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Online Social Marketing Guide

Social Online Marketing is one of the up and coming Online Marketing tactics. Social Online Marketing is done by using Social Networking websites, which is part of the Web 2.0. Social Online Marketing is not only a popular and effective strategy of marketing, but it is easy and fun. By promoting yourself and your company into the online community (outside of your own website) you are participating in Social Online Marketing.

So what exactly is Social Online Marketing? Social Online Marketing requires the use of Social Networking sites such as MySpace, FaceBook, Digg, Blogger and YouTube to add/edit content for others to be able to access. Information placed on such sites allows consumers to not only view it, but also link to it and/or post their own comments about it. The end result of Social Online Marketing is to increase visibility on Social Networking Sites, create inbound links, and increase traffic to your website which can be tracked thru analytics software.

Not only are Social Networking sites useful for Social Online Marketing, their content can also be informational to its viewers. Social Networking sites can allow people to catch up on trends in the Internet world. There are many blogs for example that offer information solely on Internet news. Social Networking sites don’t just give information on the Internet; they can also give readers access to almost any information imaginable.

Although consumers are in control of Social Networking websites, they don’t have full control; Social Online Marketers can also participate in these sites. Customers don’t necessarily want to be marketed to all the time, but they want to be communicated with, which can be done through online discussions. Consumers are out there expressing their thoughts, opinions, recommendations and complaints about your products regardless and not accessing/engaging in these conversations is ignoring an excellent opportunity. By engaging in conversations with your customers and hearing their thoughts, you can get feedback on what changes/improvements your product can use as well as give you and opportunity to address their views thru your comments. All the hype of Social Online Marketing is causing an exponential growth of its users and its possible uses and an online marketing tool.

Before starting your Social Online Marketing campaign it is important to think about what exactly it is that you are marketing. Brainstorming about your Online Marketing goals should include research of your target demographic and your key competitors.

Once able to locate your target audience it will enable you to answer key points that define what Social Online Marketing tactics will be successful. The following are questions to keep in mind about your users when determining how to proceed in your campaign: where do they spend a majority of their time when online? (or sometimes even when offline) and what are their hobbies, interests and needs?

By researching your leading competitors you can gain knowledge of how they have tackled Social Online Marketing. Whether competitors have published in wikis, posted on blogs or created a myspace page they should all be easily traceable through their website. Many Online Marketing attempts can be found just by performing a link search of their website.

You can create a custom Social Online Marketing plan for your website since you now know who your consumers are, information about them and what your competitors have done.

Although Social Online Marketing is relatively easy to perform, it is nearly impossible to engage in every single website out there, nor is not necessary (in most situations) to use every form of Social Online Marketing. The more relevant avenues your campaign exhausts the more likely you are to have a successful results, which more often than not means the more time you have to spend on your Online Marketing campaign the better your results will be.

There are massive amounts of Social Online Marketing websites currently available, with literally hundreds of new ones emerging each month making it even more impossible to access them all.

Examples of Social Online Marketing websites include, but are not limited to:

  1. MySpace is a Social Networking website that revolves around networks of friends. Friends on Social Networking sites are not necessarily “friends” outside of the Internet; they can be people just interested in learning and keeping up to date about you and/or your company. Each user on MySpace can interact in blogs, groups, view/add photos, music and much more. A Social Online Marketer can post a bulletin about a sale they are having for friends to view and be attracted to visit their website.
  2. FaceBook is another Social Networking website that gives users the ability to keep in contact with friends. People can publish notes, upload photos, view news from friends, join networks and so much more. By posting a photo of your brand on your companies FaceBook page it allows friends to view your product and hopefully generate traffic to your website.
  3. YouTube is a video sharing/distributing Social Networking website. It allows visitors that don’t register the ability to watch videos or those who do register the ability to access the websites full potential, offering many of the applications that sites like MySpace do. YouTube is one of the fastest growing and largest Social Networking communities currently available, so it is a great avenue to perform Social Online Marketing.
  4. Blogger is one of the more popular blogging networks. By commenting in open-ended conversational marketing it allows the community to have a lot of control over conversations. Social Online marketers can create their own blog to share specific information to the community and plug their own product/brand.

In most Social Online Marketing communities it is recommended to not start out by promoting your brand or website. If you start out by “spamming” you are likely to get kicked out of that social community. Not only could the site administrators off you from their site, but it could also scare consumers away from your direct online marketing tactics.

What is the next step? Initiating contact with your customers is important, but it is just as useful to continue to keep contact with them. You can’t just start something and not finish. Starting posts on a blog is great, but you need to show users that you are not just visiting, but are there often to listen to them. Customers are likely to add comments or thoughts to your posting which would in turn require a response from you.

Social Online Marketing sites are useful, but its content needs to be easily accessible by searchers. By making access to your Social Online Marketing attempts possible thru a link on your website it makes less work for your users to view them.

So you were able to define your audience, locate your customers on the Internet, build a social relationship with them and promote your brand and website thru Social Online Marketing. How can you tell if your Social Online Marketing techniques are working? Most analytic software allows goals to be set up and allows for the monitoring of conversion rates. (Note that you need to know what you are measuring first)

When just beginning your Social Online Marketing campaign it is recommended to perform one technique at a time. If using more than one Social Online Marketing technique it could be hard to tell which one elicits what results. To be certain which tactics work best, you should start your campaign by performing one Social Online Marketing form at a time. If you start a multitude of tactics at one time it will more than likely give you an excellent result, but will leave you wondering which one is better for me.

On the other hand, if you are familiar with Social Online Marketing and know which forms are necessary for your campaign it is best to perform more than more tactic at a time. By promoting multiple forms of Social Online Marketing at once it will give you quicker results than marketing just one at a time.

Still looking for more information about Social Online Marketing? WebDuck Designs' online learning center, WebDuck University, has video courses and tutorials to teach you all about Social Online Marketing and other online marketing tactics.

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