By definition, social media marketing describes the use of social networks, online communities, blogs, wikis or any other online collaborative media for marketing. In recent times, this has been used extensively to market content (blog) and products, even those with B2B utility. Commonly this had been achieved using social media like Facebook, MySpace, Orkut, Digg, Stumbleupon, Flicker, Reditt, Twitter, Delicious and lots of other upcoming new sites like Yahoo Buzz, Mixx, Fark, Shoutwire, eBaumsworld and others (e.g SWOM, the latest kid on the block). So how does one use the power of social network to market one’s  content or product? Following these few steps may ensure success of your marketing efforts.

  1. Don’t launch your product first. Spend time to understand the dynamics of the social network which you want to use before using it. The dynamics of Digg are very different from Stumbleupon. So the same strategy won’t work in all places.
  2. Create a network on that media before using the same. Always introduce yourself to your network. This creates a long term benefit. Also collaborators are crucial for your success. Identification of these collaborators are extremely important before you launch your product.
  3. Decide your media based on the product which you want to sell. Not all kinds of content/products are suitable for all the social media. Research has indicated that multimedia content is more preferred in sites like Stumbleupon, Facebook and MySpace, while information (textual) is more preferred in sites like Digg and Reditt. Flicker for instance is only suitable for photos.
  4. Interact regularly with your customer segments. Degree of personalization will impact the success of your marketing efforts. A humanitarian approach always speaks volumes and increases trust of the consumers. A relationship is beneficial in the long run, as then he will promote your product (promotion without investment and may start a chain of promotion)
  5. A unique strategy is always crucial for your success. Remember, everyone is using the same tools which you are using. How can you make a difference when you are doing the same thing which others are doing? Decide on a long term goal before focusing on the short term implementation necessities.
  6. Ensure that the fans of your product can promote a message themselves to their social network in multiple online social media venues using WEB 2.0. These buttons must be highly visible to actually prompt them to do it, and the process must be very easy.
  7. Never SPAM! Your customers can always see what you are promoting in your group/fan page. A no reaction from them may mean they are not interested in this particular offering. Overdoing may irritate them enough to leave your network altogether.
  8. Remember “Viral marketing” based around “online conversations“. Social media marketing cannot be controlled by you. But try to encourage user participation and dialogue so that the chain can start. A badly designed social media marketing campaign can potentially backfire on you.
  9. Respect your partners and customers. Always remember they may be seeing through your intentions, even if they may not express that clearly, if you are trying to tweak around. Trust is crucial for your success.
  10. You must learn to collaborate with others and be transparent about it with your partners. Always be clear about the benefits the relationship will have on both. Both are here for a professional reason only. Be sure both the collaborators are clear about that, to ensure a long term relationship.

Following these simple steps may do wonders for your social media campaign. Let me know how you fare.

By Chakraborty

Dr Chakrabarty is the Chief Innovation Officer of IntuiComp TeraScience. Earlier she was Assistant Professor of Delhi University, a QS ranked university in India. Before that she has held research positions in IIT Mumbai, IIT Chennai and IISc Bangalore. She holds 2 patents and over 20 research publications in her name which are highly cited. Her area of research is in smart technologies, integrated devices and communications. She also has a penchant for blogging and is an editor of Business Fundas.