Why Social Media Marketing Is The Secret Ingredient

Social media marketing is a term that refers to the promotion of anything on social media networks. This includes marketing affiliate links, CPA links, blog articles, website links and more on Facebook, Twitter and other social media networks.While everyone knows that social networks are growing very fast, not all internet marketers are taking full advantage of social marketing. Taking advantage of social media marketing can hold a lot of benefits for your online business and internet marketing strategies.The Secret IngredientTake a look at a popular blog in your niche. Chances are, the blog has social sharing buttons and links to their social accounts. You should also be able to see the amount of shares per social network on the social sharing buttons – and the numbers should also be quite high.Why is this so? Simply because the owner of that blog found out that social media marketing really is the secret ingredient to being successful and driving lots of traffic and engagement to your blog.By utilizing different social media networks, you are able to tap into new markets, expand your reach and build better authority for yourself, your brand and for your website. The best part of it all is that including a social media marketing strategy in your online marketing strategy doesn’t take up too much extra time, and it’s a great way to learn more about your audience.Social Networks To TargetWhen planning out your social media marketing strategy, you should be aware of several popular social networks that you can target in your strategy. You should also do proper research to find out on which social networks your target audience hangs out most, and then you should target these social networks more than others.
Some popular social networks you should start with includes:
Facebook
Twitter
Google+
Pinterest
LinkedIn
Reddit
These are some great networks that can help you get started. You should browse through these networks and find out where your target audience hangs out most, and in which sections you can uncover and expand your reach.Your Social AccountsYour website should have a social presence on as many social networks as possible. This is important since social media helps improve engagement and will help you find out more about your target audience – what they want to read about, what they are shopping for, etc.Ensure you create a social presence for your website or blog on all of the social networks listed above, which includes Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, LinkedIn and Reddit.A high quality and creative profile picture should be added to all your accounts, as well as a cover photo that explains what your website is all about. You should then post regular content on your account – do not use your social presence to only share links to your website. You need to find a good balance of posting quality content, helpful hints and links to your sites on your social accounts. This will give you more authority and can help you increase your social following, which will drive traffic to your website and increase your online engagement.

Getting Your Website Integrated With Social Media

Until recently business owners considered Social Media a passing fad. Now even the big business have realised the immense potential of this as a marketing tool and have embraced this marketing phenomenon with open arms. The obvious next step of course is to integrate social media with the business website. While this may sound difficult to anyone outside the technology industry, it really is not difficult. Essentially using Social Media is just another way of expanding channels of communication with prospects and customers using content in different forms that are already prevalent, such as video, audio and text.The very mention of Social Media brings to mind the task of untangling the maze of Twitter, YouTube, Flickr, Facebook and other popular platforms. The integration of these with a company website can be explained with a simple analogy. Most business owners have offices and invite prospects and customers to visit these offices so they can initiate a business discussion. However to get these prospects and customers business owners go to events, conferences and business meetings to spread the message about their business. Integrating social media into a website involves taking the where the prospects and customers are, so that they can connect and initiate communication with the business.Auditing a website for Social Media contentThe first step in the integration process is to take stock of the website content in terms of the video, audio, images and text being used. Video has gained immense popularity with webmasters for ranking purposes. The audit should focus on pages that get updated often, such as the home page or the blog which are likely to generate the most feedback. These pages have the greatest benefit as a result of dialog with prospects and customers. The audit should not be limited to the website alone. It is important to determine where conversations are occurring. Find out as much as possible about how clients communicate and ways social media can be used to keep the conversations flowing.Having completed the social media website audit, the next step is to set objectives for each use of the different types of content being used in the website – text, video, audio and so on. Once you’ve gathered your audit of text, audio, images, and video, determine what the objectives are for each of those uses. Keep the objectives brief and simple, limiting them to two or three sentences.Scoping social media toolsAfter the objectives for the content currently existing on the website have been determined, the various tools that can help meet these objectives need to be considered. To make it easier first consider the broad groups of tools, such as video sharing sites, photo sharing sites and so on. A video sharing site such as YouTube is excellent for showcasing products and posting testimonials. Twitter on the other hand is excellent for quick updates, customer feedback and generating targeted traffic.While selecting the specific tools to be used, it is important to focus on the objectives rather than the familiarity with the tools. It is also a good idea to document reasons why a particular tool was selected in case future changes to the tool may not meet the objectives.Having selected the social media tools for website integration, it is important to allocate resources to manage the integration process on an ongoing basis. Management will need to determine how the employee will be able to manage the additional workload to fit into the current job portfolio and whether it is worthwhile hiring dedicated staff for just this purpose.The reward of website integration with social mediaFor the uninitiated, the use of social media will involve a steep learning curve initially and a behaviourial change in accepting that social media eventually leads to more effective communication with prospects and clients. With practiced use, businesses will find a reduction in incoming phone calls and email, so employees can manage their time more efficiently.Integrating social media with a company website is also more interactive and fun. A Twitter post from a manager on the company website indicating they are busy in an afternoon meeting will indicate to a client why they may not be answering their mobile phone. Content that is being produced by employees can often be beneficial for prospects and clients. For instance managers who take great pains to produce Power Point presentations at business conferences, can upload these to a blog hosted on the company website, so that customers unable to attend the conference can view the presentation, as can other who may have an interest in the subject. In this way the conversation is expanded to reach a far wider audience with minimum effort.Integrating social media into the business website should not be rushed into, but implemented in a manner that is consistent with the corporate identity. Rather than being an ad hoc addition to a website, social media should form one of the key components of the website. The process should be simple and not painful, aimed at tackling three challenges. These are – moving business conversations across to a dynamic medium, reaching a wider audience and using platforms that allow for easier content updating. Social media provides an amazing opportunity to propel web content can to new heights provided a clear roadmap is laid out.

