When I present to an audience interested in using Social Media as part of their marketing strategy I see realisation dawn on their faces about half way through the presentation. That’s at the part where I talk about the variety of strategies that can be adopted by businesses that don’t include Facebook!

People have definite opinions about social media marketing and about the tools used to execute a social media strategy. I started writing some of them down so that I could, as now, address them in an article to debunk some of the myths or preconceived ideas about social media as a whole. Enjoy!

To succeed you have to be on the four main applications

This generally means Twitter, YouTube, Facebook and a blog. The tools you use to engage your audience vary greatly according to what business you are involved in. There are times when I’d recommend a client to make more use of Foursquare and article distribution on Wiki than Facebook. What I would say, in every case, is that social media application begins with a blog. All other tools used depend on that hub and ideally, none of them stand alone. As in traditional marketing, social media tools need support, even Twitter!

Social Media costs nothing

All media activity costs. Whether it’s in terms of time, resource, people or actual media costs there is an investment made by the user. Yes, a lot of the applications can be accessed for free i.e. costing only your time, however if you don’t know how to use them properly they will cost you more than time in the end. I advise clients with small budgets to learn how to use each application (which can be done in hours) but it is very difficult for anyone with little or no marketing experience to understand each application in the overall marketing picture and that’s when mistakes are made.

You wouldn’t try to develop your own traditional media campaign would you? You’d generally employ are marketing consultant or an advertising agency to ensure that you get the most ‘bang’ for your ‘buck’. Whilst few people can claim to be social media experts there is a definite advantage to using a social media consultant with good writing skills and a history in advertising and marketing.

If you really want to utilise the tools of social media yourself then you need to be trained to get the most out of them on a daily basis, to see the bigger picture and you need to ensure that you have the time to use them.

Writing Articles is easy

I always giggle when I hear a client say they’ll write their own articles for online distribution. Not because I doubt their writing ability but because online writing differs from the usual hard copy writing. There’s a different tone used and the layout has to be just so. Keyword density comes into it as do parent headers and sub headers. The angle taken to promote a business because you can’t blatantly promote yourself if you want publishers to use your article, what degree to niche your topic, embedding links and resources – it’s becoming rather technical.

By Robert Smith

John Smith: John, a former software engineer, shares his insights on software development, programming languages, and coding best practices.