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Social Media Marketing Overview: What it Is and How It Can Be Used?

Social media offers a great opportunity to reach your target audience, increase sales online and make a difference.

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Let’s take a look at different social media sites and how to use them to reach your target market.

Social Media News Websites

This type of social media site has a distinctive feature: users can submit links to Web content (articles or podcasts, etc.) they find interesting. These sites can be thought of as content curation or social filtering sites. The best and most interesting content rises to the top.

Reddit and Digg are examples of social news websites.

The key to marketing your business via social media news sites is to provide valuable content, not just marketing your products and services. This can lead to negative feedback and even bans from these websites. You can link to your website, or another relevant resource, if it makes sense. However, the main focus should be on providing valuable information. Content marketing is the key here.

Social Media Networking Sites

A social networking site’s distinctive feature is its ability to create a personal profile. These sites are focused on connecting with others and the individual.

Adults and businesses have joined the social network bandwagon today with more useful sites such as LinkedIn (social media for professionals) or Facebook (social media for everyone), it seems.

Social media news sites are focused on providing quality content. However, the goal of social media networking websites is to build connections and one-on-one relationships. Social media networking sites can be used as a way to make connections and build relationships that could lead to joint venture partnerships, business opportunities, or sales.

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Social Media Photo and Video Sharing

The photo and video sharing sites are one of the most popular social media platforms. Although social media sites like Facebook allow users upload videos and photos, standalone services remain immensely popular.

Instagram is the most used social media platform to upload photos, while YouTube is the most used site for sharing videos. Pinterest is becoming a popular site for sharing photos. Pinterest is a great way to increase website traffic if you are in a visually-oriented niche.

Microblogging Blogging Websites

These services are sometimes called “presence applications” and allow users to post short messages (similar to blogging) and keep up with their friends’ posts (that’s where social media comes in).

Twitter is the most used microblogging platform. Twitter allows you to post a maximum of 280 characters and allows you follow multiple users (“friends”) from one dashboard.

Twitter is unique because, like LinkedIn, it allows you to connect with influential people in your area. Also, like Facebook, Twitter can be used to keep your followers updated with the latest content and promotions.

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Social Media Review Sites

Yelp is a local business review site. This shows how social reviews can either make or break an organization.

Two other examples of social reviews that can help or hurt a company are the Amazon user submitted reviews and the eBay feedback system.

The key is to encourage customers to leave reviews and ratings about your products and services on these sites. This will increase your credibility, and ultimately sales.

If you are selling books on Amazon, you can encourage your customers to leave reviews and ratings on Amazon. You should encourage customers to leave Yelp reviews if you own a local business. If you sell products on eBay, you should.

Social media for everyone

Businesses can use social media to expand their reach online and offline. You don’t need to use every social media site. In fact, you can reach your target audience more effectively if you use as many as you like. These are some guidelines for how to use social media best for your business.

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  • Facebook: Great site for marketing to general consumers, but also useful for niche markets and businesses.
  • LinkedIn: Ideal for those who enjoy one-to-one networking. This is a great tool for business to business.
  • Pinterest: Great for visual businesses (physical products, interior design etc.).
  • YouTube: This is the place to go if you are willing to invest the time and effort in a video marketing strategy. Note: Facebook video marketing is huge right now.
  • Yelp! Yelp! : Reviews are the best way to find out what customers think about your restaurant or main street store.
  • Google Business: Same as above, must-have for local businesses.
  • SnapChat: right now great if you’re targeting a younger audience/millennials.

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