Social Marketing – Profit Point Or Pointless?
When MySpace really came to prominence several years ago, I remember thinking, “Wow!, It really couldn’t be any better than this!” and I was wrong. The social marketing resources on the web today absolutely blow MySpace away and I am not trying to diminish MySpace in any way. Today there are at least 5 major players on the social marketing scene and I will cover the benefits of each one in this brief article.
The most prominent social marketing site today is far and away Facebook. On Facebook the average user can locate classmates from their high school days, keep in touch with far away family members as well as form interest groups to connect with others from a common industry or interest category. It is the latter option that makes Facebook a social marketing powerhouse. The basic strategy is to build a group of similarly interested people and market your website or products and affiliate products to them. This strategy is very straightforward and is used by many social marketers and affiliates. A second marketing point that Facebook offers is the pay per click advertising running alongside of each member’s personal page. This ad strip rotates ads that are centered on the interests of the person who owns the page to optimize efficiency. Rates are very affordable and work great to increase group memberships. Facebook’s projection and prognosis are excellent as features are added regularly and developers come up with new and inventive ways to make Facebook better, and keep it at the top.
Another very valuable social marketing website is Twitter.com. On Twitter you can find people with common interests and add them as “friends” with an option to “follow them” to receive their updates. You can even receive these updates on your cell phone as text messages. In a recent event proving the value of Twitter, an American travelling abroad was arrested and jailed but had no way to contact his cohorts to tell them. Using his cell phone he alerted them to his situation and they were able to bail him out and continue with their work. The most practical use of Twitter is to send out updates on product development to an eager and receptive audience of people you know may be interested in your product, and drive traffic #116;o websites by “Twitting” links to your affiliate resources. The prognosis and projections for Twitter are very good but I do feel may be limited due to the limit in the flexibility of the service.
MySpace has always been a great social marketing site. It originally started to help models who were trying to get started in their industry share their talents and abilities. Although the function of MySpace is similar to Facebook, it is not as popular now with social marketers due to less dynamic, slightly rougher operation of the site. It is a strange thing to see a market dominator become supplanted by the next generation of a genre that it started, but that is exactly what is happening to MySpace. In a very competitive social marketing environment MySpace has fallen right in line with the rest of the pack, instead of maintaining their lead, but is still extremely valuable and very popular from a social marketing perspective. The long term prognosis and projection for MySpace are very positive and definitely command attention from social marketers everywhere.
LinkedIn is an up and coming social contact site which can easily be used to yield social marketing dividends. Although it may seem like an “also ran” when viewed in light of the competition, LinkedIn has it’s own unique qualities that allow social marketers to have a very successful marketing avenue. With the advanced search features and capability to upload pictures and video, LinkedIn has a solid place on the council of social contact sites and should definitely be a cornerstone of any social marketer’s schema. As with most of the other social contact sites users can search for “friends” from almost any interest or experiential category and, as you can imagine, if you can find “friends” there is always marketing potential there.
The final social marketing site that I am going to mention will probably surprise most experienced marketers but here goes. Plaxo is a plug in for MS Outlook which helps the user manage contact information including contact birthday, email addresses, phone number and on, and on. I think that Plaxo is potentially the most useful social marketing application/site out there because it has almost all of the features that are so attractive with the other contact sites, but it is designed to maintain your contact for you, which most others are not. Plaxo will also continually ask your contact to maintain your contact records for you, minimizing your work. It also has a group formation feature which allows you to establish your own special interest groups which has obvious social marketing implications. The drawbacks to Plaxo is that not many people are even using it, or know about it yet, so until it gets more popular it may be an exercise in futility. The long term prognosis and projection for Plaxo is very high and going up so don’t hesitate to utilize it in your social marketing array.
That rounds out my top 5 social marketing sites/programs. Even though each has a different strength, all are very useful and anyone can make a ton of money by learning the mastery of social marketing. I know I didn’t get into a high level of detail on how to make each site/application work well for you, but there is lot more information on my website so visit us and tell us what you think.