New strategy #1: SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING +1

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Introduction I want to thank you and congratulate you for downloading the book,
“Social Media Marketing”.
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This book contains proven steps and strategies on how to use social media
to market your products and services.

Social media has evolved rapidly and turned into an important part of our
life and how the world functions.

Only a few years ago people said that if as a business,
you are not on social media, you are missing out.
Today nobody says that because it's a given that every business, no matter how big or small, has an online presence.

It's no longer just an additional source of leads or just a side note in the marketing
plan of a business.

Social media is now at the centre stage of how businesses run and how they market their products and services.
It's not just big businesses, that can invest a lot of money in their online marketing,
that benefit from social media.

There are thousands of inspiring stories about small businesses that are successful only because of their online presence and social media marketing strategy.

Thousands of indie artists, musicians, writers, and creators of all kind are making a living doing what they love, because of the internet.

Even more people have started small businesses that are completely online and completely automated and earn quite a decent amount of passive income.
All they do is market their business on social media and keep earning week after week.

There is no denying the power of social media.
We spend most of our time on one or the other social network.
We get our news from social media.
We search online for products.
We search online for reviews of restaurants we want to eat in.
The biggest market in the world today is the virtual marketplace on the internet.
You can sell anything to anyone, anywhere in the world.

And if you know how to use social media marketing, you can build a business from
scratch for a fraction of the capital required to start a brick and mortar business.
The world of social media moves incredibly fast.

Search engines and social networks continuously change the rules of the game and tactics and strategies change to keep up with the new rules.
It can be overwhelming to stay on top of all of these changes on all of the social networks,
all the time.

But no matter how quickly things change, the basics remain the same.
This book is focused on the basics of social media marketing that will teach you how to adapt to every change that will happen in the future.

If you stick to the basics, the rest is easy.
This book is divided into 3 parts.
In the first part we'll talk about what social media marketing is and how to build your own social media marketing strategy.

In the second part we'll discuss several social media networks in detail so you can choose
the best ones for your strategy.
In the third and final part we'll discuss how to execute and manage your strategy.

In this book you'll learn:
The basics of social media marketing.
How to form a good social media strategy.
How to start a good blog that will be the cornerstone of your social media empire.
How to optimize your strategy on sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, YouTube, Pinterest, Instagram etc.
How to execute and manage the system without getting overwhelmed by it.
Thanks again for downloading this book, I hope you enjoy it! M.J. Brown.

A Crash Course on Social Media Marketing
The internet has become the main focus of all marketers.
Print and TV advertisements now point to the website and social accounts of the company. The entire marketing campaign for any company, no matter how big or small, is tied around the company's web presence.

But why is this so ?
Just think about how many people are connected to the internet today.
Almost the entire consumer base is present online and it spends a lot of time online.

The mobile phone revolution shrunk the entire world into a globalized society and the advent of smart phones has connected the entire world by bringing the internet in the palms
of our hands.
There are more than a billion users just on Facebook.

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The numbers alone are baffling but now think about what these people do on the internet. They connect with family, friends, strangers and colleagues, and they talk about their lives. They share jokes, news, photographs and videos.

And they talk about products.
Every marketer will tell you that the best type of marketing is "word of mouth" marketing. When you hear about a product from someone you personally know, you automatically have more trust than if you were watching an advertisement on television.

Social media marketing results in this type of word of mouth publicity that has a much bigger impact on prospective consumers than any other form of marketing. It also has the possibility of growing exponentially by going viral.

We've all heard about viral videos that reached millions of viewers in a few days.
This potential to go viral is also why all marketers now focus a lot of social media.
And on top of all that, it's one of the cheapest forms of marketing.
Can a small business make a high quality television commercial and buy a prime time spot ? Probably not.

But for a fraction of that money a small business can create a presence on social networks, engage a community and advertise to them.
Considering the fact that we all change the channel whenever an ad comes on,
social media is not just the cheaper option but also the more effective one.

So What Actually IS Social Media Marketing ?
Social media marketing is a way of gaining traffic to your website through the use of social media sites.
Marketing efforts in this area tend to concentrate on creating content that attracts the attention of their chosen audience and encouraging them to share it with all their friends and followers across social media.

The result is an electronic word of mouth that spreads fast, earning the marketer good media visibility for next to no outlay.

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Social media websites work by letting people interact with each other and build up relationships.
When a business joins in, it allows potential customers to interact directly with them, creating a more personal touch and ensuring that customers are likely to pass the word about you on to their friends and families.

And, because they are sharing your news with their friends, more people get to see it and pass it on to their friends, and so on,
resulting in an increase in traffic that may convert to sales.

