Social media marketing is a phenomenon that is spreading like wildfire, and it’s not surprising.

Social media networks like Facebook and Twitter have millions of active users, and it’s very difficult to ignore such an immense source of traffic.

Too many people go about it all wrong, and they end up ruining their reputations, or they get banned and lose all of the progress they have made. There’s no sense spending months building a following and a reputation if you’re just going to get banned and lose it all.

In this blog post, I’m going to teach you some of the secrets of effective online social media marketing. You’re going to learn how to build a solid, profitable traffic and revenue stream by making use of the massive user bases of popular social networks, and how to maximize your profit potential.

So let’s get started!

Successful Social Media Marketing.

One of the biggest problems with marketers who attempt to market on social networks is that they are too hung-ho to make money. They end up spamming their followers to death, and soon they are either ignored or even banned.

It’s very important that you use social networks as they were intended  if you want to make the most of your efforts. This way, you don’t have to worry as much about potentially being banned, and you will also have happier followers!

Socialize

The most important thing you should do is to spend time socializing. This should be obvious, but too many social marketers skip this vital component.

I know it takes a bit of time to socialize, but people aren’t likely to pay attention to you and your sales messages if they don’t know you. You need to make sure you socialize with your followers, because this will help them respond to your marketing.

Think about product recommendations. Who would you trust more to recommend a product? If you wanted to buy a new television, would you trust a salesperson you didn’t know who was getting a commission for recommending a TV to you, or would you trust a coworker you like and talk to every day?

More than likely you would trust the opinion of your coworker much more than the salesperson, because you know that coworker fairly well and you believe they have your best interests at heart.

Although you can’t hide the fact that the products you recommend will pay you a commission, people will still be much more likely to buy what you recommend if they trust you. You can earn their trust by socializing with them, letting them get to know you, only recommending quality products you have tested yourself, and posting useful information on a regular basis.

Post Useful Information

One very important thing you should be doing is posting useful and interesting information on a regular basis. This actually has two major benefits.

1. It makes people like you, because people love getting free stuff.

2. It establishes you as an expert, because it proves you know what you’re talking about within your niche.

If you have a blog, one thing you can do is create helpful posts on your blog and then post an update to all of your social network profiles telling people about those posts. You can’t post a lot of information on the networks themselves, but they work very well for publicizing blog posts.

You can also create useful free reports and give them away to your followers. If you require them to opt-in to get the report, you can grow your email list. Just be aware that some people will be unhappy with being forced to opt-in to get the report. Don’t let that stop you from building your list, though! You should just be prepared for a few rude comments now and then.

This will benefit you greatly, because you will establish yourself as an expert in your niche. Most people don’t have the confidence to write blog posts and reports, and by doing so, you will make people believe that you really know your stuff. As long as your information is accurate and useful, you will build your reputation.

Ad to Content Ratio

There is no magic ratio when it comes to ads versus content. It can vary from niche to niche, and also based on your target demographic. Some niches respond just fine to a 2:1 ratio of content versus marketing, but other niches will become very angry if they get a marketing message for every two content posts.

I recommend a ratio of at least 5:1 just to be safe. Some people will be upset if they see any marketing at all, but you can’t please those people. Don’t even try. Just delete any complainers from your followers and ignore them.

By posting at least five quality content messages for every one marketing message, you will make it much easier for people to deal with the marketing, and they will pay more attention, too!

You may also want to pepper standard personal messages in between your content and marketing messages. Posting stuff like, “Just got home from a nice dinner with the family!” will make you seem more “real”.

Facebook Secrets

Marketing on Facebook is very simple, but there are several different ways to go about it. The easiest way is by setting up fan pages, but this in itself can be tricky.

In order for a fan page to be successful, it must have a purpose. You can’t set up a fan page and expect people to become fans just for the sake of being a fan! You need to have a specific plan for the fan page, and you need to manage it properly.

Let’s say you are in the golf niche. Instead of setting up a fan page called “Golf Lovers”, why not set up a fan page that has a higher degree of specificity, such as “Improve your Golf Swing”? Then you could regularly post tips and links to videos on the fan page, keeping people coming back to read it and comment often.

Contests

Contests are a fantastic way to get a lot of people to join your fan page! You can have people post the contest to their wall in order to get more entries, which will help the contest go viral.

