Emergence of Social Media
Emerging in the 1990s, social media in the first decade of the 21st Century catapulted the evolution of the connectivity potential offered by the Internet. And its subsequent and continuing growth has been nothing short of exponential. From the early days where online connections among individuals and companies of similar interests took place via basic e-mail, forums, and public or private chat rooms, social media began to arrive on the scene.
Social Media Platforms
Though there are many sites providing a platform for social networking, today four major networks are: Facebook.com, YouTube. com (owned by Google) Twitter.com, and LinkedIn (a more professional network than a social network). But understand one important fact about all of these platforms: While any person or company can create a Facebook page, post videos on YouTube. open a Twitter account. or join the LinkedIn network, the key to making it work is to generate “subscribers.” “followers,” or “fans.” This is the social media equivalent to ·’permission-based marketing” for e-mail. By subscribing to a social media network, the individual is declaring he or she wants to hear from you on a continuing basis; the posts or uploads an individual makes on his/her account are then automatically distributed to all subscribers.
How do you gain subscribers, followers, or fans?
It’s simple. You have to give them information that they’re interested in hearing or learning about. A second key to using social media marketing effectively is to understand that while it’s free in its basic form, there’s an evolving variety of paid advertising methodologies. It also carries a cost in the time and effort you must devote to it on a regular basis. Posting to a Facebook page, or YouTube or Twitter account once every month or two isn’t going to get you any results. Weekly is better. In most cases, daily (or several times per day) is even better. Just as with any other marketing initiative, it requires dedicated effort on a consistent basis. Without that, you won’t get results.
A final key to using social media effectively is to understand your markets and which media outlet or combination of outlets might be better at reaching your prospects. For example, if you’re selling business to-consumer, you’ll be able to see much better results with Facebook, YouTube, or Twitter than you will with LinkedIn. But for business-to-business marketing, LinkedIn provides you with connections through friends and friends of friends of friends to obtain an introduction to that purchasing manager at one of your targeted corporate prospects.