The Value of Having “Friends” in Social Media Marketing

Social media marketing is much like a chameleon, it changes and adapts constantly and there are many different ways to go about executing an effective marketing strategy. I know for a fact that interacting and having friends on social networking sites can be very beneficial for your online and offline businesses.

When you have friends on these sites it means that they have access to you and you have access to them. Some people really screw themselves up though, there are lots of people who abuse these relationships by spamming offers to the folks they have access to, this often gets them deleted as a friend or simply ignored depending on the platform they are contacting people on.This is NOT a smart tactic for a long-term business model.

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One more negative thing that comes into play is people requesting to be your friend for the sole purpose of spamming you, this really bugs me and you’ve probably dealt with it too. But overall,the benefits of social network marketing can be HUGE if you take the right tact and be real with people.

The whole point of being social online is to interact and engage with people. When someone makes a post or a comment, have a conversation with them. Comment back, and build online friendships.”

- Chris Harris

This is a type of social media marketing plan that’s far more friendly and low-key than your typical advertising/marketing most of us have come to know.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not against the usually brand of advertising at all. It’s just that in this age of the Internet people have been advertised and marketed to to death, and they’re tired of it. And I believe this is because people hate to feel like they are being used by others. When you talk “at” someone instead of engaging with them, they feel used.

Maybe you have experienced this? Someone shoots offer after offer, pitch after pitch at you, do you feel they are trying to offer you value or just get your money? Even when the product is truly of value to you, the tact that they take stops you from even investigating the product, because you have been turned off. BIG TIME FAIL!

But consider the benefits when someone likes you as a person, they are much more likely to trust and accept your PREselling messages and buy what you’re selling if it’s valuable. Of course, like all things in business, this is more effective in some markets/niches than others. Social media marketing in this way is usually more useful for people in unique niches where “broadcast advertising” would be far less effective.

For example, networking sites and social bookmarking would be of great use to a person whose trying to sell paintings and artwork. Usually with something unique like art people use recommendations of friends or look for known and established artist’s pieces to buy. That makes it difficult for a more unknown artist to sell their artwork, because their artwork doesn’t have any word-of-mouth or “social-proof” behind it yet.

In situations similar to this, social media marketing in this manner helps to overcome that hurdle. When you take the time to interact socially with people and engage them in conversation, they are able to come to know and like you, you know have their interest and they might check out your work.

This particular social media marketing strategy may sound like a big task, and it is.But it can be very valuable for your business because if your work/product(in this example, artwork) is good then many of your online friends will likely check it out, have appreciation for it and your product will gain “social-proof” from the things your online friends say to you and to others about it.

Many social network sites have a one-click system that enable people to share cool things they have found with others. All by simply clicking one button, this can cause your artwork to gain a big buzz amongst your online friends, and even friends of your online friends. In a niche like art, word-of-mouth means a whole lot. Word-of-mouth will mean sales.

There is also a nice snowballing effect that happens once you have built up a good number of friends online, you will get folks who want to add you as a “friend” simply because of your online popularity, the large number of friends causes some to think  “wow, this person must have something of value if this many people have connected to him/her. I want in!”

All in all,  that’s the beauty of having “friends” on social networking sites when using this social media marketing strategy.

Please take this advice to heart before even starting your social media advertising ventures. Understand that most of the things that happen in our everyday lives happens through some involvements of social interaction, and we naturally tend to listen to and trust people that we like and have a social connection with, rather than doing things with total strangers. We operate in that mode when we decide what to purchase too!

It’s as simple as being nice to people and being a pleasant online acquaintance of theirs before ever asking for anything from them. Many time you won’t need to ask anything of them anyway, when people like you they may come to the idea of buying your products because they trust that it will be good! You never had to push, and they feel that it’s their own idea.

In my opinion, the smartest marketers are the ones that have folks coming to them to buy. When you truly interact and let people know you and try to help them out when you can, you don’t need to pitch them hard. Product sales become an organic happening when you focus on developing comraderie with “friends” first and “selling” last.

 

25 BEST SOCIAL MEDIA SITES FOR YOUR ADVERTISING STRATEGIES

1. Facebook

Category: Social Networking

Boasting more than 300,000 million members (as of ????) Facebook is by far the king of social networking websites. Its seemingly unending influence provides amazing opportunities to engage and interact with current and potential customers,  building fan pages to your website, your online store, your offline business and more can all be done in a matter of minute. They also offer news feeds and specialized group pages that you can create.

2. Twitter

Twitter is also an amazingly popular platform for marketers and buyers alike. This micro-blogging platform is a good way for people, companies, and brands of many kinds that are looking to communicate with customers in real time, and have back and forth conversations in less than 140 characters.

3. Linkedin

Category: Professional Networking

LinkedIn is a great platform to interact and network with other business people, it can be a very effective tool for both you and your company. In addition to setting up a basic profile that includes a do-follow backlink, you can also utilize groups, events, and answers to connect with a huge online network.

4. Wikipedia

Category: Wikis

Wikipedia has an active and vigilant community it wouldn’t be wise to go there spamming your promotions and website because you will be wasting your time. They throw away so many sites that they should invest in dumpster rental, ha! It will get removed and you will too. But if you have a website with relevant, authoritative and useful content, Wikipedia is an awesome social media site to attract new visitors and targeted traffic to your website.

