Understanding the connection between social media and Internet branding

Social media communication strategies are used by all types of companies (from one-person home businesses to multinational corporations).

The main goal of social media communication is consumer outreach, but an underlying concern is finding a way to woo fickle consumers with a believable brand.

Through the use of social media, companies add another layer of marketing to existing online marketing techniques.

Some companies also use social media marketing (SMM) as their first attempt at creating an Internet brand. Both types of companies use consumer trends from online marketing research to identify what consumers want.

A basic tenet of social media communication is that this strategy is only one way to build an Internet brand.

Companies that connect a SMM campaign to existing marketing strategies may find a better return on their investment. Alan Wolk noted in the 10/12/09 edition of “Advertising Age” that some companies like Red Bull use a Facebook following of over 1 million customers to build an Internet brand.

What helps Red Bull is what he calls a “sizable stable of athletes and musical acts.” Wolk recommends reaching beyond your traditional audience in social media communications with new content that is “outside-the-mainstream.”

This idea means that your company can attract new audiences. Many marketing professionals might argue his idea holds true for any marketing campaign – use each marketing strategy to get as many new customers as possible.  

Before you experiment with different types of content in a social media marketing campaign, you have the option of evaluating whether establishing a “cool” brand among Internet users is worth your resources. This evaluation can be conducted by an advertising/marketing firm that specializes in online media.

A professional evaluation will determine if social media marketing is right for your company. If you don’t have the means to outsource this evaluation now, another option is to explore the interface of your Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system with a social media application like Facebook.

Through CRM data reports, you can study the effects of Facebook communications on your niche audience. For example, you can invite existing customers via email to subscribe to your Facebook page, study how often they visit your Facebook page, and then look for a corresponding surge in sales. 

There are many more ways to strategically use SMM as a single layer of a multi-layered marketing program. An advertising/marketing firm is always available to give you professional strategies for reaching your target audiences.

Remember your central goal is building an Internet brand, and you will use marketing research to build on social media outreach and other Internet branding strategies.

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