Social media marketing is so expansive we could write this blog solely on its contents. But we are going to try to focus on how social media can be used in our search engine optimization strategy before we continue on with Off The Page factors. Hopefully this won’t take all week, so let’s not digress.
A lot of this content can be found in Liana Evans’s book, Social Media Marketing: Strategies for Engaging in Facebook, Twitter and Other Social Media.
Social media is the creation and exchange of user-generated content for the use of social communication.
Social media is unique to marketing in that it is your audience that controls and drives the conversation. They no longer have one voice (the company) to listen and control the conversation (Probably much to the chagrin of the Don Draper’s of the world). So if companies want to siphon or control the conversation they have to be involved with social media.
There are several different types of social media, and your audience is likely to use and be found on more than just one of these platforms.
- Social News Sites – Users submit stories and articles to a community. That community can then vote up or down. The more votes a submission gets, the more chance it has at appearing on the front page of the site. these types of sites can be a great traffic driver to your site in just a short period of time. Popular social news sites are Digg and Reddit.
- Social Networking – Users post comments and share photos and videos to their community through their “walls” or “circles” or “groups.” These types of sites have different kinds of audiences, so don’t just create a Facebook page and think you are reaching your audience. Popular social networking sites are Facebook, Google+, and LinkedIn.
- Social Bookmarking – Allows users to bookmark and share their favorite Web sites with a community. This allows you to find similar types of Web sites like yours, especially if you have a really specific niche site. And, similar to social news sites, community members can increase the popularity of your site and help drive traffic to your site. Popular social bookmarking sites are Delicious.
- Social Sharing – Sites that focus on a particular type of media. Members upload videos or photos and can add descriptions, titles, and tags. Popular social sharing sites are YouTube and Flickr.
- Social Events – Allows you to post public events (either physical or virtual location) and promote them through your contacts. Some of these sites allow you to post your pictures through other social sites like Flickr or create tags through Delicious. Popular social events sites are Eventful and Upcoming.
- Blogs – One of the old forms of UGC on the Web, blogs allow users to publish thoughts, opinions, ideas, and interests. There are many different types of blogs (SEO *cough* blog *cough*) and allows the user to tailor their blog for their specific audience. Popular blogs are myseoadventure – what did you think I was going to put here?
- Microblogging – Read above, but abbreviated. The most popular microblog is Twitter.
- Wikis – Are Web sites that you can create, modify, add, and delete content and are often collaboratively. The most popular Wiki is Wikipedia.
Now that you know the different types of social media, you need to define who your audience is and where they hang out. You have to go where your audience is to engage with them.
Understanding who your audience is and what they are doing can save time, resources, and money. Sometimes your audience is having a conversation in platform and sometimes your audience may by in multiple platforms. It is your job to find you audience and build your social media strategy around them.
Liana Evans sums up the importance of knowing your audience.
“Understanding where your audience is and what they are doing in social media circles is at the foundation of whether the social media strategy you implement is successful or not.”