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I'm not dating, so why bother with social media?

DATE PUBLISHED: March 08, 2011
If you think “social media” is just about Facebook, dating and “tweeting” about your weekend escapades, think again. Because social media marketing can be a boon to your business, if you use it correctly! And by correctly we mean coming up with content that is remarkable, unique and newsworthy.

So what really is social media marketing? Well, it’s changed the way businesses communicate. It’s all about generating exposure, opportunities, and, ultimately – sales. It helps you achieve branding of your product or service, while using it as another channel for marketing communications, just the same way you’d use radio or cable TV. You do this by using social networks, online communities, blogs (like this one, for example!) and many other collaborative media sites. And it’s not just about Facebook. You’ll find many other avenues open to you for social media marketing, like MySpace, LinkedIn, Twitter, Digg, Stumbleupon and others. And if you want to post video - or commercials - that would hopefully go “viral” – try sites like Flickr or YouTube. If it’s a really “hot” video, something that makes people desperately want to watch it over and over again, then 20 million people will be watching it by tomorrow morning.

When social media marketing first started, companies used it as a “monologue” with their customers. Now, social media allows companies to have a dialogue with customers, and gain valuable feedback and input as they create different messages. Now, social media marketing is all about sharing and connecting. Here’s what it all boils down to:

• Social media marketing allows each person to connect with others
• Customers not only read the social media you put out, they publish it as well. This way they can share the content with their own network of readers.
• Social media is about forming relationships with customers – a more personal relationship than any other form of media

Because social media marketing is so hot, you might assume that all you have to do is set up a Twitter account or Facebook fan page and you’re done. That’s like buying full-page ads in magazines you’ve never heard of before. It requires a well thought out marketing strategy.

Once you become proficient with social media marketing, you can invite your customers and potential customers to read your blog, visit your Facebook page, listen to your RSS feed or Podcast, become a “fan,” – whoa! – Sound like too many unfamiliar terms to juggle? Then I’d recommend that you get involved with a marketing firm that really understands how to put the power of social media marketing to work for you.