5.  MySpace

Category: Social Networking

Though they do not have the same number of users that they used to because of the pounding Facebook put on them, MySpace is still a highly-trafficked social media website that can be utilized for advertising. On top of making profiles and adding friends, you can also join up with groups interested in your niche-topic and send out group bulletins.

6. Digg

Category: Social News

If you can get your site to show up on the first page of Digg you are in for a MAJOR traffic-spike. And depending on your niche and goal for your site, it could mean tons of product sales. Digg can be particularly useful for bloggers who blog regularly and make their content easy to Digg.

7. Youtube

Category: Video

A well executed video with optimized title and content, can have tremendous viral impacts for your brand. Using Youtube videos is an awesome technique to use for personal branding. There are a great number of ways to optimize your Youtube videos, but having a vid about an interesting concept or unique angle for doing things is #1. After that, be sure to optimize your video title for your keyword(or synonyms thereof), take advantage of tagging, and select an inviting thumbnail image, these should all be key parts of your strategy.

8. Stumbleupon

Category: Social Tagging

Stumbleupon traffic can be great, Stumble upon traffic can be very low. It depends on your niche, testing your sites out on this bookmarking service could bring you visitors from all walks of life and could prove valuable. But personally, if I have a site that doesn’t see much traffic from Stumbleupon within the first 3 weeks of submitting the site, I don’t bother with it.

9. Reddit

If you have an interesting article, video, picture, or anything else web-related, submission to Reddit with an outstanding title can lead to heavy referral traffic from the Reddit homepage.

10. Yelp

Category: Reviews

Local businesses in nearly every field can promote on this social media site. A strong profile consisting of friends, photos, and good reviews can bring highly-targeted leads with the validation of 3rd party business reviews.

11. Delicious at Del.icio.us

Category: Social News / Tagging

Social media marketing on Delicious can be a rather tedious marketing strategy, but if your website is attractive to a younger, tech-savvy audience, this social media site can be very useful in your marketing efforts.

12. Deviant Art

Category: Self-publishing, Social Networking

This social networking site for artists, photographers, and videographers is good place to create a profile, submit content, and increase your websites’ exposure.

13. Yahoo! Buzz

Category: Social News

With a strong network of friends, articles about popular subjects with eye-catching titles can receive lots of traffic when marketed on Yahoo Buzz. For maximum effectiveness it is important to participate in buzz activity and proactively develop your network. Active members with large networks will get the best results.

14. Hacker News

Category: Social News

Hacker News provides an aggregation of social technology news. This is a great niche promotion type of website, tech startups who actively use the service can grab high-volume traffic through Hacker News.

15.  Newsvine

Category: Social News
Primary Value: Promote Link-Worthy Content

Newsvine stories are consist of both traditional news stories and popular peer-voted news, which makes the site an awesome place to display your expertise on a subject or niche. With this website is is very important that you categorize articles and include high resolution photos when submitting work to this social media site.

16. Technorati

Category: Social Tagging

Being that Technorati has very high visitor/user traffic, this makes their website a fine option for online advertisers and website owners looking to expand their RSS syndication.

17. Scribd

Category: Social Publishing
Primary Value: Promote Link-Worthy Content

Scribd is an often overlooked website that is great for those looking to create ebooks, documents, or other types of content more shareable. A free account on Scribd gives you the ability to share documents across numerous file formats, which can be a cool and very effective marketing tool.

18. Techmeme

Category: News Aggregator
Primary Value: Promote Link-Worthy Content

The tech news aggregators’ article selection processes is largely based on quality-based algorithms, and is great for promoting content that is truly worthy of a backlink.

19. SlideShare

Category: Presentation Sharing

If you title and tag your SlideShare presentation in a strategic manner this social site can serve as a good contact point with potential customers. Groups and events are also avenues worth looking into for increased exposure on the SlideShare website.

20. Kaboodle

Category: Community
Primary Value: Promote Link-Worthy Content

Kaboodle, who puts a social twist on shopping, allows product-focused websites to create public shopping lists. Exposure on prominent shopping lists can result in increased traffic for your sales page and/or online store.

21. Epinions

Category: Consumer Reviews

Epinions has value in the eyes of potential buyers because it’s a consumer review site for all types of products. On top of possibly serving as a steady traffic source, it can also be a great place to manage your brand. Also to be noted, reviewers who build up a good level of trust can have a powerful influence within the Epinions community.

22. Care2

Category: Philanthropy
Primary Value: Direct Link Sources

Care2 groups can be an awesome place for companies and organizations who specialize in health and/or environmental matter to market themselves. But just be warned, they are non-stop with there e-mails after you sign up so you may want to use one of your throw-away email accounts(and if you don’t have a few, get them).

23. Fark

Category: Community
Primary Value: Promote Link-Worthy Content

This social media site describes their website as having “news that doesn’t look like news.” Before submitting a new site, such as your own, it is good to initially build up trust within the Fark community. You should also take note that the best performing articles are usually funny, silly, and even plain stupid in nature. Don’t be overly serious with your postings and submissions, it will help you to fit in.

24. Adobe
Adobe Showcase

Category: Editorially Chosen Content
Primary Value: Promote Link-Worthy Content

Submit your website to Adobe and if you are selected as the “site of the day”, this is a great way to draw web visitors from their highly-trafficked customer showcase.

25. Imdb
IMDB Pro

In addition to pulling up movie info, actors, agents, publicists, and other cogs in the entertainment industry, you can also use the IMDB website to post resumes and gain visibility.

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