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Five social media marketing ideas for businesses

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There are plenty of resources for small businesses to leverage social media, but what about after your business has grown? We’ve constructed this article to help medium and large companies navigate the social-media marketing space. Social media services like Facebook, YouTube and Twitter have become the go-to tools for companies who want to boost their visibility with the 12-to-40 age demographic. Below are five ideas for large-scale campaigns that can grow your brand.

Viral videos

Television commercials have long dominated the marketing world as the preferred advertising method for Fortune 500 companies. Social media sites are slowly rendering these TV commercials obsolete as Internet video traffic grows. A new breed of advertising dubbed the viral video is giving brands exposure on video-sharing giant YouTube.

Contrary to popular thought, a massive budget is not required. The best example is BlendTec’s “Will it Blend?” viral video campaign. Tom Dickinson needed a cost-effective method to advertise his blenders and decided to take the viral marketing route on YouTube. The result is over 160 million views to the campaign and massive brand growth for BlendTec.

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Many larger corporations have taken an indirect route within their viral videos by making a passing mention of the product. For instance, in Evan Longoria’s Bare Hand Catch, it takes a keen observer to realize the video is an advertisement for Gillette. It is cost effective because the video stays uploaded to YouTube and doesn’t incur the heavy cost of a TV spot.

Facebook fan gating

Big brands are enticing their consumers by asking them to “Like” their pages to gain access to special content. For instance, Dr. Pepper’s Facebook page allows you to win free cases of the soft drink. Large brands are following up with custom games, apps and contests to keep people active on their page.

Facebook’s 750 million users makes it the biggest social network in the world. Most consumers are now spending their time on the site and businesses are finding the value in interacting with their customer base.

Crowdsourcing

If you have a brick-and-mortar business selling a product or service, your best bet is crowdsourcing. Daily deal sites like Groupon and LivingSocial bring masses of people together to buy from your business. The catch is you provide a heavy discount in exchange for an abnormally large amount of new customers. The tradeoff is good enough that these sites are generating millions of dollars daily. Affiliate marketing has given birth to spin-offs like extraGroupon that ensure further savings.

groupon-estragon-boston-tapas

Twitter engagement

Think of your company on Twitter as a human entity. For the first time in history, companies are enabled to talk to their customers directly, quickly, and efficiently. The micro-blogging tool can gives businesses a voice to respond to customer inquiries. As Greg Voakes pointed out in his Twitter for Business feature, @DellOutlet has made millions of dollars by Tweeting products and deal, while @JetBlue planted its flag by holding conversations with their customers as a friend would to a friend.

Listening and monitoring

When a company is looking to break into the social media space, the easiest way to start is by listening. Chances are consumers are already talking about your business on sites like Twitter and Facebook. Radian6 is a highly recommended tool to start the listening and monitoring process for your business on social media. Check the existing conversation about your brand and join your customers in the discourse.

Traditional marketing is a one-way street where the business pushes a marketing message to the consumer. Social media has created a two-way street where consumers respond to the marketing messages. Businesses need to take an active role in participating in the conversation that ensues. The conversation that it creates social media will have an impact on the bottom line of any company.

Guest contributor Jay Singh is a cofounder of ViralMS, a social media marketing agency.

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