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Social Media Marketing Strategies

Social media is playing more and more of a role when it comes to building traffic online because so many people are using it. You may be defiant against using FaceBook, Twitter, etc. because you feel these sites are narcisitic and a waste of time.
But let me tell you, that's probably where a lot of your potential website visitors are hanging out -- so why not take the opportunity to reach them?
When I first heard about Twitter in 2008, I wasn't impressed. I didn't think it would last long and I found it odd people were microblogging about every little detail of their days.
Then in 2009, celebrities really helped put Twitter on the map. (Remember Ashton Kutcher's 1 million follower goal?) Since then, Twitter has really blown up.
So it was only a matter of time before Internet marketers started using social media to market their businesses.
The other component of social media is branding yourself as an individual. Social media will help you do that.
The days of anonymous blogging and webmastering are over. People with successful sites and blogs are not only great writers, communicators etc., but they are well-liked and have developed a brand as an individual.

Twitter

Twitter is a microblogging site that allows you to send a 140-character or less message out to anyone who is following you. I use Twitter to announce my weekly blog posts and chit chat with people who have questions about Internet marketing.
The key to Twitter is NOT to just self promote your site all day. You should take time to follow and respond to people who have sites related to yours (Use the Search function.)
I also use Twitter to send out helpful articles, videos, etc. that may interest my followers. That's a great way to build credibility and interest in your Twitter feed.

Facebook

You can create a Facebook page to accomplish the same tasks above, however you have a lot more room to write since Facebook has a higher character limit. And since FB has a threaded-comment design, it's a great way to start conversations with your followers.
I often post thought-provoking questions in order to spark juicy discussions. People love giving their opinions and feedback. Facebook is a great way to poll your audience and get their feedback on various topics.
Of course I also use Facebook to promote my websites, YouTube channel, etc. but I also use it as a discussion platform.
Here's a video that shows you how to engage your Facebook fans. These tips actually work for most social media sites.

Google Plus

This is Google's answer to Facebook. It's very similar, but you can create circles to organize your connections.
I like Google Plus. The crowd there seems to be a lot more technically savvy compared to the other networks, but I do feel the layout is much cleaner. I've also made some great connections there.
Google Plus is new compared to Twitter and Facebook, but in 2012 many marketers gravitated to Google Plus because of the emergence of Google Authorship.
This allows you tag and associate any content you own with your name.
So when you write an article on someone else's blog, you would link your name back to your G+ profile. And of course, your G+ profile would also have your website listed in your profile.

Getting Followers

If your website is new and has little traffic, getting followers/friends/subscribers/likes may be a challenge at first. I would highly recommend following people who have sites related to yours. Reply to their tweets, posts, etc. and engage in conversations.
For example, say you have a site on cars. You can join popular FB pages related to your niche. Join in the discussion with other "fans"/members. You can also change your FB profile to display your own Facebook page name instead of your real name.
That way when people click on your "name" they will go to your FB page. You can update this in your Facebook Profile Settings.
Just remember. You have to give to get. Social networking is not just about you blasting ads and links to your own site. The words "social" and "networking" both imply multiple parties are involved, and that is true.
Take the time to comment on other people's work or posts. Write a response blog post to a controversial article someone wrote and tweet it to them.
If the person also has a FB page you can "Like" the page then cross link your pages together by typing @TheNameOfTheirPage when you post it to your FB page.
So let's say you write a blog post responding to an article another car blogger wrote about. You can post the following on your Facebook page...
Here's my witty response to @NameOfFaceBookPage 's article about Car Emissions.
Now the link will also be posted on their page.
Note: Be responsible about the above strategy. If the article is worthless and clearly just an attempt to get a link back to your page, the person may remove it.

Balancing Social and Business

There's a science to promoting your site via social media marketing. You want to find the right mix of being social and promoting your business.
Obviously you don't want to go overboard on the personal posts (what you ate for breakfast, etc.), but throwing in something casual is fine every now and then. It helps people connect with you and it shows you are human.
In addition, you should also recommend other resources and sites not affiliated with your website. If it's always about you then you may appear greedy and selfish. Take the time to show love for another site that your followers may find interesting.
How you use social media will really reveal a lot about you over time. People who have the most success with this type of marketing have found the right balance between business and personal.
Social media can be a great place to promote your business, but more importantly, it can enhance/promote you as an individual. Letting people get to know you as the human behind your business can really benefit you in the long run.

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