Social media marketing is used by more than 70% of today’s businesses and has resulted in an increase of more than 130% in revenue.
It isn’t only computers that are used for surfing the internet; mobile phones and tablets are now used much more for accessing social media websites than they ever have been.

Most smartphones have social media apps enabled and people are notified immediately when anything happens on their social media sites.

This is a constant connection that allows businesses to keep their customers fully in the loop about what’s happening and what’s new.

Social Media Strategies
There are two main strategies that businesses should use with social media marketing:
The Passive Approach Social media is a very useful source of information and customer voices for business.

There are plenty of places where people share their views and their brand recommendations and business owners can tap into these and look at what the customer wants.

In this sense, social media marketing is a cheap way of tapping into market intelligence, which is then used by the business to track down problems and opportunities.
Let’s take an example – the iPhone 6 Plus, released in September 2014.

The internet boiled over with videos of the newest handset from Apple undergoing a bend test after it was alleged that the handset could be bent by hand.

This created no small amount of confusion amongst those who had been waiting for months for this new iPhone to be launched.
Did Apple ignore it ? No.

They came straight back with a statement to say that this was a rare occurrence and they uploaded a video shot in their own torture room, showing the iPhone 6 being put through a rigorous series of tests.

As you can see, social media can now be used to get a live reaction to a product or service, making it extremely useful to any marketer.
The Active Approach We can also use social media as a channel of communication and a way of engaging the public.

There are quite a few companies who use some kind of dialogue online to build relationships with their customers, including the likes of Jonathon Swartz, CEO and President of Sun Microsystems and Bob Langert, Vice President of McDonalds.

The idea is to encourage people to express their views, their ideas and pass on suggestions and using influences like this can be an extremely cost effective method of marketing.

Advertising Whether you choose the active or the passive approach, the key to social media marketing, of course comes down to advertising.

That's the main purpose of any marketing campaign: to sell stuff.
You can advertise on the internet in the form of banners that will be seen on other websites, landing pages on your own websites, google ads that will place your products on search engine pages and marketing on social networks such as Facebook and Twitter.

The Basics The first requirement is to have an online presence.
Whether you are a big company or a small startup, whether you are part of an organization or an individual, you need to have an online presence.
Online presence simply means to set up shop in the virtual world.

Think of it as a shop, a store, an office, or even a virtual basement that you work out of.
This will be a website or a blog.
This is the place where you'll send all your customers to find out more about your products or services and to buy what you are selling.

Along with a website, you need to be active on at least a few social networks.
There are thousands of networks to choose from but you should only use as many as you can manage properly.
There are the good old social networks such as Facebook, Twitter and Google+.
There are video sharing sites such as YouTube and Vimeo.

There are picture sharing sites such as Pinterest and Instagram.
There are sites like Reddit, Scribd,
Slideshare that allow you to curate and share other form of content.

The type of product or service you are selling and the type of content you can create,
will dictate the type of social network that you use.
Go where your audience is.
Create what your audience wants.

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Once you have the basic setup of a website/blog and a few social networks you can start engaging with people.

Here's where the difference from traditional marketing starts. Unlike traditional marketing,
this is not a one way communication channel.
You can't just broadcast promotional content all the time and not interact with your audience. If you try to do this, you'll soon drive everyone away.
Instead, in social media marketing you need to listen to what others are saying.

You need to have real communication with your audience.
And most importantly, you need to provide real value to your audience.
It's not "buy my product and you'll receive this much value."
It's more like "here's all this free value for you and if you want more you can buy my product." If you can understand this "catch" of social media marketing,
then you'll be able to fully utilize it.

A lot of traditional marketers get into social media with their old habits.
They only focus on building numbers and promoting their products endlessly to these numbers.
They opt for quantity over quality.

This approach doesn't work on social media and can actually have a negative effect.
You should focus on quality instead of quantity.
Even if you have a few hundred followers but all of them are dedicate fans of your product, you are in a much better situation than someone who has a hundred thousand followers but none of them really care about the product.

You can use tools for analyzing your social media outreach and see the kind of impact different content has on your audience.
This ability to analyze your data is unique to social media marketing and it can prove to be very powerful.

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You can then tailor your content to suit exactly what your audience wants.
What Can You Do With Social Media ?
If you have an online presence and are active on a few social networks and have a quality audience you can do the following:
1. Sell your products to your audience.
This is the main goal of any type of marketing.
When you sell to a hand picked audience all of whom have shown an interest in your product, the chances of making a sale increase a lot.
All other forms of advertising are intrusive and force themselves on the audience.
You sit down to watch your favorite movie and someone interrupts
you and tries to sell you something.

