If you think social media marketing is limited to Facebook and Twitter, it’s time to zoom out. While these social networks are an excellent place to begin your social media strategies, expanding it to a wider range of social media platforms can help your business market to new audiences, build brand awareness, increase brand loyalty and increase the amount of traffic back to your website.
1) Review boards and recommendation sites (Yelp.com, TripAdvisor.com, Epinion.com)
The opinions of the e-crowd are taken seriously by people who are looking for advice and recommendations. If your brand can provide your own recommendations and interact with those who are talking about your brand, it gives you the opportunity to expand the awareness of your brand and show that you care by actively engaging.
2) Comment Section of blogs, news sites, etc.
Enter the conversation! If you sell swimming pools for a living, comment on news articles or blogs where people are talking about swimming pools (in fact, one of my favorite entrepreneurial gurus, Marc Lyons did just this and saved his pool business!). Your target market will be searching for these articles and blogs to gather content about decisions they are looking to make. If your brand can provide content that adds to the blog post or news article, they may click over to your website to learn more.
3) PhotoSites (Flickr, Picasa)
Today, you’re wearing your favorite Converse sneakers and decide to take a picture of them, which you upload to Picasa. Suddenly, you get an update. Converse commented on your image saying “Great shot!”. Your loyalty to Converse has just been fueled, right? People want to engage with you as the brand. When you surprise them by finding them in unexpected places, it just strengths the relationship they have with you.
4) Forums (Quora, etc.)
Every industry has it’s own forum (literally, every industry). There’s weight loss forums, motorcycle forums, video game forums, beauty forums — it’s overwhelming…and it’s also a great place to engage with your target consumers through content marketing. Imagine you’re Harley Davidson’s Product Expert and you jump into a motorcycle forum and see a thread about a user looking for new riding gloves for his bike. You contribute to the conversation and provide a real, relevant (read: not ‘salsey’) answer that helps the user decide what gloves to purchase. Will he buy Harley Davidson gloves? Maybe, maybe not. But at least the relationship between the user and your brand has started…and that relationship has every chance to grow and flourish until you have a 100% loyal consumer. Relevant interaction and engagement is key.
5) Answer & Question Sites (Yahoo Answers, ChaCha, even LinkedIn Discussions)
People come to the Internet to answer questions and identify solutions. And they’re not necessarily using Twitter or Facebook. Going the extra mile to visit some Question and Answer sites allows you to demonstrate thought leadership and introduce them to your product through content marketing.
Remember -Social media doesn’t play well with the hard sell – it just wasn’t created for that. So if you do decide to explore these as marketing avenues, be sure that you are providing relevant, real and educational information. Show you care by engaging. Show that you want to get involved by answering their question and providing solutions. At the end of the day, that’s what’ll get the consumer’s attention.
Have you used any of these methods before with success?
What platforms do you regularly engage on that aren’t Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc.?”