The use of social media in marketing is 2-pronged. It should not be taken absolutely well, neither should it be treated as totally irrelevant in online marketing.
Social media is a service that allows you to interact with people and share your content with them with hopes that they will find it interesting. If you plan to use it in your online marketing, you need to balance its use very well.
Social media is a great online tool to use if you want to expand your reach. The power of social network can reach a million people from all over the world, even as you stay stationary in your location, all thanks to the power of networking. The standard six degrees of separation can be trimmed down further to 4 or 5 with this networks. For brands that want to have a wide market reach.
Along with a wider market reach, using social networks also allows brands to target particular markets. Facebook, Twitter or Foursquare, for instance, are examples of media tools that allow brands to target specific market groups according to location. A great indication of market demographics can be based on the kinds of places people go to.
Best of all, the use of SM is free. Accounts and pages can be set up without a charge. Even if you plan on plugging in your ads on networks, the fee is still affordable considering the significant exposure your ads will get. For small businesses and startups who want brand exposure at a rate that they can afford as they carve their niche in the industry, SM can definitely help in that effort.
If you want to distribute information to people fast and easy, it is a great online tool to rely on. Especially if you have time-specific news about your brand (e.g. clearance sales and promos), this is a great platform for immediate advertising.
Again, there are also risks when it comes to social media marketing. Of course, like all marketing efforts you engage in online, it takes time for your efforts to bear fruit. Spending your marketing efforts using social networking can be a waste of time and money if it yields little or absolutely zero returns for your business. Especially if your target market are people who may not be tech savvy, you cannot expect that a Facebook ad will convert since your audience probably do not have a Facebook account to begin with. If your network marketing strategy does not seem to be working after 3 months or 6 months after implementation, think of an alternative strategy quickly.
Just as good word about your business gets around fast, bad PR can also spread like wildfire if you are not able to contain it ASAP. More than the negative press, it is also dangerous if you accidentally posted an incorrect information about your business.
Moreover, if you are not aware of privacy legislations and anti-spam laws in your country, you can get into a lot of trouble if you use social networks excessively in your marketing strategies.
It is worth your time and effort if you study the different social networking tools that you can use for your marketing. Know your audience, their characteristics and their general demographics so every step you make in your social media campaign is consistently aligned and guaranteed to convert.