The continued rise of social mediums created more increased exposure for all brand sizes, small to large, to participate in an “equal” platform.  As more and more companies and brands get on the social media “craze,” this playing field is a lot more than just your ordinary marketing avenue.  There are tremendous possibilities to gain by initiating in social media marketing (SMM).  While increased brand exposure and recognition is possibly the first and foremost for most businesses, there are other similar benefits that your company can experience that would help the growth and stability of your company.  These are in no particular order:

  1. Building relationshipsSocial media marketing is social, so opportunities to build your brand, build your customer base, and establish trust with your audience and target market start with being social.  Reaching out to your customers in their own playground is a great way to be personable and be up front.
  2. Reaching where they are. SMM is proving that marketing tactics can shift from making customers come to you to your company going where they are.  Where social media is most effective is in its use of technology to bring them to your “backyard,” so to speak.  Marketing through social mediums increases your ability to engage your customers into conversations and interactions with your company in more “personal” level while increasing your ability to access (or in some cases, gain access) to them in a relatively easier task.
  3. Cost effectiveness.  SMM is relatively inexpensive or free, and requires virtually no cost to use.  The most predominant resource a company will use is its human resource and an insane amount of time.  Some companies have dedicated person(s) or teams solely for social media marketing.  You can even find their titles to be “social media evangelists” or something of that sort.  While some companies will post ads on sites like Facebook or Myspace, you don’t have to place banner ads to be as effective.  Using tactics from your SEO/SEM campaigns, you can infiltrate social media applications through organic methods as well.  Nevertheless, cost of running such marketing campaigns do not necessarily involve teams just for SMM.  Rather, you can have one or two dedicated people to conduct your online marketing campaigns, with SMM under its objectives.
  4. Brand recognition and value.  SMM is already proving to be a more vital factor in companies’ marketing strategies.  So why should it be yours?  Try increasing your brand recognition and value.  Just as print marketing increases your exposure to traditional means, social mediums will have similar results in your online marketing efforts.  It gives your audience a chance to get to know you and your products/services on their own terms (assuming your SMM methods are not abrasive or aggravating to your target market) and helps build better client relationships in the long run.
  5. Hear what they have to say.  Your customers will, for good or bad, tell you what they like or don’t like about your company or your products/services.  While that can be a bad thing for some companies, the good news about hearing from your clients and customers is that you can hear what they have to say and improve your company, products/services, and marketing efforts to enhance your marketing and brand power online.  I understand that it can be very dangerous to have your clients comment on your products, as search results can pull up negative commentary.  However, that sort of scenario is mostly targeted to those companies who has questionable products, bad business best practices, shady marketing tactics, and so on.  I cannot guarantee that most companies will not have any negative comment or commentary in their SMM, but I do know that a lot of companies take heed of their customer’s requests to increase their product/company viability; in doing so, they return with a better online presence for their company because they have taken into consideration the voices that makes their business grow: the customer.
  6. Learning from mistakes: yours or others.  If you’re new to the SMM playground, it’s wise to research tactics, goals, and techniques others have used to create their social media marketing campaigns and take into consideration those lessons learned into your own.  If you’re not new to this area, it’s also good to conduct competitive market research and analysis on what’s working, what’s being used, and what’s being dismissed in SMM.  Learning from research and best practices will keep you from getting negative value on your marketing and will keep your SMM campaigns alive and well.

I’m sure there are a lot more benefits than what I have gathered here.  But from my heart and experience, I believe I have at least covered a lot of the basic fundamentals of social media marketing benefits.  If you have not considered getting your feet wet, I suggest to start today.  Make use of the resources you have now, especially this one.  Don’t be like those who wait for others to see if it works, and then getting on the playing field acting like you’ve been there since the beginning.

As my old football coach used to say, there is a difference between playing in the field, watching from the bench, and cheering from the bleachers.  In your marketing campaigns, are you playing the game, sitting on the bench, or watching others from the bleachers?

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