Social Marketing & You... & you... & you....
Social marketing is something of a new "buzzword" in the search engine optimization industry, but it has been around a lot longer under different names. In the modern context, what we're talking about is using sites that link people to one another in order to market your business, venture, product, whatever it may be. The most popular places for this are Twitter, Facebook, and MySpace. There are several others, including YouTube - which will get its own post here eventually - but the essential function is this: if people you know (or people in general) like something, you might, too.
These various networking sites give different names to this concept, but the end result is that, via recommendations, other people learn about some information, a page, a product, a movement, a business, a project, a video, a song, or any other thing or idea out there in the world of Internet content (and sometimes real-world content). Facebook calls these recommendations a few different things: "liking" someone's post, becoming a "fan" of something, or joining a "group" about something. MySpace calls it "friending." YouTube calls it "favoriting." Twitter calls it "Re-tweeting," "hash-tagging," or "@-ing." On Digg, you can "dig" or "bury" something.
The point is, if enough people recommend something, it can go "viral," meaning that, for a period of time, the "thing," whatever it is, will be everywhere on the 'Net.
This concept drives home the idea I've been promoting here of having excellent content that people will want to look at and share with others via links, tweets, likes, digs, or whatever the site happens to call it. How do you make this great content? Sometimes, you have a business or product or service that's a little quirky, so using that funny angle, you could create a humorous commercial and post it to YouTube, maybe even as a "reply" to a similar, popular video, so more people will see it. Then, you post that link to your Facebook account, which is linked to Twitter. This means that, once you post that link to your cute, funny video to your Facebook status, it automatically updates your Twitter status. Your Twitter account should by synched to your MySpace account, so the Facebook status updates your Twitter status, which updates your MySpace status. From there, you can also have the Twitter feed going to your web site and blog, so it updates that, too.
Finally, you would posted either a link or an embedded player of your video on your RSS-enabled blog. Over time, if your content is good enough, people will come and take a look. And they'll share your content with others. If your products or services are what people are looking for, you'll make sales. And that's how it links back to your web site content.
Next time, we'll talk about effective social marketing updates that don't come off as "Spammy."