Facebook and Social Media - The Next Marketing Opportunity
Viewed at its basic level, marketing is just about reaching the right customers with the right products. The intended result is the creation of delighted customers who are more than willing to open their wallets wide enough to produce income for you.
For centuries, marketers stalked their target customers by means of the current technology which are used to get their message across and spread awareness about, and desire for, their wares.
Looking at Traditional Means of Communication
Traditionally, in the last few decades, marketing communications were only conducted using print, broadcast and such traditional media through what is sometimes called "disruptive advertising". This is an advertising technique where advertisements appear in between the content of interest at the moment.
This is easily visualized. For example, as I type this, there are commercials on the TV, "disrupting" the rather interesting show I am watching as I edit this article.
Most of the ads that just aired missed me completely.
A New World: Social Media and the Internet
The Internet inspired a revolution in marketing because of the fact that Internet markeing is highly personalized and provides more content on-demand than any other available medium before or since.
Partly because of this fact, an a few other pertinent reasons, Social media sites proliferated.
With the advent of social media such as Facebook, the power to create and distribute content became equally available to every user, irrespective of his or her ability as an Internet marketer.
In earlier forms of media, that power rested not with the user (viewer or reader) but with the editorial staff of the channel, or the advertising professional (or amateur), but hardly ever with the user.
The modern medium of social interaction on the Internet is completely personalized, and any user can create or join groups and further create content based on what he/she likes.
Opinions are free, as is information, and offered by all on all subjects on websites such as Facebook. This is one reason why social media is of utmost concern to the Internet marketer, since buying decisions are not influenced as much by advertisements touting the features of various products and services as by emotion and belief. The traditional word-of-mouth marketing approach has been accelerated and expedited by leaps and bounds on social networks.
Facebook: The Phenomenon At the Center of the Social Media Boom for Internet Marketing
With millions of unique users worldwide, Facebook is the best known, and most frequented, social networking site in terms of activity and subscriptions. What began as a garage initiative by Mark Zuckerberg has now become the biggest phenomenon on the Internet and has recently gone public.
The Facebook interface allows for quick communication between members of like mind and provides almost anyone the ability to create fan pages and groups at the click of a mouse. This sort of functionality and ease of access is what makes Facebook extremely popular among both the general public and the Internet marketer.
Another important reason for its immense popularity for Internet marketing, as well as a variety of other uses is the wide variety of social applications that have been, and are constantly being developed and made available to Facebook members.
These applications can allow users and friends to do joint activities like playing games that run endlessly, share photos, videos, and web links, and many more fun, and potentially financially rewarding, things.
How Does the Facebook Experience Aid Internet Marketing?
In previous eras, media plans were drawn to include such diverse advertising venues as television channels, publications, and any other media which could grab the maximum viewers within the selected target audience.
In the era of social media, the science of market segmentation and targeting has become much more accurate.
At the top of the social media ladder, Facebook provides a wide variety of venues which the Internet marketer to communicate with the audience, which opens up an entirely different world of possibilities. Some of these popular methods used by both amateur and professional Internet marketers are:
The first, and most obvious opportunity for getting one's message across is advertising on Facebook.
The difference, between this social media world and more traditional eras, however, is the fact that you can create your own advertisement in a matter of minutes and also specifically identify your target group in terms of demographics and types of discussions where you want your advertisement to appear.
2. Fan Pages
Facebook allows every brand, as well as individual users, to create fan pages for favorite celebrities, homegrown businesses, and causes. Large brands have taken advantage of this and have created their official pages on Facebook which tend to create a huge, immediate fan following around the world.
The fan page has an immense ability to provide first hand information about the brand and also to collect immediate and frank feedback from customers.
3. Branded Applications
One of the most effective ways to engage a user toward your brand is by creating an application; this could be a game or a contest, with your branding coming across subtly through it.
What makes Facebook exciting for those hoping to use it for Internet marketing is the way it allows the marketer to target your message specifically to the customer segment you want to see your message. Facebook also provides analytics and page insights that provide feedback on, and measurement of, the activity.
The options available from Facebook can be creatively exploited and used judiciously for creating maximum benefits for any brand.
However, keep in mind that, despite the advantages to the Internet marketing specialist, on Facebook customers have an equal say with the advertiser and have the ability to respond immediately, both negatively and positively, to any of your actions, advertising, or claims.
While the opportunity for the Internet equivalent of face-to-face marketing is available to everyone, it is still a skill best practiced by professionals, or amateurs well trained in its uses.
Acquiring the services of a social media consultant to work out your social media strategy may be valuable to move matters along in a productive manner so that your efforts will not be in vain.
If you want to hire someone to do your social media marketing for you, a company called I Need Hits has been around for over a decade and has one of the best programs for the small business amateur. If you want to do it yourself, there is training for social media marketing from hypertraffic.com.