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How Social Media Helps Your Small Online Business Gain Market Share
Social media marketing is the process of marketing through social media sites like Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook and YouTube. By utilizing the social aspect of the web, social media marketing is able to connect and interact on a much more personalized and dynamic level than through traditional marketing.
Your corporate Web site is the foundation to a social media marketing strategy. The Web site should act as a resource; offering articles, press releases, tools, video and images for syndication. Beyond optimizing site content and code, incorporate additional Web 2.0 elements like RSS/XML feeds, comments, ratings, reviews and even forums. The Zena 21 is a good resource in this regards. The more your site is able to create a sense of community, the greater likelihood of generating, retaining and converting site traffic. Companies with multiple domains should make sure the sites play well with each other: hosting unique content and cross-linking to each other as appropriate.
Some of the most effective social media marketing strategies center around YouTube and the viral video. While often more time-consuming and expensive, YouTube can easily become the centerpiece of a larger social media campaign. Because of its social nature, YouTube can be a great way to interact with customers and get them involved with the marketing as well as the product. This site offers more insight as to why this is a good thing.
If you’re trying to use it to grow your business online, you may have joined them. You might be tired of the moving target that Facebook marketing presents. You might be annoyed at new “features” that seem to make the experience worse, not better. And of course, lots of people are talking about the latest aggravation — the question of whether or not your Page’s updates, images, and links are reaching enough of your fans. But there are things that are still working — and working well — on Facebook. So if you’re going to stick with it, let’s get into what does work. You can click here for more on this topic.
Pinterest has added new business accounts for brands who want to use pinning to market their companies. You can convert your current personal account to a business one, or you can start a brand new account as a business. Pinterest gives business account owners some new buttons, badges and widgets for their websites and blogs, as well as giving them access to some visual marketing best practices and case studies. See the Video DTP site at www.video-dtp.com. Pinterest is in the process of rolling out a brand new interface for users, and you can switch to the new look whenever you’re ready to dive in. But a word of warning — once you switch to the new look, it’s a permanent change — you can’t switch back to the old one.
The Internet has drastically altered the way in which information is shared, and has had a profound impact on marketing. Over the past few years, there has been more of a shift toward inbound techniques, while many outbound tactics have become antiquated. More businesses are finding success publishing original content rather than embedding advertisements within external content, because of the additional benefits these tactics offer, such as branding and audience growth.
Just a few years ago, businesses were limited with regard to the social media networks they could implement into their marketing campaigns, with the biggies including Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. The Influential Geek offers more information about this. Now, it seems like new social media sites are appearing all the time. While some never really get off the ground, others like Pinterest, Google+, Tumblr and Instagram have surged in popularity and have provided businesses with a plethora of new options that allow them to produce engaging content in a variety of media forms and build their audiences across more channels than ever before.
Marketing your business used to be easy. You’d have a special offer, so you’d create a flier, email or print ad for it—TV and radio, if your budget allowed—and send out the information en masse. The Niners at www.niners.ca are a good source for more info. Depending on the success of the ad, you might see extra foot traffic in your storefront or visits to your company website where you could sell more products.
Then social media happened. Now, instead of just being able to pay for guaranteed coverage, you have the added distractions of social media crowd think—where the opinions of hundreds of friends could impact how your brand’s message is received. While this can add the need for extra resources—manpower to monitor the conversation, faster customer answers, and so on—it also allows for more targeted advertising and marketing, and the ability to measure your success more effectively.
Top Social Networking Sites to Promote Your Business
Human beings are social creatures, and therefore, are dedicated to creating and participating in “social networks” in order to express and share their ideas. With the rise of the internet, people began satisfying this natural necessity in online communities such as internet forums. The evolution of these social forums resulted in today’s global social networking.
Today, everyone has heard of the most popular social network ‐ Facebook ‐ but there are many more social networks than solely Mark Zuckerberg’s popular website. Some of these are designed for sharing information, some can help you find a new job, some are used for sharing videos, music or pictures, and some are uniting members of a particular interest. Read more about social media at this site. Here is a list of the most interesting social networks there are and what makes them so remarkable.