Kid Internet Safety – Is Social Media A Safe Place to Educate Our Kids?

Many teachers have started to embrace social media instead of banning them. Government education bodies across the USA, Canada, the EU & other countries have published “Internet Usage Guidelines For Schools”, which include components on how to use social media and share information between teacher, parent, and kid & keep the kids safe.Even though many have started to embrace this movement, there are many teachers that are still cautious of social network usage amongst kids, especially at school. I strongly feel that their uneasiness of the social media usage is based on negative media publicity and/or the pure ignorance of the technology itself. With this being said, there are many arguments that the educational benefits of social media outweigh the risk, and the teachers in support of the social media in classrooms worry that the schools are missing out on an opportunity to incorporate tools that many students already know how to use.It doesn’t mean parents and teachers put down their guards about the Internet dangers for kids, but it does mean get involved & get up to speed to help & work with your kid on the Internet.In a pilot project, which started as a Facebook-like forum, a seventh grade teacher showed with her social media program 20% of students (school wide) were completing extra assignments for no credit, grades increased more than 50%, and absenteeism was reduced by more than a third.Here are 5 reason why I feel that school should embrace social media just like the seventh grade teacher that I mentioned above.1. Social Media is Not Going Away
Contextually, things have not really changed. In the early 1990s the debate was similar as it today. School administrators were adamantly against allowing access to the Internet – the big fear being pornography and predators. If you fast forward, it seems as though we’re confronted with similar issues today. Can you imagine a school not being connected to the Internet now? Impossible!However, in pure numbers and usage there has been a big change. For example, according to a Kaiser Family Foundation survey, almost ¾ of seventh to twelfth graders have at least one social media profile, and the survey group used social sites more than they played games or watched videos online. Also, you cannot ignore social medias like Facebook have grown to over 500 million users in 7 years, and I haven’t even gone into the details of sites like Myspace, Tagged, MyYearBook, Ning, Hi 5, and LinkedIn. Social media growth is exponential.Also, here’s something else that endorses social networks are here to stay. Not to long ago, some public schools in the UK had an Internet “lock down”, and the students basically rebelled. Marks, absenteeism & attitudes changed during this “lock down”. Unlike the teacher who had positive results with her pilot “Facebook” program, the kids who went through this “lock down” period seemed not to take responsibility for their actions.Bottom line – social networks are here to stay. Parents or teachers should get on board – learn it & teach it.2. Kids Are Better Learners When Engaged
A 3rd and 4th grade Minnesota teacher started using blogs in his classroom in 2007 as a way to motivate students to write. The results were amazing. Students loved it.In many examples, students have shown to become keenly aware that blogging is not just writing on a piece of paper that gets handed to the teacher, and gets handed back with a smiley. They know that blogging is a shared concept, and friends or other people may even stumble across their writings. There is a concept of power in that notion.Kids are enthusiastic about in-class blogging. In the pilot Facebook project previously mentioned, students got to school earlier and the overall quality of their work increased.Parents and teachers – when kids are engaged, they learn better. We need to become engaged before we help them become engaged.3. Safe Social Media Tools and They’re Free