Obviously, your first reaction will be of annoyance and maybe even anger.
But in social media marketing, you create a relationship with your audience and you advertise in front of only those people who have shown an interest in you.
So the conversion rates can be much higher than other traditional types of marketing.
2. Ask your audience to help you spread the word.

This is possible only with social media marketing and if you have developed strong relationships with your audience they won't mind doing this work for you at all.
If your product has provided them value and you have shown that you listen to your audience then they'll happily become missionaries for your product,
spreading your name wherever they go.

3. Listen to your audience to help improve your products and services.
This is an immense value proposition of social media marketing.
Usually companies pay customers to participate in surveys so that they can develop
better products.
But on social media, you get constant feedback from your audience and if used intelligently,
it will help you offer the best value to your audience.
4. Provide great customer service to build a strong brand image.

Social media is great for providing quick customer service to anyone who has a complaint or question. If done right, it will put you in a rare league of companies that actually care about their customers.
Keep your customers happy and they'll talk about you with their friends.
5. Give your customers the opportunity to help you develop your business. It's called crowdfunding.
If you have a strong connection with your audience, it can actually help you raise money without having to go to traditional sources for a loan.
This is way beyond any kind of traditional marketing.
These are some of the main things you can achieve through social media marketing.

If there's just one thing you should remember, then it is that social media marketing will work well if you genuinely care about providing value to your audience.
Keep this mantra in mind and you'll master social media marketing in no time.

Advantages, Disadvantages and Risks We use social media as a way of getting our message across to our chosen audience and we will do it with whatever means we have at hand.
The most commonly used platforms for social media marketing are Facebook and Twitter, closely followed by Instagram, YouTube, Vimeo, Reddit and many others.  

Social media does have a number of advantages and disadvantages, as well as some inherent risks and many businesses really do struggle to learn how to use this kind of marketing to the best advantage.

Advantages of Using Social Media
The biggest advantage to using social media for marketing purposes is cost.
Most social media sites are free to join, to create a profile and to post information.
The advantage to being able to reach your targeted audience for little to no cost should appeal to everyone and the audience you reach joins you of their own volition.

You can pay for advertising but the cost is little compared to the benefits that are reaped and the viral nature of social media means that, when one person reads your posts, they can spread it to their followers, who spread it to theirs, and so on. Information has the capacity to reach large swathes of people very quickly, sending your business multinational.

Another advantage is that you can truly find out what your customers think of you and your brand. Most people are quite happy to post a comment telling you what they think of your posts and they are quite happy to show you how happy they are by sharing.

Disadvantages of Using Social Media
Looking after a social media account can take a good deal of time and if you have more than one, it becomes very time consuming.

You should hire someone who knows all about social media marketing to manage your accounts for you and be in a constant lookout for new angles to use, to keep relevant information reposted for as long as needs be and to post new stuff when the time is right.

The Biggest Risk of Using Social Media
There are a number of risks to using social media for marketing, one of which we addressed above. If you don’t have someone on hand to check your accounts daily, disgruntled customers who don’t receive a response to their complaint or request,
can easily make life very difficult for you.

Bad news travels much quicker than good and your business can suffer irreparable damage. Keeping on top of things is vital if you want your business to succeed at its social media marketing strategy.

Why Social Media Marketing?
Who Can Benefit from a Social Media Strategy ?
A large corporation with an established business who are just entering the social media marketing world A small brick and mortar business such as a restaurant, hair salon,
bakery, hotel etc.

An online business that is entirely based on social media Individuals offering their services online such as freelance writers, illustrators, web designers, software developers,
lawyers, doctors etc.
Independent artists such as musicians, authors, painters, filmmakers etc. Individuals who want to build passive income streams through blogging, affiliate marketing, selling products on Amazon etc.

Any organizations such as charities, not-for-profit organizations, local libraries,
government organizations etc.
Basically, anybody and everybody can use social media marketing to achieve their goals,
be it selling products and services, spreading awareness about a cause, providing customer support or information about the company.

The Real Benefits of Social Media Marketing
To some business owners, social media marketing is the next big thing in marketing.
To others it's just a fad that may be powerful but won’t last long.
As such, it must be used to its full advantage while we have it.
Others see it as just another word that has no real advantage and takes way too long to learn.

The fact is that social media has changed the world of marketing and it is here to stay.
Social media appeared almost overnight and has developed itself a bit of a reputation for being something of a passing interest and, because of that, cannot possibly be profitable.

The statistics tell another story. In 2014, 92% of marketers claimed that the use of social media was vital to the success of their business and 80% of those said that their efforts in social media marketing increased traffic to their websites significantly.

Right now, 97% of all marketers use social media but 85% don’t know which tools
to use for the best results.

