Internet marketing primarily consists of a few categories in various stages of consumer engagement. Search engine marketing, search engine optimization, affiliate marketing, banner/text ad marketing, email marketing and please use whatever buzz word you want for the sixth category. OK. I'll say it. Social media marketing. And, there's probably another stage or two of marketing I left out.
The end goal with all of these methods is to drive traffic to a Web site and convert a consumer into a sale. Remember those two points traffic and sales. I'm not talking about branding or other components, because in different ways all of the above categories mentioned achieve this, some more obtrusive than others, some more effective than others. I'm strictly talking about the four Ps here: product, place, pricing and promotion.
Product and pricing is pretty much self explanatory. The place in this case is an online point of purchase, but it could also be an offline point of purchase. Lastly we get to the final P, Promotion.
The principles of social media marketing are the same as everything else, with the exception of communities that ultimately form conversations. Social media marketing in general is a two-way marketing method, where as the rest are all one-way marketing methods.
Promotion → Communication → Online Communities = Social Media Marketing.
Facebook, Twitter, and the other social networking platforms are the core tools of social media. These facilitators of the message are used to create conversations and build communities around a brands product or services. Brands that foster, encourage, and contribute to the conversation are the ones who are creating brand awareness, brand identity, and ultimately increasing sales. Brands that create content that tells a story and enables a community to rally behind it, and spread the message are the ones who understand the essence of social media marketing.
Key aspects of social media marketing.
Content created by and published by the user for the user is social media marketing. Brands can be the catalyst for the content starter, but it's the consumers contribution that will carry the message.
Creating buzz in the form of video, tweets or blog postings that enable and drive consumers to share and spread the message. Content that is replicated by the end users is priceless word of mouth marketing. Re-tweets is a good example of this.
Buzz creates virility, and this is the core element of social media marketing. Create the message that will get people talking and rest assured it will spread like a wildfire.
Build the platforms that enable conversations and form communities. Facebook fan pages are a good example of this, so is Twitter, and blogs as well. These platforms enable the end user, your consumer, and your brand to promote your message. Communication always two-way is the glue that
binds social media marketing. Contribute to the conversations, never try to control them because it can backfire. The last thing you want is the wrong message spreading, and once it spreads off your platforms it can be a fire that you can not put out.
Empower the crowd
Create compelling content, tell a story and contribute to the conversation. Empower your users to rally behind your message, spread it, share it and talk about it, and you will have the anitodte for a sucessful social media marketing campaign.