People really enjoy entering contests, especially if they are easy to enter and have great prizes. You can even specifically state that the prize will be awarded when you hit a certain number of followers. That way you don’t have to award the prize unless you reach your target number of followers. Just be sure to keep the target number realistic, otherwise people won’t enter because they will feel the contest is a scam.

One great way to use contests for marketing is to actually give away one of whatever you are marketing. If you are marketing an affiliate product, you can link to it when your affiliate link. Some people my buy through your link before the contest even ends, and others will potentially buy after the contest is over if they don’t win.

If you have your own product, this is even more effective. Your entire contest can revolve around giving away a copy of your product, which will bring a lot of publicity and recognition to the product.

Twitter Traffic

Marketing on Twitter is very simple. In fact, the very nature of Twitter makes it practically impossible to get too complex with your Twitter marketing.

Twitter limits the size of posts to just 140 characters. This means you must keep your posts very short and succinct. You can’t ramble endlessly, so you have to get to the point!

It’s a very good idea to read your Twitter page daily and respond to messages your followers post. By interacting with them directly, you can establish “friendships” with some of them. This is very important, because your followers can “re-tweet” (RT) your messages (post your message) to their own followers, allowing you to potentially reach a MUCH wider audience than you could on your own.

People will not be likely to RT your messages if they don’t feel like they know and like you, so it’s very important that you try to establish a friendly relationship with as many of your followers are you can. This will really help you maximize your reach.

Whenever you want people to RT a message for you, just add something like “please re-tweet” or “please RT” to the end of the message. Don’t do this often, or people will start to ignore you. Only do this for very important messages.

Let’s say you have just released your own product in a niche. This would be a very good time to ask for a re-tweet. You could post something like:

“FINALLY finished my golf swing guide! (link) Please RT!”

Ideally, you would post a few times before you finished the product letting people know you were working on the guide, and telling them how much longer you expected it to be before it was finished. This way, it would be anticipated (and perhaps desired) before it was even released.

Remember, you should only ask people to re-tweet your messages when you feel they are extremely important, otherwise people won’t be likely to do so when you really need them to.

Resources: Other Sites

Facebook and Twitter are the two major sites for marketers, but there are other social networks you can make use of, as well. Facebook and Twitter are both very friendly to marketers, and they are also some of the most highly-traffic websites in the world. But other sites can be used successfully for marketing if you are careful and obey their rules.

MySpace.com

MySpace was the first really massive social network, gaining millions of users very quickly. Their format was simple, but effective, and their growth was an internet phenomenon.

Unfortunately, their rules made it very difficult for marketers to use the site without getting banned. Even a hint of marketing could sometimes attract the ban hammer, so it became very tricky to use them for marketing purposes.

This, combined with serious usability issues, soon pushed users away in droves. Most of them flocked to Facebook in order to be able to market freely or to avoid the ads and other issues.

You can still market on MySpace, but you have to be careful. One easy way to market to people on MySpace is to simply direct people to your blog whenever you make a blog post. This usually won’t get you banned, although it can. But once people make it to your blog, you’re free to market to them however you choose.

Bebo.com

Bebo.com is the largest social network that specifically targets the UK and Ireland. They have millions of users, but most of them are from the UK. If you have products or services that are specifically directed to residents of these areas, Bebo.com can be a great place for marketing!

They are relatively friendly for marketing. You can use Facebook marketing tactics on Bebo.com, because they work very similarly.

Friendster.com

Friendster is fairly friendly toward marketers, especially within groups. If you want to market on Friendster, it’s a good idea to set up a group that you can use.

Groups basically work like Facebook fan pages, so use the same basic tactics you would use on Facebook. Set up a group around a specific topic, and hold contests to gain followers.

Friendster has a largely younger audience, whereas Facebook has users of all ages. So if your target demographic is comprised primarily of those 18-34, Friendster might work well for you.

LinkedIn.com

LinkedIn.com is a business network. It is meant primarily for business professionals to connect with one another, so it will usually be useful primarily for people who market in the business to business (B2B) area.

If you market to businesses or professionals, LinkedIn can be very useful. You can make use of groups in a way that is similar to Facebook fan pages, and you can also have your peers recommend your services in exchange for you recommending theirs. It’s a great way to network and meet other people who can help you if you are in the B2B field in any way.

As always, keep socializing! This is the key to successful social marketing!

To Your Social Media Marketing Success ;)
Social media marketing

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