social media marketing, social media for businessForget PPC, organic search, email marketing and all the other traditional internet marketing strategies; Social Media Marketing is all around you and here to stay! If you have been dismissing social media websites as places where teenagers waste time, you are dead wrong! In fact, you may be killing your business by ignoring this important and effective marketing tool.

Don’t get it twisted; social media is not just about creating a Facebook page for your business. It is more than that and like all marketing efforts; you should have a concrete plan for it to be effective.

Which Social Media Should You Use?

To have an effective media marketing campaign, you should select the right media. For example, a restaurant or a local furniture store will achieve considerable success with Twitter and Facebook than with LinkedIn or MySpace. A B2B company will be better off establishing a LinkedIn company profile than a Facebook page. You should know which site will work for you. This is not difficult: simply find out where your customers spend most of their time at and engage them there.

OK, I Have a Profile Page, Now What?

Establishing a social media account is just the first step to getting to your customers and prospects. Next, you have to let them know you are there to help them. You can do this by posting status updates, notes, pictures and videos on your profiles. Also, be quick to respond to their queries, comments, suggestions and the like. Social media is all about building relationships through virtual interaction.

Provide information about your products but don’t thrust them in your customers face with a “Buy Now! Buy now!” message. When you have built trust with your customers through online interactions, the sales will come.

Hmm, What About The Rants And Raves?

All businesses would like to appear the best in their customer’s eyes. Unfortunately, in social media marketing, some customers will blast you with how your products are of low quality, very unfriendly customer support and all sorts of criticisms. It can be tempting to simply delete such comments from your profile. However, this is not the best way to go.

In such cases, follow up on the customer and try to know why he is angry. Perhaps you were late on shipment or gave a wrong phone number. These can be easily resolved and you will be surprised at how solving a customer’s queries will improve the credibility of your company.

Effective social media marketing can be summed up in this line: Build Relationships First, Sales Later!

Do you agree or disagree?  Perhaps, I missed something?  Either way, I would just love to hear what your thoughts are on this topic… just let me know your alive!