Understanding the Basic Categories of Social Media Marketing

Mark Scott
Mark helps his clients first understand what Social Media can bring to their business, be that brand awareness, customer engagement, customer service or income generation and then developing, defining and implementing a plan for their business. Mark is the owner of DOC Marketing - a social media and SEO company.

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    Social media marketing, which is the process of boosting website traffic and brand recognition with the help of popular social media networks available on the web, is one of the most frequently recommended marketing strategies by experts across all industries. And not without good reason. 

    You can increase brand loyalty, establish authority, boost conversions (in addition to increasing traffic and brand recognition as mentioned above) and facilitate electronic word of mouth about your brand, while minimizing your total marketing spend. Further, the algorithms of Google and other search engines are constantly changing to include social signals when ranking and listing different search results. Social media marketing can help you boost SEO and rank better on the search engines results pages (SERPs).

    The benefits don’t end here. They are numerous, subject to one critical condition but – you know exactly what you’re doing!

    Oftentimes, the difference between a social media campaign that was successful in achieving a marketer’s business goals and one that wasn’t is the knowledge of social-media-marketing fundamentals. Understandable, isn’t it? Unless you have your fundamentals right, you will not be able to tackle the more complex issues successfully.

    Two essentials of social media marketing that every marketer must know

    Social media can broadly be classified into six categories, and social media marketing into two. The six types of social media includes. 

    • Networks – Like Facebook (social) and LinkedIn (professional), which allow web users to make virtual social connections with others. You can set up your own profile on these networks, use the different features of the network to connect and share with others and interact in a host of other ways.
    • News – Like Reddit and Digg where users share external links to news items and also vote on the different links to choose the most popular ones and display them for public viewing.
    • Mircoblogging – Like Twitter, where users share updates with the people subscribed to them. As the name suggests, the posts are short and often limited with a specific word count.
    • Media sharing websites – Like YouTube, Flickr and Instagram, which allow users to share their content (images, videos and the like) with other users and also interact with them through social media profiles, messages and comments. Popular image sharing sites include Flickr and Pinterest, whereas Viddler and Vimeo are video sharing sites popularly used.
    • Bookmarking websites – Like StumbleUpon and Delicious, where users can “tag” or bookmark different webpages and sites they like, for future use. Such media provide different features to organize and manage multiple links, also share them publicly.
    • Forums and blog comments – Like Blogger, where users can make posts (ask questions, solicit opinions and the like) and interact with other users of the forum. In the context of blog comments, which are nothing but comments made by the audience at the end of a blog post, the interactions tend to focus on the topic of the post in question.

    Depending upon these six types of social media, you can create targeted strategies for marketing on them. But this process can often turn counterproductive for the simple fact that most sites integrate different types of social media. For instance, Facebook’s status update section allows you to microblog and YouTube’s comment section allows you to make blog comments.

    This overlapping not only complicates things, but also makes it difficult to stick with a streamlined approach. A good idea, therefore, is to categorize social media marketing strategies on the approach (and not the type of social media involved).

    The approach- based categories of social media marketing

    Here social media can be divided into two categories and all your marketing efforts must be aligned to one of the two options. 

    • The comprehensive social media strategy 

    You invest in social media marketing comprehensively, making use of all resources at your disposal. You go on the offensive, exhausting all tactics and opportunities. This strategy is a huge commitment and takes a lot of effort and investment. It is best used by customer-facing businesses, who know their prospects are using social media actively. Opt for the comprehensive strategy only when you personally believe in the power of social media and of making connections with target market segment, in order to improve business results.

    • The minimalist social media strategy

    The minimalist strategy involves investing time and resources in covering the bare minimum of social media marketing. Opt for this strategy if you don’t believe social media to be valuable to you and want to do it just because, well, everyone else is doing it. Now the minimalist strategy is no sham. You will get basic advantages like online presence and SEO benefits. It’s just that you keep your social media marketing simple and don’t go over the top. 

    Choosing one of the two, and then staying within the category is important to ensure your hard-earned marketing dollars and other resources are being spent on marketing activities that are relevant to you, and are not being wasted away.

    Featured image credit: T. L. Furrer / BigStock

    Mark Scott
    Mark helps his clients first understand what Social Media can bring to their business, be that brand awareness, customer engagement, customer service or income generation and then developing, defining and implementing a plan for their business. Mark is the owner of DOC Marketing - a social media and SEO company.

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