It is no exaggeration to say that the social media has changed the face of marketing beyond all recognition in the last 5 years. Whereas prior to the explosion of different social media sites marketing was a case of using above the line advertising or a targeting of specific groups by readership profile today the landscape is very different.
The social channels that are available to the marketing expert or even the inexperienced business owner have made the task of reaching the target demographic much easier. Today establishing a brand presence on the Internet using a number of social media channels is extremely simple and need not take up a lot of time. The appropriate channel is also easy to identify due to the numerous articles and guides that can be found by using any one of the many search engines available.
However some research is required, even if it is just spending a few hours on the Internet before a decision is taken as to which social media site or combination of sites is selected for the marketing or brand activities.
Many of the sites are specifically designed for the placement of visual images (still and video). These are ideal for brands which have consumer facing products which can be found on supermarket shelves or which are available for purchase over the Internet. Other sights are more general in nature and feature content that is usually a combination of images, video and copy. These are appropriate for almost any business.
There are two main challenges when using the social media for marketing purposes, firstly is the development of appropriate content and the second is the management of that content. Creating unique and engaging content is one of the ways that the business can promote sharing of information on the brand across the social media network. Not only will the information be shared and spread more rapidly but the creation of quality content will also be rewarded by increased visibility in search engine rankings.
The content should be professionally produced and feature value added information that the user will find useful. Often companies turn to SEO or content marketing specialists for advice on how to develop exceptional content that is suitable for their target audience.
The second challenge is managing the time that it takes to interact with the audiences that are consuming content or even just visiting the brands social media sites. The interactive nature of the social media makes it tremendously powerful in reaching these audiences, but without engaging with the audience on a regular basis the social media can turn from being a positive marketing tool into a negative one that can damage brand and corporate reputation.
Many businesses want to manage their online presence, but simply do not have the resources to do so effectively. In cases like this outsourcing the management (and measurement)of social media sites should be evaluated. When in doubt as to the effectiveness of a social media program the business should always seek the advice of a professional.