Social Media Marketing for Dummies

I really don’t want to leave anyone in the dark here. I am going to take a moment to give a brief over view of the different social networking platforms that I will be discussing in future blog posts.

Here’s an extremely simple example of traditional marketing:

“Buy Toms.”

Here’s an extremely simple example of social media marketing:

“I love my Toms, look at how cute they are on me (insert picture here).”

Who are consumers more likely to listen to? The billboard sitting on the side of the road telling them to buy the Toms? Or to their friend who just posted about their recent Toms experience, all over their Facebook page- where all of their friends have now told them how great they look? Basically, social media marketing has given us the ability to set up a free booth, marketing ourselves, our product or service in front of millions and millions of people. During this time, we also get to witness everyone’s reaction and interact with the consumers. Did I mention it’s free? Here is a brief break-down of some of the social media platforms available to us:

Myspace: Once upon a time there was this networking tool called Myspace. I once referred to Myspace with my 9-year-old cousin this past year, and she looked at me in disgust and scowled, “What. Is. THAT?” Well my dear, it’s Facebook’s very old and tired big sister. However, Myspace is nothing less than a cultural phenomenon. Myspace was the first time I witnessed a personal media-hosting site where I could create “my own space” on the World Wide Web. It ‘s still very much apart of the social networking world, but in 2008 Myspace showed a major slowdown.

Facebook: Whether you buy into this social-networking-craze or not, please go see the film The Social Network. It’s a great story of how Facebook was born into the hands of Mark Zuckerberg. Facebook has +300 million users. Everyone is on Facebook for their own reasons, but either way- everyone is on Facebook, and they all want to talk. It’s not just for college students anymore. This social site is made up of 4 components: profiles, groups, pages and events. Each of these components can be utilized to market who you are, and/or what your business has to offer. I solely blame Facebook for reconnecting me with all my childhood and high school friends, if you don’t have a Facebook you aren’t cool.

Twitter: I am new to Twitter, I was not cool. I will admit, I thought it was juvenile. The only exposure I have had to Twitter is listening to my 19 year-old sister giggle every time Kim Kardashian or Joe Jonas “tweeted” something useless about their lives.  I gave in, and now I kind of love it. This is all it is: You get 140 characters to announce or “tweet” to your followers anything you want. When you hit the send button, your followers have your words right in their hands via text. I personally select to follow people who offer valuable information to me; it’s like an infinite blog roll of things I actually care about.

LinkedIn: Is a social networking platform for professionals. LinkedIn is your profile on steroids, with a lot less capabilities than Facebook.  LinkedIn definitely lacks that “now” affect which most of the other sites have, you could update your info on this site once every 6 months and still be current. Be careful, your past, present and future bosses ARE on LinkedIn, be good.

Google+: I am very new to Google+, however so is everyone else. I haven’t decided how I feel about it. Google+ does have the “now” effect. You can connect with others and form circles- it is very clean and professional. According to my professor, Dr. Bret Simmons, Google+ will dominate Facebook in a couple years, as Google+ has more capabilities.

Pinterest: This site cracks me up. Everyone has the ability to “pin” to their categorized profile. You would pin pictures you take, a cool quote you read, maybe a great idea for a bride, or a tasty recipe you just saw in a magazine. Others can look at your profile too and “pin” your ideas to their wall, everyone can leave comments and thoughts. User be aware: Pinning is addicting. Can’t. Stop. Pinning.

Blog posting: The wonderful world of blogging is a MUST. If you have a passion, interest, or great idea- tell the world about it and blog. Simple sites such a WordPress.com offer free (there’s that lovely word, again) hosting capabilities where you start with a cool little template and you can turn your site into whatever you want. Look at my blog, looks ok right? I had no clue what I was doing, I still have no clue what I am doing, and this is what happened! It’s foolproof really. You want to utilize the “now” platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Google+ to direct people to your blog. This is the ultimate goal for everyone, especially business owners- DRIVE THE TRAFFIC TO YOUR MAIN SITE. The blog is your home base where you give away the bread and butter, and pull people in.

That’s social media, for me- in a nutshell.

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