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Social Media = Word Of Mouth

To borrow from the Coca Cola Facebook page –  “The Secret is Out There!”  And what you might ask is the secret? Social media is here to stay!

Major corporations are spending billions of dollars per year on SM. Look at the Facebook pages of Coca Cola, Nike, Skittles and even Starbucks! In fact, by 2011 worldwide spending for online social network advertising is expected to reach almost 3 billion dollars! The small business community needs to take social media marketing seriously. SM is quickly becoming a critical element in the marketing sector.

So what is social media? It has been called the world’s largest cocktail party! And here’s why it works:

  • Over 7 out of 10 consumers don’t trust broadcast advertising.
  • Just under 7 out of 10 trust other people like themselves and have a definite tendency to be willing to buy from companies recommended in conversations with their friends.
  • 70% of all conversations take place face to face but ½ of all Americans spend time on the internet and right at half of those have been on Facebook in the last 30 days.
  • A recent survey disclosed that 66% of all adults in the US have been on a Social Networking site in the last month.

A Pennsylvania university recently issued a social media ban across its entire campus for a week. The students said they didn’t have any idea how much impact social media had on  their lives. Many said they would have a problem living without it! Most of the facts have yet to be tabulated, but Harrisburg University of Science and Technology Provost and Executive Vice President Dr. Eric Darr’s response to this experiment was this:  “Social media is here and is here to stay. Whether we are even aware of it or not, it has the potential to take over our lives.”

Social media may be the most powerful advertising tactic you can use to grow your business with no financial outlay.  With social media the cost is low and the results are fast, but you need to make a close inspection of the pool before you jump in the water. Not all SM is good for everyone – look at the various vehicles available and determine which one will work for you, then follow a few rules:

  • Make sure you have goals and a strategy before you begin. Do a little research or hire someone to help you. SERP Solutions can help with your Social Media Marketing needs.
  • Listen before you speak – Size up the conversation. You may want to pretend that you are at a cocktail party. You don’t want to turn people off before you even have a chance to introduce yourself!
  • Add value when joining conversations. Be ready to discuss topics related to the conversation. You may be able to compare products or correct misinformation concerning your type of product/business.
  • Be transparent. Use real people behind your brand. People like people. You are not attending a masked ball. The goal is to get people to know, like and trust you.
  • Integrate. Don’t treat your social media activity as something separate from your other marketing initiatives. Use the online hub and spoke model – your social media activity should serve primarily as an avenue to lead prospects back to your website or blog where you can engage them and help them understand that you have the solutions they are seeking.

Social media and social networking can become your ultimate permission-based marketing tool. It has far more value in terms of branding and word of mouth than any other marketing tactic. Consumers want to interact with their favorite brands online.  Used properly you can generate positive word of mouth about your brand or a new product or service. Be where your customers are. Your competition is!

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