Technologies which allowed the Internet users to establish communications through the functions of social platforms predestined their success. As a result, social platforms accumulated billions of Internet users which gained attention of marketers willing to develop their businesses. This partially caused the need to promote businesses in social networks to gain traffic and/or attract attention to a brand as a whole or particularly to a product or a service. Thus, social media marketing (SMM) has become an inherent marketing tool.
The history of the market of website (application) development, support and optimization predetermined vague definition of social media marketing. Currently social media marketing is mistakenly referred to as traditional advertising, and the attitude towards this industry is suspicious. Essentially, SMM is far from shamanism, since it relies on the behavioral characteristics of users who use these or that social platforms to communicate. That is why SMM is a series of actions to promote a business with the purpose of traffic acquisition and attention gain to a brand (or product/service). Methods of operation of SMM specialists compulsorily imply the consideration of algorithms implemented by the developers of social platforms.
Certainly, if we simplify the term SMM to a technology of interaction with consumer, we can call SMM a tool to attract them (consumers). However, even with such unrestricted rendering we cannot correlate SMM with traditional advertising since it is incorrect.
Platforms used for SMM
Social media marketing technologies are being implemented with the use of social platforms. In most cases entrepreneurs and even marketers only consider social networks, but this narrow-mindedness is rather restricting them from complete and successful using of other social platforms for SMM purposes.
There are enough social platforms to actualize ambitions of entrepreneurs. Moreover, they are constantly improving, thanks to which users are being notified of function or algorithm updates.
Currently the following platforms can be referred to as social ones:
- Social networks;
- Authorial or shared blogs;
- Forums and conferences;
- Video and photo hostings;
- Social media (civil journalism, UGC websites/applications);
- Social media storages which include social libraries and encyclopedias;
- Document networking services;
- Dating services;
- Search services (objects, events, people, answers), crowdfunding platforms and so on;
- Social catalogues and bookmarks;
Location and recommendation services
Not all platforms are suitable to solve tasks assigned in SMM strategies with currently available technologies of SMM. However, tendencies allow making a conclusion than in the nearest future SMM specialists will master all types of platforms.
SMM is a regulated process with a limited time for a task
Since the purpose of SMM campaigns is to gain traffic or attention to a brand (product/service), a specialist planning to actualize it defines the assessment criteria of the campaign results. With that the campaign lead time is determined along with platforms and tools used to launch a campaign. One should undoubtedly determine the tasks and set objectives, below is a list of the most important ones:
- Community building;
- Drawing of attention to a community;
- Formation of the community core;
Community support and further development. Tasks based solely on gaining general attention to a brand (product/service), for instance, through the development of digital product (a game/application) are less common.
To solve a task SMM specialist uses a range of complicated processes implying the generation of interest of the certain social platform users to a brand (product/service). Usually it requires a research of preferences of the audience which a specialist is going to address to establish communication. If we speak about the community building, it should be customized and meet expectations of the target audience. Drawing of attention to a community should also include the promotional types expected by the audience. Pay attention that particularities related to the mentioned processes will be considered in more detail in other issues of the series of articles “Gold in networks, or SMM for a small business”.
However, no matter what tasks SMM managers solve, they need to regularly monitor trends, news and interests of the target audience. Dynamics of processes in the social networks and in several other platforms requires careful attention and immediate reaction when the situation spirals out of control. In case there is a negative background in the brand (product/service) aura, an SMM manager should know how to eliminate it, and the solutions should be appropriate in terms of strategy of the SMM campaign.
Content as a decisive factor of the SMM campaign success
In order to understand how to attract users of a social platform to a community one needs to grasp the type of content they consume. One user group can be interested in images and photographs, another one – in news headings; the third group can like advice and recommendations. But no matter what the content type is, quality matters a lot. The most promising content attracts many users and encourages them to distribute the content themselves. This statement is completely relevant to the content of text materials as well as content of images and photographs.
In case when the published content in a community is unique and emotional, and users distribute it actively, we can state the “virus” component of such content. Within the context of this material its “virusness” demonstrates the positive dynamics of the community construction, and this with a high probability will help achieve the set objectives in a short period of time.
An entrepreneur deciding to conduct an SMM campaign should know that experiments with strongly pronounced emotional content can play a low-down trick. Therefore all decisions should be taken judiciously with the consideration of all risks, since the content should be produced for people and be useful to them.
When talking to entrepreneurs we often hear very diverse opinions among which disappointment is sounding frequently. During the conversation it turns out that disappointment in SMM is caused by false expectations. There are different circumstances for these expectations: someone believed gossip, someone was misguided by a low qualified SMM specialist or strategist, and someone was caught in the fraud nets. In the next article “Expectations, disappointments and success of an entrepreneur” I will be talking about what results can be expected from SMM and how not to get disappointed.
MOST POPULAR SOCIAL MEDIA PLATFORMS FOR SMALL BUSINESS:
FACEBOOK.COM – Facebook – Log In or Sign Up. Create an account or log in to Facebook. Connect with friends, family and other people you know. Share photos and videos, send messages and get updates.
TWITTER.COM – A micro-blogging social media site that has been around since 2004, Twitter has an estimated 300 million users world-wide. It has been described as SMS of the internet, because posts are short, sweet and to-the-point.
YOUTUBE.COM – Enjoy the videos and music you love, upload original content, and share it all with friends, family, and the world on YouTube.
PLUS.GOOGLE.COM – Google+. Google+ is a place to connect with friends and family, and explore all of your interests. Share photos, send messages, and stay in touch with the people and topics you care about.
LINKEDIN.COM – World’s Largest Professional Network | LinkedIn. 400 million+ members | Manage your professional identity. Build and engage with your professional network. Access knowledge, insights and opportunities.
PINTEREST.COM – Pinterest • The world’s catalog of ideas. Find and save recipes, parenting hacks, style inspiration and other ideas to try.
RYZE.COM – Ryze – the original social network for business.
TALKBIZNOW.COM – Talkbiznow – Business services for the business community. Talkbiznow is a web-based business community that provides business services for small businesses and professionals. Our members can network, collaborate with each other, promote and do business online at Talkbiznow for free.
AFFLUENCE.ORG – Affluence · Make Life Better.
QUORA.COM – Quora – The best answer to any question.
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