Social Media Marketing – An Overview

Social Media Marketing – An Overview

With so many options and new services popping up every day, social media can be confusing for a small business or not for profit organization that can’t afford to hire it’s own in-house marketing firm. This guest post will serve as an overview of the different social media pieces and how they fit together; a quick ramp-up for the busy professional or entrepreneur who quickly wants to get up to speed to ask the right questions or hire the right experts, like the folks at Accelerated Freelance.

The Pieces
A complete online marketing strategy may have many different pieces, or channels, that you will have to maintain. The most important first step is choosing the channels that will best reach your audience, and making sure you are actively engaging customers through those channels.

This is important: it is better to simply have a message directing customers to another channel than to have a poorly maintained one.

Channels can include the company web site, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Google, and a blog. I’ll briefly discuss each below.

Web Sites Are Still King
I came to web development in the late 90’s when all you needed was Notepad, a little html knowledge and a lot of persistence. Add a few keywords and shared links, and you were pretty well assured to build traffic to your site. Your company’s web site was not only your front door online, it was the only door.
Web development has changed significantly and the growth of social media has dramatically changed the number of ways potential customers can find you. Now you not only have a front door, but many side doors, and customers aren’t always polite enough to use what you consider the front door!

Despite these changes, a well-designed web site is still considered your most important asset. This is where customers will ultimately go to find reliable information about your products. Without a web site, most potential customers won’t believe you are operating a legitimate business. All of your other channels should point back to your web site, and your web site should list all of the channels you have chosen to maintain. The web site is the hub of your marketing efforts.

There are many different social networking sites and depending on your industry, you may want to look for a more specialized niche site than Facebook. With 800 million active users, Facebook is hard to ignore. Creating a Facebook page requires you to first create a Facebook profile for yourself. You can’t create a page without that page being tied to an individual’s profile. The steps to create a page are pretty simple and can be found here:

Linked-In is a professional social networking site. This service has fewer subscribers than Facebook, but people interact with a business focused mindset on Linked-In. You will find mostly mature professionals that are looking for business connections and to find help and answers to business problems. Companies also use Linked-In to advertise jobs and recruit new employees. Creating a Linked-In company page starts here:

Twitter is a micro-blogging site used mostly by the 25 and older crowd. You will find all kinds of information shared here, but it is particularly useful for breaking news and quick answers to simple problems; like finding a resource on the web or a software tool to achieve a specific goal. Creating a Twitter profile is relatively easy; go to, submit your email address and username and you are ready to start tweeting!

There are other search engines, but Google has the majority of search and advertising traffic. Optimizing your site so a search engine can find your information can get pretty complex. The simple and most important things to keep in mind; constant updates to your site, descriptive page titles, keywords and section titles will raise your ranking. There is a whole science and industry built around search engine optimization, but Google offers some getting started advice.

Writing a professional blog is one way to keep your content fresh. The blog can be hosted by a free service like blogger or, or you can ask your webmaster to host the site on your own servers. Blogging is an inexpensive way to reach your customers by offering valuable information that is relevant to your field. The important thing here, which is true for all of these channels, is to stay with it!

Putting the Pieces Together
Hopefully the brief description above is enough to get you started asking questions on your journey down the social media marketing path. The important points I want to emphasize:

  1. You don’t need to use all of the channels, but once you pick one, stick with it!
  2. Social marketing is about building relationships through excellent customer service and expert advice. Giving away information that visitors find helpful will eventually turn them from visitors to customers.
  3. Overt advertising is considered spam. Start using social media by listening. Don’t send out a bunch of press releases and advertisements. Listen and try to help your customers, see how other people are using these channels and figure out how your company should be portrayed. No matter how long your company has been around, you are building a reputation for the first time on each new channel.
  4. Each channel is different. There are tools that will allow you to send your Facebook updates to Twitter, for example. This is obnoxious and will annoy people, don’t do it.

Hopefully you find this information helpful. Please leave a comment and let us know what you think or whether I left anything out!

Adam Chronister is co-founder of Enleaf, an award winning Web Design and Internet Marketing Firm. You can find him on Facebook Facebook and Twitter.

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