Social media comes in a variety of flavors, each with a very different end result. Networking campaigns occur on social sites like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn where users or companies interact with others in the community. Social media news campaigns push content out onto larger social news networking sites like Digg and Reddit. While both of these are types of social media marketing, the results are anything but similar.
The main concept behind social media networking is that users can connect and communicate with each other. Usually a successful social media networking campaign isn’t judged by the traffic sent, but by the relationships built.
Exposure and buzz
Having a presence on the various social networking sites allows users or companies to connect with the community in ways that would be impossible with traditional media. Interesting stories, valuable links, and funny anecdotes proliferate quickly across these networks. By using social networks, it is possible to gain valuable exposure to people whom you could not reach through traditional media, such as customers, prospective clients, or industry colleagues.
For those out there who already have exposure, branding is another byproduct of a solid social media networking campaign. Not only can you deliver your message, but you can reinforce credibility, boost customer loyalty, and build your brand. By sharing your knowledge of your industry and answering questions or helping others, you can construct your, or your company’s, image.
Social media networking can produce reputation management in two different ways. First, companies can help irritated customers or help solve problems. Turning an angry customer into a raving fan can translate into business down the road. Second, another form of reputation management can be created within search engines. Many times, a Twitter profile or Facebook page will rank well on the search engines and push other results lower in the SERPs.
Sales and new business
Last, but not least, this type of social media campaign can have a direct influence on sales. A targeted message or notification of a sale can be a welcomed message when done in moderation. These messages or ads can send users to new products, blog posts, current specials or free offers – all of which can translate into sales. As long as the message is relevant and on target, the community will (generally) accept it.
Potential negative results
Like all social media, companies should proceed with caution before starting up a social networking campaign. Poor execution can lead users to consider you as being spammy and can tarnish your brand. The purpose of these sites is to network, not to promote in a one-way fashion. Participating in these social networks needs to be about adding benefit to the community, not about the promotion of yourself and your services.
Also be wary that everything you and your employees write about on social networks can be public information. Employees using these networks should be warned that their social networking activities could be viewed by clients. While free speech and personal expression are the backbone of social networking, users should be aware of the consequences that come with the territory.
The major social media news and bookmarking sites not only push massive amounts of traffic to a site, but also rapidly spread content across the Internet. Social news sites generally lack the relationships that networking sites have, but do offer unique results that very few marking campaigns can offer.
Exposure and traffic
Like social media networking, these news sites can lead to monstrous exposure throughout the web. An article that becomes popular on Digg can send 10,000 to 75,000 visitors who may have never been in contact with the site before. Social media news sites are some of the quickest ways to drive traffic to a website. However, the majority of this traffic dies off quickly, so long-term strategies would be needed to drive continued traffic.
Subscribers and repeat traffic
While the majority of social media news traffic is simply passing through, a good number of visitors can stick around and subscribe to the site or bookmark the URL for future consumption. Articles that are usually helpful, like tutorials or how-to’s, generally acquire larger numbers of repeat traffic. Continued success on these networks can help to build your brand as a leader in your space.
Thanks to the massive reach of social news sites, links are a natural byproduct of a successful social media campaign. Bloggers and webmasters are exposed to your content and can link to you if they deem your piece as newsworthy. These links are natural, as they are editorially selected based on the merit of the piece. A popular article on Digg or Reddit can bring in anywhere from 50-1,000 links depending on the story/network.
Quality links eventually lead to higher rankings on search engines. A successful social media campaign can be the difference between you and your competition. Social news campaigns that are executed poorly and are off-topic won’t translate as well onto search engines. Crafting a targeted campaign is crucial to achieve this valuable end result.
Potential negative results
The users on social media news sites are notoriously harsh and generally not receptive to corporate articles. All stories submitted to a site should not only be relevant to the social media news site, but also to the corporate site. A linkbait piece that is totally unrelated to your core business can tarnish your brand and provide subpar results. Also, it is important to know that a totally false linkbait piece can negate your results altogether.
Follow the rules and don’t SPAM. If you don’t follow the terms of service for these different social media news sites, you or your site could get banned or something worse could happen. If uncovered, the community could backlash against you and tarnish your brand. For many the risk is worth the reward, but larger brands and high profile sites may not want to take that risk.
Overall, social media is a very powerful tool with unparalleled results, but interacting with the community and adding benefit is the key. All of these outcomes are extremely achievable with a well thought-out social media campaign. Decide which is best for your brand and get to work!