This just shows that there is a huge potential for social media to significantly increase sales but that there is a real lack of understanding on how best to use social media
to get these results.

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The following are just some of the ways in which social media can help push your business into the limelight:

1. Increase in Brand Recognition
Any time you get the opportunity to increase your visibility and make people more aware of your content, you should grab it with both hands.

Social media networks are new channels for your content and for your voice and this is important because it does two things – it makes you more accessible and more visible to new customers and makes existing customers recognize you easier and you become more familiar to them.
For example, someone who uses Twitter on a frequent basis may hear for the first time about your business through his Twitter feed.

Then when he sees your name on another site or in the real world, he can recognize your brand from your Twitter profile.

Or a customer who might otherwise be somewhat apathetic could become better acquainted with you and your brand after seeing your name pop up on several major social media sites. 2. Better Brand Loyalty Research has shown that businesses that engage with customers on social media channels can expect to be rewarded with higher loyalty.

Businesses should take full and frank advantage of the tools that social media marketing offers when it comes down to building a connection with their audience and helping them to become loyal to your particular brand.

Further research shows, to back that up, that 53% of Americans who follow specific brands via social media are more likely to be loyal to those brands than they are to any other.

People want to connect with brands that seem more human.
They don't like large cold corporations who maintain a condescending relationship with their customers. Instead they might prefer a small business which takes the time to do some real communication with its customers.

For the first time, the small business owner has a level playing field with large multinational corporations through social media.
And if done right, small businesses might even have a distinct advantage.

3. Better Conversion Opportunities
Every time you post on one or more of the social media platforms, you are giving potential customers the opportunity to convert to paying customers.
When you build up a following on these sites, you are able to access new customers,
look after old customers and interact with everyone on a more personal level.
Every post, photos, video or comment that you put on your social network is giving people a chance to react and each reaction has the potential to lead to a visit to your website and a future conversion.

Of course, not every person who interacts with your brand on social media will convert but every positive interaction increases the chances that a positive conversion will happen.
4. Higher Conversion Rates Social media marketing has a positive effect on conversion rates in several ways.

The most significant and important is one called the humanization element – brands become more humanized through social media interaction and can act just like other people do.

This is important because people prefer to deal with people, rather than a faceless web contact form or a computer.

Recent studies show that social media provides a higher lead-to rate than traditional outbound marketing by 100% and having more followers leads to a higher element of trust being placed on your brand, as well as credibility.

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The conversion rates for social media marketing are higher than any other form of traditional marketing out there.  

5. Higher Brand Authority Regular customer interaction through social media sites shows good faith to outside customers.
When other people read a compliment or a "brag" from a person about the services or product they received, they suddenly sit up and start to take notice.

And the more people you have on social media that are talking about your brand, the more value that brand will have to new users.
In addition to that, if you can have real inter interaction with some of the major influencers on social media sites then your visibility and authority will go through the roof.

6. An Increase in Inbound Traffic If you don’t use social media then your inbound traffic is going to be severely limited to those who already know your brand and to those who accidentally land upon your site while searching a specific keyword.

Every account you sign up to on a social media site unlocks the door to another path leading back to you and every piece of content you post on those sites is another feather in your visibility cap.

The better the content you post, the more traffic you will generate and that leads to more leads and more possible conversions.

7. Lower Costs for Marketing According to recent research, 84% of marketers have found that just 6 hours work a week on social media was sufficient to increase their traffic.

6 hours is little compared to the size of the social media outlets and, by investing just one hour per day, you too can reap significant rewards. Social media marketing is mostly free but even the paid advertising is not expensive.

Start small and you won’t need to worry yourself about going over your budget.
Once you get a bit more experienced and you start to get a feel for what your advertising is achieving, you can increase your budget and your conversions.

8. Best Returns on Investment Social media marketing gives the best ROI
out of any other marketing plans.
It's not easy to know the exact ROI in any marketing campaign but if you count all the benefits such as brand recognition and loyalty, along with the higher conversion rate and cheaper cost of marketing, you can begin to see the real ROI of social media marketing.

9. Much Better Rankings on the Search Engines SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, is the fastest way to pick up the right traffic from the search engines.
Unfortunately, to be successful at it, you have to be on top of the frequent rule changes.

It used to be that you could update your blog on a regular basis and make sure your Meta tags and titles were optimized. Google and other large search engines now take social media into account when they are calculating your rank so having a strong presence on at least one site, if not more, sends a good signal to the search engines that you have a brand that is trustworthy, credible and legitimate.

What that means is, if you want to rank for a specific set of keywords, it is almost mandatory that you have a strong social media presence.

10. A Better Customer Experience At its core, social media is one of the largest and most open channels of communication there is.

