, send messages or tweets in real-time to millions of followers; often unintentionally promoting a movie, song, restaurant, experience, or any other interest in their lives. This is an incredible communication phenomenon. Companies traditionally spend millions of dollars on TV commercials that have to be planned and produced then sent to millions of viewers many of which are annoyed that the commercial just interrupted their show. The power to communicate, the flexibility, and the affordability are just one example of the impact of SMN.
In the recent political campaigns candidates leveraged SMN to target, what is called Micro Markets or a very specific group of people that meet a specific set of parameters. Through Facebook, Pandora, Twitter, and Google searches enough information is collected to categorize consumer or voters into very specific groups through an endless list of preferences. It has never been so easy for business to target a specific market group with no geographic boundaries and relatively little financial risk.
Since search engines it has become much more popular to find a website by inquiring within the search bar as opposed to typing the entire website address. Google has made a lot of money by allowing companies to appear at the top of a search whether they are the most appropriate search result or not. The trend now is to look past the paid advertisers and go straight to the results that more specifically match the search. For a business to be the best match they need to have quality, and relevant information posted. One analyst writes, “when we look at the success of content these days, there is often an inverse relationship between how good it is vs. how much we had to pay for people to actually see it” (Schafer, 2012). The best way for a company to make sure its content is relevant and timely is through its SMN efforts.
SMN has already proved itself to be an effective marketing tool but it still has a long ways to go. Businesses surveyed indicated what they felt were their biggest challenges to using Social Media, 48% indicated measuring effectiveness, 45% managing and maintaining information, 42% engaging audiences, 39% identifying influencers, and 32% keeping content fresh (Grensing, 2012). As businesses search to resolve these obstacles new windows of opportunity are opening in the SMN world.
SMN Improves SEO
Search engine optimization (SEO) has been a developing science for years. The SMN vehicles have become an effective organic method to improve SEO. A business that may not find a reason to incorporate a YouTube account and videos should reconsider simply for the reason of increasing the companies search results. As discussed earlier organic results are more effective than paid advertising so why dramatically improve SEO by at least managing the top 4 or 5 SMNs.
Celebrity Twitter accounts can provide an almost unimaginable advertising opportunity for businesses. On a recent episode of NBC’s 30-Rock they made fun of this phenomenon by claiming Jenna Marooney an actress with a huge twitter following in Florida had the ability to influence the recent presidential election either way by simply sending a single Tweet. Justin Beiber tweeted to his numerous followers a new song he liked; “Call me maybe” by Carly Rae Jepsen. The song was immediately launched to the top of the music charts for weeks and her You Tube video has nearly had half a billion views. It can be argued Carly Rae Jepsen is a super star overnight because a Celebrity Tweet.
Businesses have for years used celebrities to help promote a product or service. Twitter has created a whole new celebrity endorsement industry. A smart marketing and sales manager would generate a list of celebrities with followers matching their target market. Then pursue, educate and pay, if necessary, these celebrities to endorse their product or service.
What is great about Facebook (FB) is when I post a status or photo the post shows up on all my friends FB pages. Just as great is I can post messages on other friends or businesses FB page for all their friends to see. Similar to Twitter some business FB pages have large targeted friends list. By befriending a FB page with a target market friends list similar to your company’s target market; one is given the ability to post comments or disguised advertisements which will be immediately distributed to this targeted friends list with a little extra credibility from the associated FB page. So the advertising strategy is simple. Make a list of FB pages with friends list that match your companies target market, then start befriending and posting. This does not just get your message out but it also includes a perceived endorsement of the other FB account. What an amazing advertising tool FB can offer the sage marketing director.
Joseph LaCoste MBA, ( https://twitter.com/joelacoste )is the Executive Vice President of Marketing and Sales for Mamaki of Hawaii. He has built 11 companies including two marketing companies. He has been a business consultant and National Speaker for over 20 years teaching business development, marketing and sales techniques. https://www.mamakiofhawaii.com