Is there a path forward with social media marketing?

Social media continues to be a hot-and-cold topic for marketers in virtually every industry, as the conversion, click through and engagement rates have been difficult to pin down at best. What’s more, many advertisers are likely weighing the prospect of social media marketing against other channels, such as email advertising, but this is not a great idea for several reasons.Social Media is about sociology and psychology more than technology. Brian Solis

Firstly, social media marketing is still very much in its early stages of growth, as websites are just now beginning to really open the doors to advertisers with specialized platforms and similar capabilities. Secondly, just because social does not have the potential returns on investment that email yields does not mean it can be completely overlooked. Small businesses need to focus on crafting their own social media strategy to succeed in today’s market, even if that does not involve reaching for high click-through rates and conversions.

The path forward with Social media marketing

Adweek’s Social Times recently reported that one of the next steps toward social media success appears to be something called “influencer marketing,” in which brands engage users that have large footprints on certain sites. According to the news provider, this includes individuals who have massive followings on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other platforms. But the technique has been relatively elusive thus far.

It's because of this fundamental shift towards user-generated information that people will listen more to other people than to traditional sources. Eric SchmidtAfter all, it is not easy to create a conversation organically in these types of situations. The person targeted might not be interested, and even if he or she does take the bait, it does not mean that the influencer marketing approach will immediately work out for the brand.

However, the source argued that while advertisers are indeed struggling with this, it is worth giving it a shot since a successful strategy can quickly improve visibility of the brand across a large pool of new prospects. The best practices of social will apply to this particular method at as well.

Hit your target

Small business marketers need to remember that efficiency is key in every campaign, and that blindly putting forth content or communications is not going to serve the brand well. Rather, targeting is always necessary and, for a campaign like the one mentioned above, this would mean focusing on users who not only align with the general themes of the brand, but also have followers who would fall into a firm’s target market.

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