There is no doubt that well-managed social media marketing offers an opportunity that other online marketing does not. If your website enjoys top search engine rankings, or you have well-placed ads through Google AdWords, you have placed your business to be found by those searching for your products or services. But, social media allows you to market your brand BEFORE they begin searching.
To use social media effectively, however, you need to create a truly compelling message—and a landing page on your site that justifies attention from visitors. Ideally, it should have some viral element that customers will want to share, so your audience is expanded.
Let’s look at the Top 7 Social Media sites, and evaluate the potential of each.
#1 Facebook. According industry ranking service, Compete, Facebook now has more than 127 million unique monthly visitors. Facebook offers a good way for businesses to communicate with customers. But, it is only an alternative to email for Facebook users. Because of the way that Facebook works, the viral potential of your message is limited to other Facebook users.
#2 YouTube. YouTube currently has more than 90 million unique visitors monthly. It has greater viral potential, because a well-produced video is likely to be shared. Since videos are hosted on YouTube, however, you will have to be creative to get those who have seen your video to visit your site. Create a unique call-to-action, and you can be successful with YouTube.
#3 Digg. With 37+ unique monthly visitors, Digg is a popular place to release information. But, in order to be successful on Digg, your article needs to have a provocative, weird or controversial aspect—or at least a headline that suggests that. It can be a rich source of web traffic, but is difficult for most “serious” businesses to use effectively.
#4 Flickr. Flickr boasts more than 27 million unique monthly visitors. It is obviously valuable for those businesses that have excellent photos and images that can promote their brand, such as artists, designers, architects, photographers, etc. For others, it may require a more creative approach to generate website traffic.
#5 Twitter. Twitter is visited monthly by 20+ million people. It is most appropriate for sharing company news or establishing your reputation—especially for consultants and others selling their expertise. It’s not likely to result in traffic to your website. And, the abbreviated urls that appear in tweets are not useful for improving “link popularity” with the search engines.
#6 LinkedIn. This business network has 14+ million unique monthly visitors. For large and small companies, and many consultants and professionals, as well, LinkedIn is a great way to promote a business. In addition to LinkedIn networks (groups) that help you target the best audience for posting your “brand messages,” your profile on LinkedIn is often displayed in search engine results for your name or company name. In addition, you can easily link your LinkedIn postings to your website to drive traffic there.
#7 StumbleUpon. StumbleUpon has an estimated 4+ million monthly users. Most of these rarely visit the StumbleUpon website, but have the StumbleUpon toolbar installed as part of their browser. If you have interesting or helpful content on your site, StumbleUpon can bring you website visitors. You can submit your own material by clicking the StumbleUpon toolbar on your computer.
Remember, it is important to take the nature of your own business into consideration in evaluating the potential any of these social media sites offer for marketing your business.