DeviantART was launched in 2000 and is an online social network for artists and art enthusiasts. It is the largest social networking service of its kind. DeviantART aims to gather, entertain and inspire artists; it is there for them to showcase their work and discuss it with others. DeviantART also integrated chat capability features. As a registered user, you have your own profile, where your works are organized in a category-like structure including digital art, traditional art, photography and even movies. Moreover, you may download numerous stock photos and tutorials.
Yelp is another unique social network, which was founded in 2004. It helps you to find great local businesses like restaurants, hair saloons or shops. As a Yelp user, you can search reviews of local businesses as well as write your own review based on a past experience. Moreover, you can use Yelp to look for various events, lists or just chat with other users. You should click here for additional details. Every business can establish their own account to share photos and messages with other users. Similar to other social networks, the majority of Yelp reviews come from advertising that businesses are purchasing. This has resulted in Yelp receiving criticism that advertisers are affecting the reliability of Yelp’s ratings and reviews. However, Yelp has clearly stated that no one, including paying advertisers, can change or tamper with existing user reviews. You’re free to do more research on this.
SoundCloud is an online sound-sharing service that allows you to record, upload and share music or other audio recordings. Recording and uploading songs to SoundCloud can be done either privately, with specific individuals, or you share them publicly on websites or social networks. The reason SoundCloud was included in this list is that any user can find, create or share music or audio recordings amongst a large number of groups that cover every genre or style. You can read more at Petit Rocher. Thus, you can stay in touch with people that are interested in the same music genre, listen to people that are contributing in this genre and comment on the songs or recordings of others.
Badoo was launched in 2006, and today is one of the largest social networks for meeting new people. Badoo’s founders state their mission is “to provide the world’s easiest, fastest and most fun way for people to meet each other.” Thus, Badoo is mainly a dating-focused online service ‐ users of Badoo can chat with each other, set up dates and rate others pictures. Badoo has some 160 million users making it the largest dating-focused social network. Even though, it is open to people that are 18 and higher, there has been criticism that there are a lot of younger users.
Myspace is a social network launched in August, 2003. At one point, Myspace was the most visited social networking site, surpassing Google as the most visited website in the US in 2006. Shortly after Myspace was surpassed by Facebook in terms of unique visitors and since then, its user rate has constantly declined. In spite of this failure, Myspace set the foundations of today’s mass media social networking services, including its gaming platform that started the success of the present social networking games giant ‐ Zynga. Moreover, Myspace has its own Instant Messenger ‐ MyspaceIM, which is an independent program for Windows as well as a web-based client. The www.yippee-ki-yay.us website can be of help here. You have to be older than 14 years to be able to register to Myspace.
Flixster is an online service that combines social networking and movie reviewing. As a Flixster user you can share movie reviews, discover new movies, learn about movies you don’t know about and get in touch with people that are interested in the same movies and movie genres as you. In addition, you can integrate Flixster to your Facebook profile so you can share movies with your Facebook friends, discover movies that your friends are watching and add movie reviews to your Timeline. Furthermore, in 2008 Flixster introduced a new iPhone application, which allows you to access movie reviews, trailers and show-times.
Classmates.com is one of the oldest social networks ‐ it was launched in 1995. This social networking service allows its users to reconnect with their friends, acquaintances and, as the name suggest, classmates from kindergarten through University. At first, the service was designated for American users from American schools and businesses. However, soon the service spread worldwide and now is helping people find their “lost” friends and former classmates not only in United States but also in Canada, Austria, Sweden, Switzerland, Germany, France and American/Canadian Schools overseas.
Launched in 2000, Habbo is a Finnish-based social network targeted at teenagers. Habbo’s main feature is a “Hotel” that can be accessed by registered users. Once you log in, you are redirected to a screen called ‘Hotel View’ where you can contact other Habbo users using the “Habbo Chat.” Many features of this social network do not appear in the ‘Hotel’ itself ‐ there are User Pages, Groups, discussion forums and various games. This social network is available in many languages. However, there had been some privacy issues and was temporarily shut down. Nevertheless, once the issues were solved, the site was re-launched.
