11 February 2016

Social Media Presence - Role Of Social Media in Internet Marketing


Welcome, once again, to our Internet Income Course. This is lesson fourteen aimed at bringing out the ins and outs of starting and running a profitable online business in today's fluid global market by breaking down important principles using simple English. Course author, George Little, continues to reveal tips, real-world advice, and in-depth, step-by-step instructions on setting up your Internet-based business. Read the 13th lesson here.

Recall the five goals of Internet traffic building we stated in Lesson 3:
  1. Utilizing effective branding,
  2. Obtaining good publicity, including links to your site from popular pages,
  3. Obtaining an effective search engine presence,
  4. Utilizing and maintaining flow in the placement of your Internet ads, and
  5. Maintaining an effective social media presence.
Starting in Lesson 4, we are providing a brief overview of each of these five goals. (We will cover each in much detail later in the course.) We will conclude our overview in this lesson on goal number 5, "maintaining an effective social media presence."

Prioritize your Motivation

I am going to assume that every reader of this lesson has had some experience with social media. Your choice of social media sites, the time you spend on social media, how much you post, how much you read, and how long you have been involved will vary greatly between readers, no doubt. But, all of you have had some brush, at least, with social media at this point. Whether it be Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Google Plus+, Tumbir, Instagram, VK, Flickr, Vine, Meetup, Tagged, AskFM, Meetme, Classmates, or Youtube; you are likely familiar to some extent with at least one of them.

I am going to ask you now to start analyzing that experience. What got you involved? What do you like about it? What do you not like about it? How do you spend your time on social media? What types of people do you connect with on social media? Why do you spend the time you do on social media?

Answers to these questions, especially the last one, may not come easy. Recall that we hypothesized in an earlier lesson that one of the main reasons people participate in social media is because they want to be heard. They want to be connected to other people. They want to matter to other people. It goes much further than that, though, of course. There are many other reasons why participation in social media is rewarding. One of the main reasons is that it provides an opportunity to learn (about other people, at least) and to expand your perspective on the world. You want to interact with and learn from other people and they want to interact with and learn from you. These and many more are valid reasons to spend time on social media.

To integrate social media into your Internet marketing endeavors, however, you need to also think of social media as an opportunity to connect with people who will become your customers. You need not abandon your former motivations--you need to keep enjoying the experience - just add a new focus to it. It helps to prioritize your motivations. If you have a particular emotional need at a given time to just connect with and interact with people for its own sake, by all means continue to do so. But, add a little rule in your head that you do not want to alienate anyone in the process.

If you appear too self-absorbed or emotionally needed, you will only attract and keep connections with those who like to help such people. You risk losing people who might become your customers. You might lose them because they do not like self-absorbed or needy people. You might lose them because they see you as lacking confidence.

If you appear too opinionated and angry (as many do on social media in regard to politics and cultural issues), you may alienate and lose connections that otherwise might have become customers.

So, to sum up briefly, continue to connect personally with people on social media--that is a good thing! But, do not allow that motivation to control your use of social media, possibly alienating connections who could benefit your marketing endeavor. Prioritize your motivations and balance them.

Know your Audience

The next step is to get to know your connections. Most of what you do on social media should be centered around helping your friends and connections find what they need and solving their problems. In order to do that, you need to know as much as you can about them.

Whether you are approaching social media to promote your Internet marketing through your personal identity or using a business identity, a good place to start in getting to know your connections is to be aware of why you initially used social media personally. In many ways, your friends and connections will be like you. Understanding how social media affects you is a starting point for understanding how it affects them. But, then it is crucial to recognize their individual differences. You need to look for what makes them different from you and others--what makes them unique.

Look for patterns among the people who interact with you most. Question what attracts these people to you. Question whether they represent the demographic market that you need to promote your business. If they do not, then determine what you could provide to attract the demographic you are targeting.

It is helpful in doing this to write a profile of someone who would be squarely within your target demographic. Then, profile a few of the people who interact with you most and compare the profiles. Are you attracting the people you need to attract? Are you providing what your target demographic wants from social media?

To profile someone just means to write a short description of their major characteristics and behaviors that you can observe. For example, a profile might look like this: "John is a 37 year old civil engineer. He is married with two children. He enjoys deep sea fishing. He is politically conservative and regularly attends the Methodist church. He posts most often about his fishing adventures and usually likes posts about outdoors and fishing. He occasionally posts photos and videos of his children's milestone achievements, but rarely responds to other's posts about their children. John usually posts and comments on weeknights. He is rarely noticed online during the weekend, unless his local weather is bad."

