If you are considering social media marketing for your business, remember to emphasize the “social” more so than the “marketing.”

Why? Because social media users seek genuine communication, not marketing spin. Nowhere is that more apparent than on social networking sites like Facebook. To make the most out of your efforts to market with social media, you’d do well to get some advice from a marketing firm or, at the very least, read a few tips on how to use these sites.

Using Facebook and Other Social Networking Sites for Marketing

According to O’Reilly Media, Facebook demographics have shifted. Once thought of as an online hangout for high school kids and university students, it is now increasingly the networking site of choice for older groups.

In January, 2009, O’Reilly released its 2009 Facebook Demographics and Statistics report. The fastest growing demographic on Facebook is users aged 35 to 54. The growth in this demographic is off the charts – 276% in the last 6 months of 2008.

 

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Users aged 55 and over are also discovering Facebook. This demographic jumped by 194% in the same time period. The younger crowd is still there though. The number of 25 to 34-year-olds using Facebook doubles about every six months.

Clearly, there are abundant marketing opportunities here. But you need to know how to approach your audience right.

 

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Social Media Marketing is All About the Soft Sell

To start marketing on Facebook, create page for your business. Once you have established this page, you can build a list of fans. Fans can follow your business and receive updates whenever you add something to your page. The key is to add information of value so people don’t feel they’re being given a hard sell.

Use notes to tell people about upcoming trade shows or conferences you will be attending. Use the mini-feed to keep people connected to your blog. You can talk about new and exciting things in your company, without sounding like you’re selling.

 

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Keep it interesting with photos and video clips. Not only will you promote your company, you will give your business real personality, and allow visitors to see the people behind the company name.

Create a group if you really want to personalize your contact with users. People join groups with specific interests, and moderating a group can help you reach a specific audience. Keep in mind that the group is an entity unto itself, and not a page about your business so it needs to be handled accordingly. Messages sent to the group are delivered directly to member’s Inboxes, so ensure that what you are sharing is of real value to people.

Keeping Up with Social Media Marketing

Herein lies the real challenge with social media marketing – upkeep. You cannot let your page get stale. But between writing blog posts, moderating a group, managing RSS feeds and just keeping up with the communication you generate, social media marketing can be very labour-intensive.

If you need help planning or managing your social media marketing strategy, a training course or online marketing consultant can help.

 

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And remember, you only have one chance to make a good first impression. If you don’t handle your social media marketing right from the beginning, you could end up doing more harm than good. Take the time to learn how to do it right, so you can reap the benefits for a long time to come.

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