Foursquare is a geo-location based social network. The service is designed primarily for smartphone users and other mobile devices. Foursquare allows you to “check in” at various places using the application for devices that support geo-location. The application offers you a list of places nearby and you just click on the one that you are currently in to “check in.” Every time you “check in” at a place, you will gain points (sometimes badges) and you can compete with your foursquare friends to gain more points or badges. You should click here if you’d like to view more on this subject. Moreover, you can write a comment along with your “check in,” so you can, for example, recommend a good restaurant, post a photo from that place and share your check in on your Facebook profile.
Vimeo is a video-sharing service, where you can view, upload and share videos. It is one of the only video-sharing sites that is able to compete with YouTube. Moreover, Vimeo was the first video-sharing website that supported consumer High Definition (HD) videos. The site is popular mainly among indie filmmakers and people with passion for film. This service is, however, available only in two languages ‐ English and Spanish. As a user of Vimeo, you can send messages to other users, comment on their videos, share them on other social networks, create your own Channels and Groups and thus it is a social network disguised as a video-sharing service.
Qzone is a Chinese network created by Tencent in 2005. As a user you are allowed to write your own blog, keep a virtual diary, send photos to your friends and listen to music. Furthermore, you can set your own Qzone background and select accessories according to your own taste. Put simply, your customizing options on this social network are really wide. Nevertheless, most of the Qzone services are for a fee, which really limits your options when you are not willing to pay for your social networking. Visit The Green Connection for details. But be aware, if you are not familiar with Simplified Chinese, you will not find this social network much of good site because it is available only in this language.
Hi5 is a social networking site which was launched in 2003. It has many similar features to other social networks, like the ability to create a profile to show off your personal information, share interests, join friend networks, share photos, create user groups, post status updates, listen to music and post comments. In 2009, hi5 has added several new features aimed for the gaming and entertainment community. Despite the fact that hi5 was launched in United States, it became more popular in other countries, predominantly in Latin America and Mongolia and in 2008, hi5 was believed to be the third most visited social network.
Smartphone and Tablet Use for Social Networking Increases
A new report from Nielsen examines a fast-evolving segment of the media landscape: viewing on smartphones and tablets. Consumers are taking advantage of their portable devices to watch videos, access news and information, check sports, engage in social networking and shop. The time devoted to social networking dwarfs that of streaming video or accessing sports, Nielsen found in its cross-platform report for June. (See the Flash Mods website at www.flashmods.ca for additional details.)
Smartphone users spent 9 hours and 6 minutes a month on social networks — say, posting status updates on Facebook, tweeting their thoughts to followers on Twitter or checking-in on Foursquare. Apple iPad users devoted 3 hours and 41 minutes a month to social networks.
By comparison, smartphone users spent about 1 hour and 15 minutes a month streaming video on the device, and around 1 hour and 11 minutes engaged in sports, Nielsen reported. IPad users invested more time watching video on the device’s larger screen — about 1 hour and 48 minutes a month, (with 50 minutes on sports), Nielsen found. Read more at the Social Media Brand Value website.
Peak usage of these mobile devices coincides with TV’s prime time: with iPad app usage cresting at 9 p.m., Nielsen found. Time invested in mobile apps surpasses usage of the mobile Web on smartphones and tablets.
Nielsen found smartphone users spent about 87% of their “app/Web” time engaged in mobile apps, with just 13% of that time on the Web, the researchers found. The Social Network Store has a wealth of information on this topic. The same trend is true of iPad users, who spent 76% of their time using mobile apps, according to Nielsen.
U.S. viewers seemed to find more time for entertainment in the first quarter of the year: TV viewing rose, compared with the same time a year earlier, as did the amount of time-shifted TV viewing of previously recorded programs, and viewing of video via the Internet and on a mobile phone.
Only the time spent using a game console fell in the first three months of the year, Nielsen found.
Nielsen drew its mobile device research from a panel of 5,000 smartphone and 1,300 iPad users, whose browser and app activity was electronically measured in March.