Every time you interact with a customer or a potential customer on social media, you have a big opportunity to demonstrate your level of customer service and to make your customer relationships better.

For example, if you get a customer complaint via Twitter, you can deal with it immediately, issue a public apology and put the problem right.

This shows potential customers that you are on top of things and will do what you can to make things right.

Alternatively, if a customer compliments you via a social media posting, you can thank them personally and publicly and recommend other products that you think they will like.  

11. Improved Customer Insights.
Social media gives you a huge opportunity to see exactly what your customers want and how they behave.

An example of this is monitoring comments to see exactly what people think of your business. You can target your content creation lists to more specific audiences and you can see which type of content generates the most comments – and what they say.

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Conversions can more easily be measured on each social media channel and you will eventually find the perfect method by which to generate revenue for your company. You can create A/B split advertising campaigns and see which one works better.

You can also target specific demographics and create advertising campaigns that are customized for them and get much better conversion rates.

Are You Convinced Yet ?
The above mentioned eleven benefits should have convinced you to sustain a long-term social media presence and marketing campaign.
But, if I still haven’t managed to convince you that you should get started right away, here are a few more points to consider:
1. Your Competition is ahead of You
You can bet the entire farm on that one.

Your competition will already be on social media, which means, until you get yourself on there, potential customers are being poached away from you.
Never let the competition get the edge over you while you sit by and let it happen.

And if for some unknown reason, your competition hasn’t yet set foot on social media, the gate is wide open for you to be the first through it and take full advantage of this amazing opportunity.

2. The Sooner You Start, the Sooner
You Will See the Benefits Social media is all about building up relationships and it grows as fast as your friends tell their friends, and so on.
The sooner you get your presence known on social media, the sooner you can begin to grow that audience and work on your conversions.

The longer you do it, the larger your following will be.
Your marketing campaigns will become more effective and grow at an exponential rate.

3. The Potential Losses are Not Significant In real terms,
you really don’t have anything to lose by getting on social media.
It takes little time to create your profile and set up your page and then you can start posting.

This is nothing compared to how long it can take you to get off and running with other traditional marketing methods.
Jest a few hours a week, a couple of hundred dollars and the world is yours for the taking.

Building Your Own Social Media Strategy
It is important to have a social media strategy in place before you begin your social media marketing campaign.
We are all already on social media in one form or another.
Except for those living under a rock for the past decade, most of us already have a personal Facebook, Twitter and Google+ account.

So when individuals start thinking about social media marketing they feel that they just need to keep doing what they are already doing on such sites and just do more of it.

At most people think about starting a blog and when after a few months, the numbers don't match their expectation, their blog stagnates and dies.

This is the wrong way of going about social media marketing.
What you need is a social media strategy.
This strategy should be based on solid information about your market,
a view of your goals and what you want to achieve,
knowledge about how to best use the different social media tools, and an estimate of the amount of time and money you can invest in this permanently ongoing marketing campaign.

An Overview of a Social Media Marketing Strategy
Listen It does not matter whether you want to do your marketing on the social web or not,
you should always listen to what is being said online about your brand.

You can learn a lot by listening to what people are saying about you, whether it is good or bad. Target and Position Once
you start listening to what is being said about you, you should then decide which of the social media platforms you should utilize for your business.

Work out where your best audience is and what they talk about, who the influencers are and what their passion points are.

This is all so that you can communicate with your audience in a meaningful way.

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Talk Engage with your audience, start a dialogue with customers.
Listen and respond to what people are saying, not just about you but also about other things.

This isn’t all about pushing sales and promoting your own products,
it’s about being seen as a human being.

Be consistent and converse with people on a regular basis, that way you will gain the trust of your customers. Protect Protect your brand and address any negativity straight away. Be honest and be quick as well as being thoughtful about what you say.

Resolving problems and apologizing can go an awful long way in the damage limitation stakes. In addition, assess if there has been any damage to your search rankings because of any negative feedback and, if you see negative links appear, address them quickly.

Measure You have to understand how your strategy is working and to do that you need to measure the return that your investment is having.

There are plenty of analytic tools that you can use; most social media sites provide their own. Be smart and measure everything.

Other Types of Digital Marketing Strategies Social media marketing is rising to the top as the best way to market on the internet but there are other ways to market on the internet.

These strategies have existed long before social media marketing came along and they developed as a result of marketers applying real world strategies to the digital world.

All of these strategies are still used but it's safe to say that their day in the sun has long been over. Marketers are seeing diminishing returns from these strategies as well as other traditional marketing techniques because people have become immune to them.

Social media marketing is the next level in the world of advertising and marketing.
Here are some of these strategies that you can still use but don't make them the cornerstone of your marketing strategy.

