With the increase in time spent on social networks, the necessity for both big and small businesses to engage in social media marketing increased. Accordingly, the supply of social media experts/consultant also increased. Social media marketing, however, is an immature industry and there is a varying degree in how helpful they can be to a business.
Many social media marketers don’t do much, which is simply to set up their social media outlets, and in some cases to update their status and tweets for the business. This isn’t really helpful unless done correctly.
Social media marketing involves three main stakeholders, and a successful social media marketer understands the need of all three to create a strategy that optimizes the opportunity that social media marketing offers. The three stakeholders are the social networks themselves, the business, and the customers/potential customers.
To understand the social networks themselves means to understand the goals and ambition of Facebook, Twitter, etc. By understand the trends in social networking sites, marketers are able to make sure that the business is not only using the current tools to the fullest, but also to prepare them for changes to come. For example, there are many businesses who receive check-ins from customers, yet are still not set up on Foursquare. Understanding UI/UX design allows marketers to read further into the goals of the social networking sites since they are carefully designed with specific intentions. Understanding database design allows marketers to understand things such as the algorithm that decides which posts show up on people’s newsfeed within Facebook.
To understand the business means to understand their operations and marketing efforts. Since social media marketing isn’t a stand-alone solution, the more the marketer understands the business and the industry they are marketing for, the more effective they are able to be. For example, if there are many professionals in a specific industry who avidly use Twitter to share interesting articles, it could make sense for a business to start a blog and to connect with these professionals through Twitter. As another example, if there is an open line of communication between the PR firm and social media marketing firm for a business, the social media marketers can make sure that new articles on blogs and magazines get promptly updated and available on various social networking sites.
Finally, a social media marketer must understand how people use social networking sites. It starts with following up on studies that provide insight on the types of links and media people are likely to share. This can be broken down into various demographics and hobbies. Rather than posting content the company wants to share, marketers must be able to create and share content that the customers want to share with each other. Many work of mouth marketing principles and collaboration marketing principles apply to social media marketing. Not surprisingly people enjoy exclusive discounts and freebies.