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The Value of Social Media Marketing

Social media marketing is the process of gaining traffic and conversions through social media.  Social media is the interaction among people in which they create, share or exchange information and ideas in virtual communities and networks. For instance, Twitter is a social site designed to let people share short messages (140 characters or less) with others within a rapidly moving timeline. Facebook, in contrast, is a full blown social networking site that allows for sharing updates, photos, joining events, and a variety of other activities.

Combined with marketing efforts, social media gives marketers a voice and a way to communicate with peers, customers, and potential consumers. It personalizes the brand and helps you spread your brand message in a relaxed and casual way on a platform consumed by many.

Here are a few ways that social media can be used:

  • Create an identity of who you are, the products and services you provide.
  • Create relationships using social media with people who might not otherwise know about your products or service or  your company culture.
  • Be “real.” Social media allows you to be real with your potential customers so that they can get to know more than just a brand.
  • Use social media to find your target market and add value to the community.
  • Communicate and provide interaction that consumers look for when making a buying decision.

Given all these great reasons to be on social media, it’s important to assess the value. Perhaps the greatest value of all these marketing efforts is the ability to foster and engage with a community of other people – people you normally wouldn’t meet and engage with otherwise without these great tools at your disposal. That engagement is the heart of social media, and without it, you’re left with a megaphone and no one to hear you.

With social media, you have the opportunity to interact with customers from all over the world – including those that are right down the street – on a huge scale. If someone has something to say about you, negative or positive, you have the ability to respond right away and address it.

In addition to responsive communication, brands and business can begin building relationships with their customers that go beyond just a simple sales transaction. These deep relationships are what keep customers coming back and referring your business to others. This increases loyalty and retention. Imagine the results when all these people become advocates of your business and start spreading the word about your business; the results will be amazing.

Social media marketing begins by providing a great place for engagement for your community and helping build valuable, authentic resources for your brand. In turn, you are building your brand’s authority and this in turn will build trust with your customers. Your social networking sites should provide information about your brand, the products you sell, and also provide resources and ways for your consumers to engage with you. Your sites should also be set up to handle customer service requests – don’t just talk about yourself and not address needs of your consumers.

With the right social media strategy and marketing plan in place, the results will be endless. How do you manage your social media marketing efforts? Let us know on Twitter at @viralheat.

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