When social media term is discussed, we generally think of Facebook, WhatsApp and Twitter. However, the reality is very different & more than that. Earlier way to send messages over long distances was both audio and visual. People used to communicate smoke signals by day and beacon fires by night in ancient China, Egypt, and Greece. Drums were used in many parts of the world to extend the range of the human voice for communication as well. The seeds of social media were sown during 550 BC when the regular postal system was established in Iran where horse riders and horse-drawn wagons carried mail. Usually, mail consisted of governmental dispatches and was delivered from one place to another. The 18th and 19th century were breakthrough period where devices like the telegraph (1792), telephone (1890) and radio (1891) ushered in a new era of the sending and receiving messages over long distances. The increasing number of express messages between businesses, financial and legal offices and banks in growing cities, as well as busy street traffic, gave rise to new methods of telegram and letter transportation. The pneumatic post was introduced to combat the shortcomings of the telegraphic network in Paris. The invention of telephone and radio took the meaning of communication to another level. The 20th century was marked by the growth and development of internet. With the growth and development of internet, there came era of exchange of messages from one person to another digitally or via web. Email, ARPANET, USENET, BBS (Bulletin Board System ), IRC (Internet Relay Chat), Listserv, Blogger, Six Degrees, Live journal, Napster were some of the important sites for social interactions and sharing.
The 21st century saw a spurt in the growth of social networking sites by the launching of Friendster, Fotolog, Photobucket, Flickr, Orkut, Facebook, Ning, Digg, Twitter, Netlog, You tube etc. Social media has come a long way since the days of the telegraph and even the more recent days of Internet-relay chats (IRC), and it continues to evolve. In the last few years, social media has become a convention of the online landscape. Major social networks and social media websites make changes and improvements on a fairly regular basis, so it s sure to keep evolving in coming years. The following figure explains the History of Social Media.
NEED OF SOCIAL MEDIA:
i. Social media does help get the word out first and foremost
Social media does in fact help get the word out about the business. But even more important than the exposure it provides the opportunity to an organization and it provides to grow the relationships with that target audience. Facebook Fans, Twitter followers, and LinkedIn connections are people who know the organization, have likely done business with in the past, and will be most likely to tell their friends about the organization. Social media allows concern to strengthen relationships with these connections through social engagement. And because that engagement is easily visible to the connections of current fans and followers, social media can introduce the business to a whole new audience and enable to reach your next great customer.
ii. Social Media is popular
It is need to be a dedicated reader of tech blogs or an expert in online marketing to know that social media is really popular among consumers. With more than 1 billion (yes, 1 billion) people on Facebook, 200 million people on Twitter, and 200 million more on LinkedIn social media will touch nearly every customer that walks through door. For most small businesses, Facebook is the jumping-off point for getting started with social media marketing. With its extensive reach and dynamic functionality there are very few businesses that couldn t benefit from having a presence on Facebook. And starting there will make it easier when they want to try something new.
iii. Social media sites are free
There is no catch getting started on social media is completely free. Face book, Twitter, and LinkedIn all offer free accounts to users and businesses and signing up won t require anything more than an email address. Some sites like LinkedIn do offer paid accounts with features that are targeted at more advanced users, but for the purposes of getting started, there s no upfront cost for most of the social networks.
iv. Social media reaches all ages and demographic
Social media has really broken down all of the age barriers that once accompanied the ways people thought about social media
Social media encourages two-way communication
There is no marketing tool available to small businesses today that provides the type of two-way communication that comes with using social media. It has the power to take any of the feedback may receive from using a tool like email marketing and supercharge it letting customers share their thoughts, questions, and ideas quickly and publicly without having to take the time to write an entire email
Social media is perfect for customer service
Providing stellar customer service is likely already a top priority for small business. But along with the two-way communication that social media provides, it also offers a unique opportunity to step up the customer service game and provide instant gratification to target audience. This will allow you to showcase just how much care about providing a memorable experience and will ensure that no customer inquiry goes unnoticed. And by monitoring social media for customer feedback and offering a response, it really helps to drive real business results.
Social Media Can Make a Big Difference for Your Email Marketing
Social media has completely changed the game when it comes to how small businesses think of email marketing. Sharing email newsletter across social networks can open content up to a whole new audience and finally generate the type of buzz have been looking for. Together, these powerful tools have reshaped the marketing landscape and have really leveled the playing field for small businesses trying to better connect with current customers and reach new audiences for their business. Sharing your email newsletter across your social networks can open content up to a whole new audience.
