Small Business Social Media Marketing Strategies

Being a small business owner requires the ability to wear many hats and become proficient in multiple skills. Long before opening the doors, owners must develop strategic business and marketing plans to ensure required tasks are accomplished.

Perhaps the greatest challenge for small business owners is engaging in effective and affordable marketing strategies. While it is nearly impossible to build brand recognition without substantial marketing efforts, this venue can be cost-prohibitive for companies just starting out.

Social media marketing is a venue that is not only affordable, but can yield powerful results. This technique can be interconnected with other online marketing strategies to obtain maximum online visibility.

Most people are familiar with social media outlets such as Twitter and Facebook. Nearly every major consumer brand has implemented a Facebook business page. This venue is effective for interacting with consumers and offering private discounts or sales offers to subscribers.

Social media outlets can be used to promote company websites, blogs, marketing videos, podcasts, digital newsletters, press releases, and informational articles. Business owners can interact with subscribers to obtain feedback, build momentum about a new product release, and share company news.

Social media marketing also encompasses social bookmarking through websites such as StumbleUpon and Digg. Not only can companies promote their own marketing collateral, they can also share resources about other companies. This provides opportunity to build customer relations and expand business connections.

Another form of social marketing is publishing comments to like-minded blogs or websites. Many companies use this strategy to develop relationships with businesses that would be a good marketing partner.

For example, FoodBuzz.com is the #1 online foodie network. It provides a venue where food bloggers can meet other foodies and share recipes. However, FoodBuzz has numerous sponsors who reach out to food bloggers and provide incentives to promote their products. This is a prime example of co-op marketing that not only reduces time, but also costs.

Leaving comments on company websites and blogs is a good strategy for link building online. Link building is essential for boosting search engine rankings. While search engines utilize a variety of techniques to determine where websites rank, inbound links is one of the more important criteria. When hundreds of websites link to a specific website it signals the search engines that it is a popular site and offers information people are looking for.

The primary goals of incorporating social marketing into a small business are to develop customer relations, build brand recognition, and improve online visibility. There are many facets to social media marketing, so it can be beneficial to participate in a marketing training course to learn about available strategies and how to capitalize on each.

Small business owners often find it advantageous to outsource marketing projects to an online marketing company. Working with professionals eases burdens for entrepreneurs and frees up time for them to attend to business management.

Those who are new to operating a small business may find it helpful to visit the Small Business Association website at SBA.gov. The SBA provides a variety of training courses, business financing resources, mentors, and step-by-step guides for developing business and marketing plans.

The Difference Between Social Media and Social Bookmarking in Internet Marketing

It’s very easy to confuse between the social media and social bookmarking especially for those who are new in the online marketing platform. As a matter of fact these words mean absolutely two different things despite they both have the same prefix word. It is only wise for you to determine the difference so that you don’t use the services of bookmark when you intended to use media.

Let’s take a look at social media also known as social network. Just like you go to dinner, parties and meetings where you meet friends whom you have the same interest, social media takes it to a whole new level because interaction is not limited to your locality but you have the whole world at your disposal. You sign up, talk about your social interest such as hobbies, programs on TV and maybe music all in the name of building your profile. Popular sites which you well know about include Facebook, MySpace, Hi5 and Twitter.

Social bookmarking on the hand is just like what you do every day with your web browser where you bookmark sites that interests you and would like to visit later. The only difference here is that you do this online on social bookmark sites and the information you share is not only available to you but also other registered users who may be interested in your content. LinkedIn, StumbleUpon and Digg are a few popular examples of bookmark sites where you can share your favorite links or web pages and it would be better if you submitted your own work.

Online marketers use both social media and social bookmark sites to promote their products and services. Both methods are a good way of pulling traffic to your site and there is a stiff argument as to which of them is most appropriate. You now know the difference between social media and social bookmarking.

How to Boost Your Social Media Marketing – Tip 1 – Automate Your Social Bookmarking

This article is the first of a series of articles which will help you boost your social media marketing.You can benefit by posting your bookmarks to a social bookmarking service.

Do you need to; Create new targeted traffic to your website, blog or optin page?; Create more chances for your site to appear in the search results of major search engines?; Create the chances of viral traffic?

Of course you do. These can be the benefits to you of social bookmarking. Importantly the submission process can be automated so saving you lots of time.

A social bookmarking service is a centralised online service which enables users to add, edit and share bookmarks of the website pages which they like. You can use your bookmarks easily from any location using any computer which is connected to the internet.

Being listed on sites like Digg and Delicious can drive new traffic to your website. Incidentally Delicious popularised the terms “social bookmarking” and “tagging.” These sites offer the best type of visitor. People who reach your site from such a social bookmarking site are generally there because your website appeared in a search for topics they were interested in.

Search engines will often list results from bookmarking sites. So if your site is bookmarked, this is an extra opportunity to show up in search results.

Being featured on one bookmarking site can often lead to people tagging your site on other bookmarking sites so you have the possibility of viral traffic.

The top 5 bookmarking sites in terms of unique monthly visitors are Reddit, StumbleUpon, Delicious, Digg and Slashdot. But there are many more. Search Engine Journal has put together a list of 125 social bookmarking sites, some of which are very popular and others which are newer or somewhat unheard of.

Besides targeting the major social bookmarking sites, you will find some diamonds in the rough which are niche oriented or treated well by Google and other search engines.

To get your share of the wealth which social bookmarking offers, you should leave your bookmarks in multiple sites. This might seem a daunting task but it can be automated with appropriate software such as IMAutomator.

This social bookmarking software allows you to build links in just moments. IMAutomator operates using Submission Credits. Every site in the system has a credit cost equal to its PageRank so a PR1 site costs 1 credit to submit to, a PR4 site costs 4 credits and so on. When you submit a job you choose exactly which sites you want to submit to and thus control exactly how many credits you are spending on each one. If you’re just starting out the best option is the free trial then you buy credits as you need them.

You’ll be surprised how easy the submission process really is. Once you’ve completed your details and submitted the job, you’ll have access to a submission schedule, for each job.

The default rate for link submission is one per day, in order to avoid search engine penalties. My job comprised of 63 scheduled submissions and the cost of credits was about $6. The bookmarking site with the highest PageRank was Delicious. The remaining 62 sites had a PageRank ranging from 1-7.

So there you are then. Automated social bookmarking. The automation cost of $6 saved hours and hours of my time. Of the top 5 sites however, only Delicious was included in the submission schedule. So I’ll have to do Reddit, StumbleUpon, Digg and Slashdot manually. Not such a daunting task considering the many long term benefits.