Once you have a profile like the one above, you can ask yourself whether John is a good candidate for your wares (be they products, services, or information). You can ask yourself why John connected with you. You can ask yourself how important the connection with you may be to John. Ask yourself how important that connection is to you. If you have a blog on outdoor recreation that often covers saltwater fishing, John is definitely within your target demographic. Alternatively, if you sell software that is used by civil engineers, John is definitely within your target market. But, if you primarily market musical equipment, while John may be a nice friend to have, he may not be a person you should be targeting based on the information about him that you know. Ask yourself what additional information about John you would need to know in order to make a better determination. Does John's wife play a musical instrument? Are either of John's children interested in joining the band at school?

Then, ask yourself what is the best way to get this additional information that you need from your connections to know more accurately whether they fall within your target demographic, short of asking each one outright and individually. This will help you to compose some posts that you need to make that might trigger revelation of this information from your connections. You do not want to be obvious. You never want to appear like your are just interested in selling things. There are subtle and personable ways to trigger these revelations.

Then, your task becomes to get more connections from people within your target demographic and be more helpful to them. Your posts should be composed with this in mind.

Decide which Social Media Sites to use

There are too many social media sites to attempt to effectively use them all. You need to pick out just the ones best suited for your goals. Factors to consider include the popularity of the site, whether your particular target demographic uses the site as its primary social media site, how easy it is to use, how easy it is to integrate with your Website or blog and other social media sites as well as other tools you may be using. You also want to consider how comfortable you feel with the site. Once you have chosen the social media sites you will be using, focus your efforts on those sites.

Learn How the Social Media Site Works

While this can be a daunting task as the sites change their interfaces and methods frequently, take some time to learn how the site works. Learn not only how to navigate and post within the site, but how it treats your posts. For example, if you have a short video you want to share on Facebook, it is far better to upload the video to Facebook than to upload it to Youtube and then post the Youtube link on Facebook. Facebook reduces the "facerank" of Youtube videos and elevates the facerank of Facebook videos. While this may be frustrating, it is easy to understand why Facebook prefers for you to use its video posting service than to use its competitor's service. A lot more people will see your video on Facebook if you upload it to Facebook rather than Youtube. (On the other hand, if you are posting to GooglePlus+, upload your video to Youtube.) Pay attention to whether you have more likes when you post a photo along with your comments or just post words. Notice whether your own unique photos get more attention than using photos or memes from others. Not only observe these things, but read what you can about them from the bloggers and experts who study these things.

Timing of your Posts

Pay particular attention to timing. When you post something has a great deal to do with how many people will see it. Are there times that your social media site shares more? What times do those within your target market use the site the most. This last question ties back to the profile we were discussing earlier. Part of profiling participants is to collect some data as to when they are on the social media site and when they are not. Time your post for when the people you want to see them are online.

Be Helpful!

The basic principles of good marketing have not changed due to social media--they have just moved to a different medium. As has always been the case, you do not want your prospects to feel like you are marketing to them. Rather, you want them to feel like you are being helpful to them. A good salesperson leaves the customer feeling like they owe a debt of thanks to the salesperson instead of vice versa. This is because the customer feels like they have been helped. You have provided them the information or the product or service that solves their problem. Your goal is to be a problem solver, not a salesperson.

And, don't just help your prospects by selling them your product or service. Help them in other ways when you can. Being consistently helpful builds strong relationships. Strong relationships make for life-long customers.

By focusing on these basic principles and techniques, you can lay a good foundation for your social media marketing. From there, you can learn more and more of the technical details of effective social media marketing. Much of this course will deal with those details.

In this lesson, we have provided you with a brief overview of how best to approach using social media in your Internet marketing. We have suggested that you prioritize your motivations for using social media. We have suggested that you take the time to get to know your connections on social media and to get to know your target market. You should decide which social media sites to use and learn how those sites work. You should pay attention to the timing of your posts. Above all, you should strive to be helpful to your connections on social media. You should use social media to develop lasting, positive relationships. Such relationships make for lasting customers.

So far in this revised course, we have been providing the big picture. We have introduced you to the potential of Internet Income, the dangers of spamming, and the big picture of how traffic flows across the Internet. We have identified the five main goals of Internet traffic building and have provided you with an overview of each goal.

From here, we can become more specific in our treatment of the subject matter. But, before we do, let me remind you to come back to these first fourteen lessons from time to time and remind yourself of the big picture. Keeping the big picture in mind will keep you focused and help you stay on course despite the potentially overwhelming amount of information you need to consider as you advance your career as an Internet entrepreneur. As you learn new skills and strategies, mentally put them in their appropriate place in the big picture. If you become lost or confused, return to the big picture and just follow the general principles. You can read the next lesson here: A Glimpse Of The Future.

By George Little, Panhandle On-Line, Inc. For more information on the Internet Income Course and other works and courses by George Little, see http://www.profitpropulsion.com

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