This is becoming an important part of an Online marketing program especially for businesses in the B2C segment and provides business owners and marketers another avenue for attracting and engaging online customers.
Social Media is a very general term that covers a wide group of websites, generally speaking you won’t want to have a presence on all these sites but depending on your business model you should have a presence on some of them.
Social Media marketing is not for all businesses, it is questionable for B2B applications (on a case by case basis) but is highly relevant section of the online marketing mix when your business is B2C focused, since if you are selling to the general public or a mass market you need to put yourself online where your customers go online.
Social media and blogs contribute in no small part to keeping your online presence vibrant and engaging, at the same time they also demand regular and relevant updates to keep them current. This can take up a lot of time but on the plus side, if you have a product or service with mass market appeal and you use social media (Facebook or Google +) to keep your customers informed then those customers are spreading information to all their friends via their likes and circles and you have the capability to grow and expand your business to new customers based on human referrals from their friends which gives you an immediate advantage over a PPC search advert….
Referrals, likes and reviews are becoming a very important factor in organic rankings positions on major search engines… recommendations by humans carry weight in purchase decisions and website relevancy.
Online Marketing capabilities on facebook have organic and PPC options.
Organic: Via your Facebook Page, Stories, link from your website etc you engage existing customers, they “like” your page, post, story etc and that “like” is then visible to all their friends, it gives your product a perceived added value in the search/selection process since it has already been approved by someone the new customers trusts and so the cycle continues.
PPC: Facebook also has a PPC or CPM advertising method but it differs from Google in that it does not use Keywords but rather Demographics to allow you to decide who should see you advert. You set the Bid costs and you can search via Age, Sex, Geography, Interests, Employment, Profession etc and for the right product or service you can focus on your particular target audience. Once a customer has clicked on an advert or a story, you can then keep them updated organically with new and relevant content going forward.
At this time, Google+ only has organic capabilites for Online marketing as PPC is not an option yet. ( I don’t expect this to last for long) Customers are added to your circles in Google+, they can in turn add you to their circles. This customer filing system (which has recently been adopted by Facebook) allows you to segment customers/potential customers according to your marketing plans. Eg: New customers get to see some posts while existing customers will see a different post. This is also very helpful for B2C Online businesses who have a wide range of products and want to make sure that customers only see posts on products they have shown interest in.
Social media marketing is in its infancy, as it develops it will become a very important part of the Online marketing mix and how you use it as part of your mix will only be limited by your business model, your Budget and your imagination.
With LinkedIn your have PPC and to a lesser extent organic options, the benefits of this medium include access to targeted customers based on Geographic and Demographic Factors and as with most quality online media, you can focus you spending on specific targets that you have identified as important to your business growth and plans.
PPC: LinkedIn advertising is demographic, employment, profile based which can make it very appealing for B2B projects. You can target by Location, Company Size, Job title, Company name (larger companies) with specific text and image adverts which can refer back to a corporate page on linked in or a landing page on your website and for the right product or service you can run a very tightly focused campaign.
Organic: Medium to larger companies should also look at a dedicated LinkedIn corporate pages, to promote their services, staffing depth etc and in general increase their organic online profile.
Yelp reviews are an important factor for some business types and business models especially when you are dealing with local search and/or a business to consumer model. With a Yelp listing and reviews from current customers you can improve your online presence and put new customers at ease by showing them reviews from current and past customers. This is a recurring Social Media theme and part of the reason it is becoming very important, reviews from Human Customers help new customers decide if they would like to do business with you AND help search engine robots decide if a website is relevant as a search result and therefore improves its organic ranking.
Its not all ++ with Yelp, you can get negative reviews as well as positive reviews, both of which you can and should reply to. In our experience whether a negative review is a problem or not is really determined by how you handle it and the response you make to the review. GROBYO as parts of our Online marketing package can take care of your Online presence and make sure even a negative can be turned into a positive when it is handled correctly. you have options for managing your own organic reviews which can be accessed via an organic search result (eg: Google search) under your company name, product or service or via a Yelp search. There is also the option of Paid advertising on Yelp at the CPM or cost per impression basis.
Organic: Using your Yelp listing under Company name or Products/Services and reviews from customers, you can occupy another organic search result on a Google or Bing page where new/potential customers can find you and see what existing and past human customers have thought of your products or services.
Paid Advertising: Yelp offers paid advertising on a CPM (cost per impression basis) as a searcher lands on a yelp results page for one of your competitors or on a category search he call also be shown a paid advert for your products or services. Here yet again you are reaching a potential customer who may never have heard of you but is searching for products or services you supply.
The above is by no means and exhaustive list of social media options available but it is the basis for a good starting point for discussions. Some of the above will be a viable option nearly all businesses but not all of the above is for all businesses, GROBYO will work with you inside the guidelines of your overall marketing plan and your specific projects to determine the best overall means to get your online message out and on theme going forward.