A teacher started using blogs to teach kids, and ended up developing a ‘social media platform’. His platform allowed him to monitor and approve everything that the kids were posting online, and kept kids safe from inappropriate advertising. This teacher then developed a similar web-based tool, which teachers use today. The tool is called kidblog.org.Kidblog is one of the hottest Web 2.0 tools in K-8 education, which allows teachers to easily blog with their classes in a teacher-kid-friendly environment. Teachers tend to gain a sense of the interaction taking place as the students navigate their way through their class members’ blogs, and teachers can also invite other classes and guests to participate in the class’ discussions, thereby broadening the readership audience and increasing motivation for students. Multiple teachers can also collaborate within a Kidblog class and share moderation responsibilities.From a safety perspective, teachers have full administrative control over all comments, posts, and privacy settings. The administrator has the ability to preview and approve (or unapprove) content published by students (and other visitors, if allowed by their privacy settings). Kidblog endorses privacy & does not collect any personal information from students.Kidblog also never subjects students to advertising, so teachers can feel comfortable knowing that the publishing environment is free from distractions.Even though Kidblog.org is extremely popular there are other equally popular tools, such as Edmodo & Edublogs.The key element – these tools are safe and 100% free.4. Schools Stealing Public Social Media Time
According to a Neilson study, between 2004-2009 the amount of time 2-11 year old kids spent online increased by 63%. One way schools have used this number to their advantage is to compete with other social media sites for part of this time.One school in the USA launched a pilot program and had their kids complete all their assignments on the school’s propriety social media. As a result, the students spent about five fewer hours weekly on Facebook and Myspace so they could do their assignments.Another example, a teacher would post an extra assignment that students could complete after school every day. The posting was done on school propriety social media. One day she had students comment on one of President Obama’s speeches; another day she had them make two-minute videos of something on their walk home that was a bad example of sustainability. These assignments had no credit attached to them. The only intrinsic reward was interacting with other students in the digital world.The results speak for themselves – one social media displaced by another, and has accommodated students desires to communicate with each other, and in a safe way.5. Social Media Encourages Collaboration
Social media as a teaching tool has a natural collaborative element. Students critique and comment on each other’s assignments, work in teams to create content, and can easily access each other and the teacher with questions or to start a discussion.Traditional education, on the other hand, typically involves teacher-given lectures, students with their eyes on their own papers, and not talking neighbors. Then, when a student gets into the business world they are literally thrown into groups, expected to produce, but unprepared and lack the collaboration skills.Many studies show the compelling nature for kids to use social media tools in school, especially how they collaborate. It was initially thought that the shy kids would drift away from collaboration, but in fact if they had a point to make they would make it equally as well as a non-shy kid.It’s easy to see that students enjoy interacting with each other, which also happens to be in a safe and secure manner.Conclusion
The negative media publicity has actually had a positive impact, and made our school administrators fully aware of the Internet dangers and thus developed programs and technology to address these concerns and keep our kids safe at schools. As a by- product of these tools, there is a reduction in absenteeism, and our kids are being properly prepared for the collaborative world.I believe we are on the right track to educating our kids correctly and keeping our kids safe on the Internet while at school.