Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Social Media for Retailers - Why Now?

It’s the perfect storm; economic contraction, declining revenues, budget cutbacks, and limited staff resources. In light of this environment, Executive leadership is exhibiting reluctance to begin new projects or explore new approaches. As traditional media continues to decline, social media is ramping and accelerating. Realize now that there are new skill sets to be recruited. Training of existing staff is crucial. Social media requires an investment, commitment, and will demand a focus. The benefits are many, here are some reasons why start now.
Increased Brand Awareness
Content can be created and spread through social media to improve public perception of your brand by evoking specific qualities which make it distinct from others. For new websites or businesses, this pervasive visibility generates brand familiarity. Social media channels can rapidly generate word of mouth and buzz for most brands.
Reputation Management
The goal here is to positively influence the way a potential and existing customer/audience perceives your brand. Leaders must get involved in the conversation taking place around their brands. Monitoring search results, public forums and feedback channels to track and address what is commented upon. Some view this as social media optimization, although it is often classified as pull-marketing.
Improved Search Engine Rankings
When considered within a larger SEO and link building framework, content can be creatively developed and promoted for the purpose of obtaining links from the members of the social news websites. This means you should primarily target social sites with the highest potential to give you links, instead of smaller-sized communities which only offer interested traffic. While important, your site’s profile need not be entirely relevant to the social media website in question; content can be created specifically to appeal to different audiences.
Increased Relevant Visitor Traffic.
Invest time and resources to engage with social communities which have a high topical relevance. The social site’s topical focus should be inline with what your site covers/offers. For example, instead of promoting your Internet marketing articles through wide platforms, try placing the content on smaller, targeted sites associated most closely with the appropriate communities, which will result in a higher conversion around more lively “conversations”.
Improve Sales for a Product or Service.
Increase your product sales, by associating with topics that insure attraction to the goods and services you are interested in promoting. Attempt to connect with leaders, and experts who carry influence. Hard selling a social media audience through an overtly commercial profile is not advisable because it will come across as marketing spam. One solution is to segment the market and focus on being the number one solution for specific user problems. Naturally, you should mostly target communities which are highly relevant to your niche focus because this increases the likelihood for traffic to convert


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