How Significant is the Role of Social Media Marketing For Businesses Today?Social Media Marketing Icon

Social Media Marketing now plays a vital role in the active promotion of small and large businesses alike and as an SEO Consultancy irm we believe it is  growing in importance in its influence upon site ranking and therefore an essential element for online success.
Firstly, it will create an awareness of the services and products you have to offer, helping you to quickly build your brand identity and secondly, it will drive more traffic to your site, resulting in increased sales volume and profitability for your business.
The simplest way to view social media marketing is by the following:

  1. Publication – to promote the identity of your business
  2. Distribution – to share content and business related information
  3. Association – to establish a community or network around your business

This is obviously a very simplistic way of looking at things and in the social media world there is a great deal of overlap amongst these 3 categories but this is helpful for us to identify the differences.

Publication – exposure and amplification of existing content

The first form of social media marketing is all about awareness; its about making as much noise about your business as possible in order that the online communities know who you are and what you do or what services you provide. Conversations are taking place online every minute of the day but who are they talking about? If they’re not talking about you are they talking about your competitors? If so, what are they saying and is it positive?
The key to social media marketing in promoting your business is about claiming your share of the online voice, whether it’s in forums, blogs or microblogs (like Twitter). It’s about gaining exposure for the content that you already have; monitoring what others are talking about in relation to your particular market and when others write favourably about you or your products then promote what they’ve written too!

Distribution – a content sharing community

As a result of common interests, communities have developed around sharing specific types of content with friends and other community members. Probably the most popular of these are the video site YouTube; the photography site Flickr and the news and content site Digg. Although one site that is growing in popularity is the social bookmarking site Del.icio.us, especially amongst the internet marketing community as the "social tagging" has positive seo implications to help boost rankings.
The key to using these communities from a social media marketing perspective is to identify which sites relate to your particular business or market sector i.e. which communities your audience belong to; find what content they are most interested in or is proving popular and to produce content that they will love and be willing to promote.

Association – a community based network

Perhaps the strongest element of social media marketing lies in the development of a two-way interaction between a business and their prospective customers. Gone are the days when simply having an online presence is enough. It is now vital to build relationships and interact with prospective customers in a forum where they can also communicate with one another.  In fact many larger businesses find it easier to send potential clients to somewhere like a Facebook fanpage and connect with them there; building a business based community, rather than to their website.
By far the largest social media marketing community is the Facebook community which currently boast 800 million active users, more than half of which log on each day. Other popular network groups are sites like Bebo; MySpace; Friendster and of course LinkedIn (for business professionals).

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