At its most basic, when marketing multitasks, social media is used as a platform to announce the latest blog entry, press release, deal, coupon, video, podcast, and more.
Taking social media marketing to the next level means online marketers create content specifically with a social media channel in mind, Twitter-only promotions, and so on.
The Right Social Media Tool for the Right Job
The social media universe is always expanding, and while there is a lot of crossover, different networks specialize in different ways of communicating.
The social media universe evolves and combines in new forms every day. To get the most ROI, these social media tools are used together. In some cases this can be done automatically, such as linking a Twitter feed to a Facebook or LinkedIn profile. The important takeaway here is not the list of individual social media sites but their subcategories. Each of these subcategories is a powerful tool in the online marketing toolbox.
- Blogging: Blogger, LiveJournal, Open Diary, TypePad, WordPress, ExpressionEngine
- Micro-blogging: Twitter, Plurk, Tumblr, Jaiku
- Social networking: Bebo, Facebook, LinkedIn, MySpace, Orkut, Skyrock, hi5
- Social network aggregation: FriendFeed
- Events: Upcoming, Eventful, Meetup, Foursquare
- Wikis: Wikipedia, PBworks, Wetpaint
- Social bookmarking (or social tagging): Delicious, StumbleUpon, Stumpedia, Google Reader, CiteULike
- Social news: Digg, Mixx, Reddit
- Opinion sites: Epinions, Yelp, MouthShut
- Photo sharing: Flickr, Zooomr, Photobucket, SmugMug
- Video sharing: YouTube
- Livecasting: Ustream.tv, Justin.tv, Skype
- Music sites: The Hype Machine, Last.fm, ccMixter
- Virtual worlds: Second Life, Forterra Systems
- Game sharing: World of Warcraft, FarmVille
Reviews and Opinions
- Product reviews: Epinions, MouthShut
- Q&A: Quenswers
- Local business reviews: Yelp, Citysearch, Yahoo! Local
A particular organization will derive substantial relationship ROI by spending more of their online marketing resources on a few industry-specific social media sites. Review sites are a great case in point.
Why Review Sites Are So Mission Critical
No matter what the organization’s mission is, there is someone reviewing it.
Find those review sites and start a dialogue. Review sites are among the topranking listing for people searching for something generic to evaluating something specific. These sites are mission critical because people searching reviews are in a transactional mind-set. These potential customers already know exactly what they want and are ready to buy now. They just need to know where. This is where a well-positioned social media placement can have a huge real-world ROI.
A stumbling block to the use of social media may be concern over possible reputation sabotage. Smart organizations prepare themselves and proactively reply to comments (when they are rational comments and deserve a reply), and trust that one or two negative comments in a sea of positive ones will be put in their proper perspective. Simply showing that your organization is actively listening can set an incredibly powerful impression. Let’s face it, organizations are not perfect, and people do not expect them to be. But being a dedicated professional and showing that there is a voice in cyberspace can make a meaningful impression. Encouraging happy clients to post comments about your organization can also boost credibility and visibility for sellability.