Larry Brauner

Even today social media remains a mystery to most marketers. In the minds of most retailers and marketing executives, social media consists of teens messaging on Facebook, sharing pics on Flickr, writing in their blogs or tweeting all their doings on Twitter.

Perhaps they read a few news blogs themselves or have a profile on LinkedIn, but they’re still scratching their heads and wondering how any of this could possibly be useful to them in business.

Coming from the conventional marketing world myself and looking back to my first impression of social media, I can appreciate the retailing and B2B marketing establishment’s legitimate skepticism. That’s why I put together my top reasons for using social marketing for you to share with your colleagues and top management.

Let me caution you however, that social marketing requires its own mindset. Marketing strategies that work well with traditional media won’t necessarily be as effective if applied to new media.

These then are my top ten reasons to take social marketing seriously:

  1. Social marketing is a logical extension of the multichannel marketing strategy of diversification. Social media sites can extend a company’s web presence far beyond the limits of its e-commerce, lead generation or information sites.
  2. Social media builds awareness of products and brands by attraction rather than interruption, and by pulling rather than pushing. Consumers enjoy the discovery process and don’t feel annoyed by it.
  3. Social media employs a community and list building paradigm that’s much more comprehensive, natural and intimate than conventional databases and autoresponders.
  4. Social media marketers engage customers in dialog. They talk with the customer rather than at the customer as is generally the case with conventional media. Social media can also facilitate post-sale support and dissemination of valuable product tips to customers.
  5. Social media used properly can build frequency less expensively than conventional media educating and informing the consumer over time.
  6. Social media can help reach target markets that are too difficult or expensive to reach using conventional means.
  7. Reach doesn’t determine cost, so social media can target a narrow vertical market while at the same time casting a wide net. Efficiency doesn’t really matter much in the context of social media reach.
  8. Search engines like social media, and social marketing leverages free high-quality search exposure which is preferable to paying for low-quality pay-per-click or banner advertising.
  9. Social media sites and your e commerce websites are available 24/7 more or less indefinitely. It’s much like having an ad run in every issue of a publication or like having a catalog or sales letter retained until the customer is ready to make a buying decision.
  10. Using social networking sites it is often possible to connect directly with B2B decision makers without interference from protective gatekeepers.

Social marketing is different from other forms of Internet marketing. I write about the unique challenges that social media marketing poses in Top 10 Social Media Challenges.

Did you enjoy this article? Subscribe to my RSS feed or by e-mail. Also, visit my About, Services, Media Buzz and Connect pages to learn about me and my social media and web marketing services.

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Larry Brauner

A web developer knows how to build a website and how to create a web page that interacts effectively with visitors.  Web developers can often organize information and design web sites with great visual appeal.

Generally speaking however, web developers are neither experienced Internet marketers nor skilled copywriters. They specialize in following, tweaking and implementing the specifications provided to them by small business owners and corporate marketing departments. A web developer is a technician skilled at converting a set of instructions into an interactive web site.

Launching and promoting a web site and building an Internet presence require more than a development effort.  Here are eight other elements that will likely figure into your online presence:

  1. Your niche and perhaps micro-niche - What specific need or needs will your products or services fill?
  2. Positioning and branding - What distinguishes you from your competition? How can you position your brand so that it’s at the top of it’s own category?
  3. Targeting - Who will use your brand and how can you connect with them online and offline?
  4. Your keywords - What terms are people searching for that are relevant to your brand and which are the best ones to compete for?
  5. Content - What do you say on your site? How do you communicate your ideas, and how do you weave in the keywords indicated by your keyword research?
  6. Contextual linking - Creating meaningful hyperlinks within your site content that help the reader and the search engines.
  7. Link building - Getting the best sites to link back to you and other SEO strategies to attract search visitors and drive referrals to your website. Listing your site in appropriate directories. Submitting your site and content to social bookmarking sites, and writing press releases and articles that will also link back to you.
  8. Web promotion and list building - Leveraging video sites, social networking sites, e-zines and PPC ads to drive even more people to visit and register at your website or your blog.

To build a successful web presence requires a team of marketing, design and development professionals to tend to each aspect of your online campaign. In many organizations, some people will assume several roles.

If you’re a small business owner, I recommend that you let a marketing consultant bring together and manage the expertise and skill sets that will be required.

If you have more time to invest than money, Site Build It! is an inexpensive option. You learn each phase as you go and are guided step-by-step through your project.

Did you enjoy this article? Subscribe to my RSS feed or by e-mail. Visit my About, Services, Media Buzz and Connect pages to learn about Building Your Audience and Brand on the Web. See also my Disclosure Policy regarding affiliations and compensation.

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Larry Brauner

I’m taking a couple of days off from work, and I’m leaving you with the following thought:

A website is not necessarily an Internet presence.

Some websites are no more than online business cards. They display the owner’s contact information along with some eye catching graphics, but provide little or no information about the business or organization.

I admit that such a site is not very common, but they do exist.

Here’s one that actually belongs to a web designer who is selling “Engine Optimized Web Solutions”:

http://marriedtotheweb.com

Pretty amazing isn’t it?

Seeing is believing!

If there is information, but it’s contained in a flash presentation, then from a search engine’s point of view the site is devoid of content. Search engines are unable to decipher flash or pictures.

When pictures are part of a website, it’s important to tell the search engine what the picture is by using an “alt” description atrribute in the HTML “img” tag. Then the picture adds search value to the site. Also, if for some reason the picture doesn’t load, the description will appear instead.

If there is a lot of good information on the site, but there’s no way to capture a visitor’s contact details, or there isn’t an effective search engine optimization strategy, then the website is merely an Internet-based brochure.

Mosts websites are online brochures and no more. They lack an effective lead capture mechanism, or they lack an effective keyword strategy, or all too often they lack both.

Blogs are naturally full of rich content. Add to the mix a choice of subscription methods for lead capture and good keyword research, and you have the makings of a blog marketing strategy.

In my Blog Marketing and SEO Training series, I hope to provide you with lots of creative input as you develop your online presence.

Did you enjoy this article? Subscribe to my RSS feed or by e-mail. Also, visit my About, Services, Media Buzz and Connect pages to learn about me and my social media and web marketing services.

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