With the growth of sites like Facebook and Twitter and Pinterest, it’s no surprise that webmasters are looking at different ways to use the social networking sites to promote their content. Is social media marketing effective? Some swear by it and others swear about it. Like any other marketing tool, it depends on how you use it.
You see those follow buttons on every blog so you know that most bloggers are participating in at least a couple social networks. But I’ve read the comments on a lot of blog posts about social media marketing and many bloggers consider it a complete waste of time.
Over the years I’ve set up several Twitter and Facebook accounts and I’ve joined six or eight social bookmarking sites and I, too, used to think it was a big waste of time. But then I decided to give social media marketing my complete, undivided attention for about four days and I found out I’d been doing a few things wrong.
We all know all the basics – get in there, socialize, meet new people, share links, retweet, blah, blah, blah. But here are three important lessons I learned from a four-day Twitter marathon:
Choose appropriate networks
Not all social sites are appropriate for your content. Or, to put it another way, you may get better results from one site than you would another. For example, if you use a lot of video content on your blog you might have better success using You Tube or Twitter. If you’re into weird news you might have better success with Reddit. If you’re a mommy blogger or a news blogger you might do better with Facebook.
If one social network seems to be a waste of time, move on to another. Don’t know where to turn next? Look at your analytics and see where your traffic is already coming from. That might give you a hint. Better yet, ask your readers which social networks they’re using.
Choose the right audience
The first half-dozen Twitter accounts I set up ended up having a good number of followers but no click-throughs and no conversions. In all social networks you have to start out following other people and it’s this first group that sets the tone. Instead of following people who are in the same niche, look for people who would be interested in what you’re promoting.
For example, if you’re promoting wine on your website it’s not going to do you much good to follow a bunch of vineyards and wine suppliers. They’re trying to sell wine, too. Instead, look for every day people who talk about drinking wine. They’re the people who will be buying.
Be honest about yourself
Yes, it’s important to use keywords in your profiles, but I really believe it’s even more important to state your intentions. Let me explain…
One of the biggest complaints about social media marketing is that it wastes so much time. You have to get in there and “pretend” to socialize, share other users’ content, and “participate.” But you’re trying to run a business and you’re right – you do waste a disproportionate amount of time “socializing.”
I recently set up a new Facebook account and decided to try something completely different. I’ve let my followers know that I’m marketing a product. Yes, I’ll like and share their content when I have time, but I’m not here to socialize, I’m using Facebook as a promotional tool for my business. If they don’t like it, they don’t have to follow me. And I don’t have to feel guilty every time I post a link.
The result? I have more traffic coming from my current Twitter and Facebook accounts than I ever thought possible and these sites are now key players in my marketing plan.