Basically, social networking sites allow individual followers to post comments or re-post (‘re-tweet’) a message posted by other individuals within their networks. By commenting on a post or re-tweeting other people’s messages, many users connections are able to see the message – giving it a wide reach.
One of the major advantages of this form of marketing is that it spreads from one user to the other and it resonates due to the fact that it originates from a ‘friend’ within a social network, as opposed to the company advertising the product. This provides a cost-effective ‘word-of-mouse’ marketing platform for businesses to implement marketing campaigns.
Social media marketing also gives companies the opportunity to interact with potential customers. Individual followers can ask questions about a product/service and the company can respond to the questions at the click of a mouse. This is not possible in the traditional media advertising platforms such as print and television.
Beside attracting potential customers, this concept of marketing can also help build links to your website, which in turn supports your search engine optimisation (SEO) efforts.
It can also help your business to be found by people who perform searches at a social networking site to find social media content.
Though a very effective strategy, a social media campaign can be undermined by the following mistakes:
1.) Irrelevant content. Posting irrelevant messages or information that does not reflect your company, services or products can create negative brand equity. You must therefore think through every message to ensure it is relevant and has a positive impact on your business.
2.) Talking too much. Avoid the temptation of sharing too much information. Do not post everything that happens in your company every hour as such updates may not go well with your followers.
3.) Failing to engage your audience. The best way to go about social media marketing is to interact with your followers. Respond to their questions and/or comments, as this reflects positively on your brand.