Seven Basic Steps to Social Media Marketing Success

I wanted to share with you a basic intro to Social Media and why any industry can drive sales and traffic using this form of marketing….JB 

1)What are Social Networks?

At the highest level, social networks are web-based sites or ecosystems that allow individuals to (1) create a public or private profile, (2) create and share content, and (3) connect with others within or across networks.

2) What are the basic principles of a social network?

The principles of social networks on the web are built on the fundamentals of human psychology. People use technology to do all the same things they used to do prior to being technology enabled, they: create, share, connect, form groups, manage their lives, and entertain themselves.

3) Why are social networks important to ordinary businesses?

Social Networks allow you to help frame the views, agendas, and even legislation for your company, city or industry. Your network participants may be comprised of users, vendors, partners, suppliers, affiliates, employees, competitors, etc., these people views and opinions can help shape new products, services, and even industry or national agendas.

4) Can businesses such as wholesalers, business-to-business operations, financial services, insurance, bakeries, restaurants, etc., benefit from a Social Network Strategy?

Absolutely, if you really think about your business sales and marketing efforts they typical follow the same life cycle regardless of business type: 1) creating awareness, 2) creating interest, 3) overcoming obstacles, 4) trial period, 5) regular use, and 6) Model Use. The cycle may vary in length from an instant point of purchase sale to a multi-year enterprise software sale, but all businesses face the same basic hurdles. It really is a matter of enhancing your business model to match the lifestyles that are emerging in the new Web 2.0 economy.

5) I have heard about Facebook and MySpace, aren’t social network sites just for the college crowd?

It is true that social web sites are deeply rooted with the younger crowd, but make no mistake, social networks are big business. With sites like YouTube, Wikipedia, Craigslist, Fliker, MySpace, eBay, Amazon, etc., accounting for billions of dollars in sales each year, real commerce is happening. Ask yourself, why has Motorola adopted web collaboration tools with some 4,000 blogs, and more than 2,500 people actively working under a 2.0 initiative? Motorola understand the way people come together, interact, and make decisions is drastically changing, does your business have a strategy to leverage this social change?

6) Why will social networks have such a drastic impact on society?

Social Networks often benefit from what is called positive network effect – that is the value of the network increases exponentially as adoption and usage increases. This is a complex topic, but if you think about your NFL stadium filled to capacity on the Sunday of the big game, you quickly recognize that the relationship is one-to-one, that is one seat for each ticket. Introduce the television, cable, and advertising rights and you start to expand your network. Most businesses such as restaurants, hotels, and even your local plumber are constraint by such things as number of tables, number of rooms, number of service trucks, etc. The power of the web is not constrained by these physical barriers and leverages the power of many-to-many relationships of social networks. Did you know some 65 million people a month visit MySpace! That is truly the power of the social network at work.

7) How do I ensure success in my social network initiatives?

You must start with a clear understanding of your business objectives and a detailed understanding of your target user’s behavior. With this in hand, you develop a strategy to monetize your network. Next, select your initial feature set ensuring each feature supports your stated objectives. With your feature set in hand, you can select the proper technology platform and applications. From this point, you develop a strategy where users can share relevant ideas, views, and content in a highly collaborative environment. And finally, listen to your community and provide enhancements and features that enrich your user’s experience. This broad overview of a very complex subject will get you started on your path to social network success.

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