So What is Social Media Viral Marketing and Why is it Important?
Social Media describes today’s Internet generation as being socially interactive. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn and YouTube are just a few and oldest of the most popular platforms used by billions of people every day.
From a business perspective, anyone can publish online content in the form of text, audio and video which could either help or harm a business. From a marketing perspective, Social Media has changed the way businesses market themselves.
Before continuing, watch this 4 minute video. This simple yet compelling video on Social Media and its effects on business will define some facts that could (and should) scare you!
Effective Ads Require Attention. Do You Pay Attention?
Once there was a time when salesmen knocked on your door to sell their products. Like everything in life, change is inevitable, and old marketing strategies certainly are not exempt. In today’s world, everywhere you turn there is endless advertisement: signs, commercials, etc. all around you all of the time. If you’re like most people, this form of advertisement is just “background noise” and tends to be ignored. Think about it. How often do you sit and watch TV commercials? Is this what you pay advertisers for? To be ignored? Advertising only works when attention is paid and action is taken.
Consider these facts:
- 1 in 3 teens can’t name the major television networks.
- People use digital TV recorders to fast-forward through commercials.
- From 1999 to 2004, the Newspaper Association of America reported general circulation dropped by another 1.3 million.
Over 85% of today’s consumers research online before they buy. According to a study by Forrester Research in 2004, 65% of consumers surveyed spent an average of $458 on products they researched online and purchased offline. And this is only what was purchased offline – in 2004! What year is it? Forrester Research labeled these consumers “cross-channel shoppers.” This is not a fad. It is a trend continuing to grow year after year. If your potential client or customer is in the market for what you offer, will they find today what you offer online?
Time for a Change in Thinking
When you ready to shift your mindset from conventional advertising to online advertising, there are three key points about Social Media and small business website marketing:
- Social Media changed the way people pay attention.
- Word-of-mouth advertising is among the best there is to sell your wares.
- Viral marketing spreads like wildfire — virtually free.
Obviously, word-of-mouth hasn’t changed at all. In fact, it is more alive and greater than ever in a Social Media world. Learn how to combine these three aspects and you’ll have one powerful and very inexpensive marketing campaign! Rest assured, when you realize the strength and ease of viral marketing, you will never look at conventional advertising as an option again.
Begin Attracting Attention to Your Small Business
To focus attention your way, first schedule time for your efforts. Everything good requires work and this is no exception. However, this is a fun project and don’t be too surprised how much you learn about yourself and your business along the way. The outline below is a primer:
- Search online for your name or business name and review the results. Find anything negative about yourself or your business?
- Search for blog and forum communities related to your industry, or better yet, online communities that consist of your potential customers or clients and read what is going on.
- Inject yourself socially into conversations ONLY if you have something positive and useful to offer. NEVER turn yourself into a commercial. You will only be ignored.
- Gradually establish a community trust by giving free information and backing up your facts.
In the paragraphs to follow, we will define the basics and guide you step by step into the world of viral marketing.
Leveraging Blogs and Forums to Your Advantage
If you’re not certain what a blog or a forum is, or know how to use Facebook, YouTube or any of the Social media popular channels, learn about here first. The whole idea is to get involved — participate. Establishing trust in your words is of the upmost importance. What you are trying to do is become known as an expert with or about something, the “something” you want to market yourself as. Publish good advice or create “how to” tips about something you know well and others will find useful. To get yourself known within an online community however, DO NOT make the mistake of jumping in and becoming a commercial! about yourself or your business. DO NOT blast others. Unless you have something positive to contribute, do not contribute at all. You will lose all credibility immediately and get ignored, or worse, banned. Instead, read what is going on first for a while. Get to know the participants and topics, then slowly interject. Build your reputation in the community. If you start selling yourself right from the start, the community will reject you and treat you as just another spammer. People read Facebook and Twitter posts, blogs and forums for useful information and social interaction, not to read commercials so comment wisely.
You Need to Give of Yourself to Get Their Attention
In order to achieve attention, you need to be willing to give some information and expertise for free. Yes, for free. Again, you are establishing trust. Over time, you can become a trusted resource. Your information will become quoted, used, and spread around. Each time your information spreads, it will contain a link or an informational piece about you and your business. You see, Social Media is all about people and social interaction, not commercials. One needs to give in order to receive. This is the basis of viral marketing. If you create something of great value, it will be spread around the online communities quickly and benefit you with return traffic.
Attach a Blog to Your Website
A website can be used to create and store articles, but better yet, have your own blog attached to your website. The blog can bring in visitors, and the website can be your commercial. Best of all, both the blog and website enjoy being searchable by search engines and offer more search results to relevant key terms you are marketing for. You can create and manage your own blog articles geared toward your topic of choice without the aid of a webmaster. Each time you publish your blog posts, your blog will syndicate (known as pinging) the post to blog directories and to those who subscribe to it. Your posts are instantly publicly available on the web.
Which Blog Platform to Use
As opposed to using Blogspot or Blogger or other readily available blogging platforms, 6×6 Design uses WordPress for a blogging platform on our websites. The benefit of WordPress is having a professional, stable blog platform residing within your main website file directory. This way, search engines can find and include your blog content as part of our main website content. For example, if you used Blogspot, you wouldn’t really own the domain name. The domain may look something like http://www.yourblogname.blogspot.com. Search engines will find your content, however most of the benefits are given to Blogspot since your blog resides in Blogspot’s website.
Most Cost Effective Advertising Available
After initial setup, WordPress is by far the most widely accepted, customizable, content management blogging system in the world, and free to use under a GNU General Public License, or GPL. There are thousands of visual themes to choose from and most are free to use. It does require a little training to administer at first, however the training should only take an hour or so. Once in place, you have the ability to create content related to your business and share it with the world. With time and practice, you can gain the respect of a community that follows your blog which ultimately becomes the source of your income.
Have More Questions? Ready To Start?
We highly suggest reviewing our Planning Your Website checklist next. This list contains questions we commonly ask our clients to help us better understand your needs. When you’re ready, simply contact us for a free consultation and estimate here or call 585-861-7483.