In a broad stroke, marketers loosely divide the myriad goals of social networking into two categories: Search v Direct Marketing. The difference is quite clear, as follows:
1. Search – On the one hand, social networking can be an investment in branding and outreach. All content released via social media is indexed by search engines and can therefore be found. So, social media can be used for the purposes of Search Engine Marketing (getting you or your brand found more frequently online).
Further to this, it is also worth considering that search engines prefer web sites which are heavily linked to social networks, allowing for the sharing of content and most of all have accrued a high number of ‘Likes’, ‘Tweets’ or other ‘shares’ over time. So, if you want your web site to attract more users, social networking integration will be a big help there too.
2. Direct Marketing – On the other hand there is scope for monetisation (or at least gathering/trafficking leads). Any connections you gather while networking are, by definition, loyal to your brand… They are basically asking to see more of your adverts! If you can offer competitive promotions to them, the uptake should be good and connections will be more likely to return to your page(s).
Practically, most social media campaigns are planned so that both of these things can be achieved in some balance. Where that balance lies will be different for each brand and even each campaign. So then, how do you define the extent of ‘success’ in a social media campaign?
Our next blog post will give you some specific metrics to watch and, most importantly, what they mean for your brand strategy.