Banner Advertising.
Banners take up a certain space that is up for rent on a web page.
You can imagine how old marketers translated billboards into digital banners.
Of course banners on the web are much more powerful than billboards.
Banner ads can be text, or they can have videos, audio or interactive buttons on them.

This kind of advertising generally works on a click through basis – users click the banner and are taken to the website that is linked to it and that is paying for the advert. Real world billboards can't be clicked and you can never know how many people came to you after seeing your billboard.

But with the advent of social media marketing,
banners are seeing diminishing returns on investment.
People just don't click on banners anymore.

Email Campaigns.
This involves sending emails to selected customers or to potential customers who have signed up to your email list.

Sometimes these mails will be newsletters, other times they will include promotions or discounts.
Sometimes advertisers will cold email you with an offer even though you didn't sign up for it.

This is the evolution of the real world mail marketing strategy and its considered spam in most parts of the world.
If you build an email list through your blog and don't spam them, email campaigns can still be powerful.

You should definitely consider having a newsletter to go with your blog.
Viral Marketing.
These are campaigns that are like word of mouth but online, where people spread the message to their own followers, who in turn do the same thing and so on.

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This is something that happens on its own if you focus on producing high quality content for your audience. Link Building.

This strategy involves getting others to link to your blog or website in order to increase the number of inbound links so that search engines rank your website higher than your competition.

When done correctly it can help your website reach the front page of search engines and brings loads of traffic to you.

But some people tried to game the search engines by using the I-link-to-your-website-you-link-to-mine method.
The search engines changed their algorithm so that if you were using such types of methods, your site got penalized instead.

Some other strategies that you can use on the internet are:
Using your status updates to post a link or talk about a product or a service Retargeting: targeting those specific people who clicked on your banner ad once by installing a cookie on their browser so that no matter which site they visit, they see your banner ads.

Creating pages or groups that are specifically to hold a contest, market a new product or raise awareness of your brand Offering apps that are cheap or maybe free, that you can use to build a list and then up-sell to them later

Understanding Online Network Users
There is a good chance you are already using some or all of the above tactics in your strategy. Just keep in mind that social networks are collections of people and of businesses that have opted to join the network so that they can gain new business and do not necessarily want to be bombarded with advertising.

Evaluate just how much promotional and advertising material you can make use of without seeming overbearing and selfish.

Be aware of the type of advertising you are using as well. And don't just think about advertising alone.

The crux of social media
marketing is to understand that what people value are genuine interactions.
The "social" part is just as, or even more important.

Be human and be genuine and post content that doesn't directly sell your content but instead provides entertainment or engagement or edification for your customers.
It is almost a Zen like state to achieve when you "sell without selling."

Be sure to check the terms and conditions of any social media site you use to make sure that you are not stepping outside their boundaries.

Targeted Advertising Online social media sites are real hotbeds when it comes to advertising space and many businesses have been very quick to realize that these sites have a captive audience for targeted advertising.

Be very careful in your considerations of which networks you use and the kind of message you want to get across, to make sure you get the best return on your investment.
Many of the social network sites offer several different options for advertising.

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These include pay per view, pay per click, classified ads, banner ads and flash ads. Advertising can be targeted to specific demographics – age, gender, location, marital status, etc. and some social sites offer tools that you can use for research, which can give you some very valuable profile information.
This helps you to make informed decisions on whether a site is working for you or against you.

Network Marketing Do's and Don'ts If you are intending to use online social networks as part of your marketing strategy, you should be aware of a few do’s and don’ts that you must comply with or risk being banned or losing business:

DO: Make sure you research your chosen network thoroughly before you go ahead and start advertising.
Understand who uses it and what kind of marketing they may be open to.
Develop a set of metrics that you can use to track your campaign and work out
whether it is working or not.
Make sure that you are fully aware of all the regulations and rules that apply to online marketing on that particular social network.

DON'T: Flood network users with spam; quality is far better than quantity and nobody likes a spammer. Sell or pass any personal details about your customers or any other business without their express permission first.
Building Your Social Media Strategy Your social media strategy will constitute of:
Beautiful Woman store Your online presence A content strategy Social network presence

Brand image Analytics and Content management Let's talk about them one by one.
Online Presence As mentioned in the previous chapter, the first thing you need is a place where you can send prospective customers.
It can either be a website or a blog.

So what really is the difference between a website and a blog ?
Well, a website is usually made of static content.
When you build a website,
it has static pages that contain content that you don't change too often.
These can be pages like the home page, the about page, contact page,
product portfolio page etc.

A blog on the other hand has dynamic content.
You write blog posts and publish them regularly.

