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What is Social Media Marketing?

When the internet was first developing, most of the information you could find about a product or business was published by the product creator on a business website. Consumers would search for information, find product details or specifications, and use that information to determine which product or service to purchase.

The internet has evolved over the past several years. Business websites are becoming more prominent but websites featuring user-generated content are becoming increasingly popular as well. Social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and many others are giving individuals and businesses a place to connect with their current and potential buyers. Social media can have a strong impact on the way a business grows online.

Exploring Social Media Marketing

When it comes to reaching out to our potential markets, most of us think of websites and print advertisements. We rarely, if ever, think about methods for making direct contact with our target markets. Social media marketing gives businesses the opportunity to add to the communications aspect of their marketing plans. Anyone with internet access can take advantage of social media networks to build connections and make information readily available to the public.

You’ll need to start your social media marketing campaign by choosing one or two of the most popular social media sites to focus on. There are dozens to choose from, but you should start with one or two and focus your efforts before adding others to your campaign. The most popular include Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, MySpace, and Delicious. After creating a profile on one of these sites, you’ll use it to make connections, to network with those interested in your product or services, to promote your products, and to gather customer feedback.

Why Social Media Marketing is Important

By now you’re probably wondering why you should invest your time on social media sites – sites you likely thought were for recreational purposes. The benefits are many. They include a surge of backlinks and traffic to your website, both from your social media networks and from those who post on their on blogs and websites. By creating profiles on social media sites, you’ll have the opportunity to target your market by only connecting with people who have some sort of interest in what you have to offer, reducing the amount of time and money you spend trying to find a focused group to talk to.

Let’s not forget the most important benefit – customer feedback. By putting yourself on social media websites you will be opening yourself up to public criticism. While the majority of your contacts will likely praise what you do, those who have had bad experiences are likely to speak up as well. These instances will provide you with the opportunity to address concerns, both publicly and privately, and will enhance your customer relations.

Social media marketing is an incredible online tool that should not be overlooked. Aside from a time investment, you will find that working with social media sites is a low-cost alternative to traditional marketing methods.

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