Benefits of Social Media Marketing
The benefits to marketing via social networks are numerous and largely gained at a very low cost. Through social networks, the company can:
Increase product and brand awareness Increase web traffic
Increase customer loyalty
Increase success of new product launches
Increase Product & Brand Awareness
Marketing on social networking sites will increase awareness by increasing the online presence of your products and brand. When the company creates a group or organizes a promotion on a social networking site, the members are reminded of your brand and website with every interaction. Since the customers are deciding what groups they want to join and what information they want to receive, this information is usually positively received.
Increase Web Traffic
Communications, recommendations, and other postings on social networking sites often contain web links. If the company is mentioned and a link is included, these postings drive traffic to your site, increasing brand and product awareness. Due to the makeup of social networking sites, these links are naturally targeted to potential customers that are interested in the company, products, or services.
Increase Customer Loyalty
If done correctly, promoting the company or products by building a social network can greatly enhance customer loyalty. If participation of the company is consistent and honest, adds value by supplying useful content, and appears personal, it will greatly enhance company s reputation while building trust and credibility. Offer help first, and promote products only when asked and when appropriate; otherwise your attempts could be considered spam.
Increase Success of New Product Launches
Social networks provide a unique opportunity to survey the relevant community on their products wants and needs. The community can guide and participate in the product development process. Giving them a voice in the process can increase loyalty and guarantee success when a new product is launched. Users of social networking sites profile themselves upon joining a network. These profiles can be very detailed, and their purpose is to help the user connect with others who share similar interests and activities. The profiles contain, not only basic information about the user, but also information on their education, areas of technical expertise, publications, memberships in other groups, geographic location, and job position (among other information). For marketers, this information is invaluable as it can be used to develop highly targeted marketing messages.
Methods of Social Network Marketing
Social media marketing is popularly called as Internet marketing. Today people can find many ways for internet marketing. Many people who enter this online marketing are less worried because of its guaranteed success. Internet attracts many business people to promote their business online. Social network marketing is grown to such a height that today many people can\'t earn without it. Some of the most recognized network marketing tools are Facebook, My Space, Twitter and LinkedIn. Twitter became regular place for people who have newly entered the field of social network marketing.
There are some most popular methods of social network marketing:
When person starts blogging or posting data about any product, later it can become big business via blog. Websites and blogs are most powerful tools for social network marketing when matched with other networking tools. Blog is an amazing tool which provides many other facilities in addition to just marketing business. It also helps to communicate with other clients in case of any problems. Very effective can be to combine social media with article marketing and blogging, for example, creating links back to landing pages and get maximum exposure for products. There are many article directories that allow for free article submission. Each article should be unique. Blogging is also very popular for creating brand. As with anything it is important to make sure that brand stands out from the rest.
B. Personal website or blog
It is important to have private which will help clients to know about the company and it will make them clear that the company has a serious business and help to make huge revenue via online marketing.
C. Article selling
It is also best and cheap internet marketing method. It is a mode of advertising trade just by writing articles and attracting endless number of users across world. Today it provided free business to many advertisers and publishers and they are really benefited through their articles.
D. Email sending
Electronic mail sending is the best way to marketing. The best way is to collect list of email addresses through portfolio websites and email about business to all internet users. Email should be attractive in such a way that recipient will be impressed to get back to you. It is also difficult to tread that fine line between spam and building up a social media audience. If individuals are contacted purely to make money then the company is sending out spam. This is a very unprofitable way to go about marketing.
E. Using social networking websites
Social networking websites like Twitter and Facebook can be used to promote sales. These provide best platform for all who are thinking of online marketing.
F. Video promotion
In social media particularly video marketing can also be very effective. Millions of Internet users look at videos every day. A short video about your services and products can reach millions of potential customers. Several video distribution websites is very important for marketing. These websites uploads service to the whole world. All that is needed to do is film a video about marketing and send it to video uploading sites like You Tube. It seems it is the easiest way of marketing than any other modes since many people will be interested in view videos rather than word form of advertisement.
Collaboration through online mode becomes easy if it is facilitated by social media technologies. Social media can be effective for building social authority; individuals or organizations can establish themselves as experts in their fields, and then they can begin to influence these fields. Thus, one of the foundational concepts in social media is that, with social media, one cannot control one s message completely, but one can contribute to discourses. Social media technologies are capable of reaching audiences all over the world.
vi. http:// www.constantcontact.com/learning-center
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