A website can have a blog section along with other static pages.
And blogs can have static pages as well.
The static pages don't usually have a comment section while blog posts usually do allow readers to post comments.

Comments make a blog more of a social network than a standalone website.

In fact social networks such a Twitter and Facebook are often called micro-blogging sites because you are posting your thoughts and interacting with readers
in a way similar to blogging.

The distinction between a website and a blog can get confusing sometimes.
The best way to define it is that a site that only has static pages and no regularly updated posts is definitely a website.
The rest are either blogs, or websites with a blog section.

A static website is almost never a good idea.
If you are a business or an organization you should have a website along with a blog section. If you are an individual with a small business then you can make do with a simple blog.
But in almost all cases you should have a section where you publish regular content.

Regular content helps you keep your audience engaged and you stay relevant to search engines. Static sites that haven't been updated for years slowly sink to the murky depths of the internet. We'll talk about blogging in more detail in chapter 4.

Content Strategy What type of content you will create on your blog depends on many factors. The biggest factor is your target audience.

Ask yourself, where do your target audience hang out and what kind of content they seek ?
For example, if you are an indie musician your target audience contains people who listen to music online.
Here your product and content intersect as your music is both your content and your product. But you can create other content as well.

Fans would like to know more about you and your creative process.
They'd like to know about your experience in the indie music industry.

They might also like it if you talk about other musicians and do reviews or feature interviews with other interesting musicians.
You can share what type of gear you use and how you record music.
They'd like to see videos of your performances.

You can even do a virtual live show using Google Hangout or other such Webinar services.
All this should figure into your content strategy.

As another example let's say that you have a small business that sells organic produce.
Your target audience is the local community unless you also ship products to national and international buyers.

Your community will consist of those who are interested in organic farming.
This group's other concerns will be climate change, sustainable living etc.

So you can form a content strategy where you offer advice on organic farming
and living in an environmentally friendly way.
You can talk about health and fitness as well.

You can offer this content in the form of blog posts or videos or even pictures or infographics. As you can see, it is difficult to come up with a set of standard rules for creating your own content strategy.

It varies a lot depending on your product, your target audience and of course your ability
to create the right type of content.

But I hope you can also see that it is not hard to come up with a solid content strategy once you think about the following points:
Who is my ideal customer ?
What are their interests? Where are they spending time online ?
How can I create valuable content for these ideal customers ?
Right now you should just focus on providing as much value to this target
audience as you can.

Also remember that your content strategy will change over time and you can adapt it as you gain experience.
Two Types of Content Social media expert Gary Vaynerchuk classifies social media content into two categories: the jab and the right hook.

In boxing, a jab is a short straight punch that doesn't do much damage in one go but establishes the boxer's range and makes the opponent vary of getting too close.
But when a boxer puts a lot of jabs together, they start adding up.

A boxer can seriously hurt his opponent just by using jabs all night long.
The right hook on the other hand is a big powerful punch that is meant to knockout the opponent.

Good boxers know that the best strategy is to use a lot of jabs before throwing a right hook. In terms of content, you should think of your jabs and right hooks.

A content jab is any piece of content that entertains and engages your audience without trying to sell anything.

A content right hook is that big sell that will be the center of your social media strategy. After all, you are doing all of this to sell something, be it your book, a course, an album, a product or a service.

The important thing to note is that you shouldn't be throwing a lot of right hooks and very few jabs. High quality engaging jabs will make sure that when you do throw the rare right hook, it's more effective.

Make sure that whether you are creating a jab or a right hook,
the quality of your content is always high.

The internet is overloaded with content and marketers. What sets you apart from others is the level of your content's quality.

But there is no point in going crazy after quality and not producing enough quantity.
Best practice is to go for as high quantity as you can while maintaining high quality.

It's neither 'quality over quantity' nor 'quantity over quality' but rather 'both quality and quantity.' That's what will make you a successful social media marketer.

Social Network Presence Once you figure out a content strategy, you need to figure out how you are going to stay connected with the audience.

There are hundreds of social networks to choose from and your choice has to depend on where your target audience is.
Here are a few tips to choose the right social networks for your social media marketing:

1. Don't start with too many social networks.
Most people have an account on all the popular social networks but it is very hard to manage all the accounts in the right way.

What they do is that they create content on their blog and then share links to their content and products on every social network.

But that isn't a very successful strategy because you are not forming real bonds with your audience anywhere.

You end up just becoming an annoyance as you spam everyone with promotional content all the time.

2. Start with just one or two social networks.
Try to form real connections with a small group of people on that network.

It's hard to produce high quality content specially designed to suit a particular social network. If you are an individual or small business owner who can't invest enough time and resources to produce quality content for all social networks then it's better to stick
to just one or two networks.

