YouTube is now in the top 5 UK sites, Facebook is the most searched for brand in the UK and Twitter now ranks as the 38th most popular website in the UK. With statistics like these it should be easy for any marketer or business owner to work out just how much business they might be missing out on by not being involved with social media.
The competitive intelligence service HitWise reported, as long ago as April 2009 that we had the first signs of online retailers getting less website traffic from paid search and more from social media sites.
The danger for most companies is that they are rushing to get on the bandwagon of Twitter, YouTube, Flickr and Facebook. In their haste they risk exposing themselves to a new, potentially lucrative, audience, without having made the necessary strategic decisions about their message, their user profile, or knowing anything about the social networking community rules.
Setting up a profile, uploading video or some pictures, posting something on Twitter, these are all fairly easy tasks to do and don’t require much skill. Many business owners do not see the need or cannot justify the cost of hiring a social media professional to do this for them. However, leaving your ‘social media marketing’ at basic profile creation is like traditional print publishing – you have achieved a one-way only communication channel with little or no interaction. Just check your web analytics and see how many visitors your social media profiles have sent to your website so far.
True social media marketing is a highly interactive two-way communication. Success depends on, and is measured by, the level of reader engagement. To achieve a high level of reader engagement you need use the right tone, post an appropriate message with a high added value element as well as strong, keyword rich content.
Many of the top social networking websites have strict Terms and Conditions which must be observed. In their ignorance – because they do not bother to read them – many companies have managed to get themselves banned from using various channels by accidentally violating the rules. This is just one reason why companies who are serious about social media marketing should consider outsourcing some or all of their social networking to professionals such as WSI IMS.
The social media space is still young and growing fast so there is the opportunity for some experimentation however make sure you don’t turn your customers into ‘guinea pigs’. Social Media is also the most up and coming form of online advertising and whilst it is still in the early stages and needs further refinement it does provide reasonable value when compared to traditional paid search marketing.
Think again about social media marketing – this should be at or near the top of the list of potential promotion channels for any online marketing department or SME business owner.
If you cannot resource all the needs of your social media campaigns, get some help. By all means you should retain ownership, but hire external expertise such as WSI IMS to help with:
- Defining a strategy,
- Setting up customised pages & profiles
- Launching, optimising and advising you along the way.
Don’t ignore social media marketing , it really is here to stay!
Do you agree? Please leave a comment or visit WSI IMS – WSI Digital Marketing Services in Surrey, Sussex, Kent and throughout the South East of England.