Do less but do it right.

3. Your content strategy will also be a factor in choosing your social network.

For example if you are going to make videos then you have to be present on either YouTube or Vimeo. If you are going to share pictures then you have to be present on Pinterest or Instagram.

4. For business to business (B2B) services Linkedin is a good social network to be active on. Linkedin is also good for professional networking for freelancers.

5. Be present on at least one of the big three: Facebook, Twitter and Google+. It is hard to ignore Facebook, which has over a billion people on it but there can be situations where it makes sense to not be present on Facebook, especially if you are not going to be able to provide value to your followers.

6. You start with a few social networks but as you grow your business you can hire social media managers or virtual assistants and be active on multiple networks.

Use the service called where you can automatically create an account on multiple social networks to book your brand name for the future.

Even if you can't handle multiple social networks right now, make sure to book your brand name on as many sites as you can.

It doesn't cost anything to create a profile so there is no reason to not do it.
Brand Image It is important to have a clearly defined brand image before you get into social media marketing.

Brand image includes, but is not limited to, a brand name, brand logo and a brand voice.

Whether you are an independent artist or a business, having a brand voice will help you create a better marketing strategy.
Some brands have a comic or satirical voice while others are more classy and serious.
It depends on your brand and the target audience but also on you.

If you are an artist, then your own voice will be very close to your true brand voice.
When you think about your brand voice,
you can create a better content strategy and also form
a cohesive image over all social networks.

A color palette and a design philosophy are also important for your brand image.
The color palette will help with brand recognition.

Don't you recognize the Coca Cola red immediately ?
That's a conscious brand image decision and if you create a unique palette that is used on your website and blog, your brand logo, and on your social networks, it will help create a unified and recognizable brand image.

The design philosophy will also work like the color palette and help in brand recognition.
If your website and blog are minimally designed then you should maintain that design on the social networks as well.
Use the same fonts wherever it is possible to do so.

Analytics Your brand image will tie up all of your content and social networks together.
The next step is to add analytics to your strategy.

This is a great benefit of social media marketing over traditional forms of marketing because you can get a lot of data and use it to improve your future content and strategy.

There are various analytic tools that you can use to analyze your blog traffic and your social media outreach.

Wordpress and other blogging platforms have their own analytics.
You can use google analytics on your website as well.
Facebook, Twitter, Google+ all let you analyze each and every one of your post in detail.

You can find out how effective certain types of content are ?
Which time of day is best for posting content ?
What demographic is your biggest audience ?
You can use all this data to make sure that you are targeting your ideal customers through your content.

Analytics truly are the game changer when it comes to social media marketing versus traditional marketing.

That's why analytics should form an important part of your social media strategy. If you are ignoring the analytical tools provided by these social networks then you are hurting your business.

Content Management With all this content that you are going to create in your blog and on your social networks you also need tools for content management that will help you stay on top of everything.

There are tools that can help you schedule social media posts and keep track of what you are posting in each social network.

There are also tools for automating a lot of content posting and content aggregation.
We'll talk about all this in more detail in chapter 8.

Before we get any deeper into all this, let's first go through the different forms of social media networks that you can use in your strategy.
Once you understand how to use each one to its highest potential you will feel more confident forming your own social media strategy.
I would recommend you to read all of the chapters from 3 to 7 even if you currently don't think you need to be present on certain social networks.

Once you read all the chapters you'll be able to make a better decision about which social network to choose from.

Mobile Optimization
I just want to mention an important factor to keep in mind while building your social media strategy: mobile optimization.
Smart phones have changed the way we live, the way we communicate,
the way we get our information and also the way we seek entertainment.
More and more people are now surfing the web on their phones.

This means that you have to adapt your social media strategy to fit this new trend.
Your content has to be optimized in such a way that it can have an impact when viewed on a small phone screen as well as when viewed on a tablet or a laptop.
In terms of your blog or website it means to have a responsive design which adapts
to fit the screen size.

This can be done easily by using a responsive theme.
But there's more to mobile optimization than just responsive themes.
You have to adapt your way of thinking so that you are always thinking about how every piece of content will look on a mobile phone.
For example, buying an ad on Facebook that shows up on the sidebar to the right is no longer as powerful as it used to be because a lot of people now use their phones to access Facebook and the right sidebar is not visible on their screens.

A much better strategy for Facebook now is to buy sponsored posts and we'll talk about this in more detail in chapter
5. But this example should help you understand how everything has to be adapted to suit the mobile experience now.
And this is not just a fad that's going to go away very soon.

As our phones get smarter and faster, more and more people will have only one device to do everything and that device is going to be the smart phone.

So it only makes sense to adapt to this inevitable change as early as possible.


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