Blogs, online communities, social media and then social networks: they have permanently changed online marketing.

Social media opens plenty of opportunities to create additional content to influence the Universal Search results.

In Google, one domain can only generate a maximum of 2 listings per search, but social media gives you a chance to compete for the remaining 8 results: Generate a footprint on a variety of popular and relevant social media sites to get content in through Universal Search.

Before you start your social media marketing and optimization program, develop a strategic plan.

The first step is to know your current presence as on search engines and social media sites. Compare your presence to that of your competitors. Once you have an idea of where you are, develop a cheat sheet to expedite outreach to the social media sites for which you do not have a presence.

When working with social media, it is also a good idea to develop a crisis management plan in advance: Prepare to address any negative ratings, reviews or comments.

To succeed with a social media campaign, you need:

  • Transparency
  • Honesty
  • Relevance
  • Value
  • Commitment

Without a transparency in your social media campaign, it could blow up on your face. You need full disclosure from your marketing team or partners. Most information can be quickly validated online, so dishonest messages can cause more damage than good.

All communications should be relevant and it’s important to add value to the conversation or community. This is obviously time consuming, so resources and commitment over time are essential factors in the success of a social marketing strategy.

Get to know the online opinion makers in your industry and treat them with respect. Be thorough in your research and identify relevant blogs, but also newsgroups and threaded forums to monitor and engage.

Request reciprocal blogroll links, submit story ideas and comment on relevant blog posts regularly and over time.

Since Wikipedia is the most popular wiki in the world and one of the most popular (and visible) resources on the Web, develop a wiki-specific strategy, whether to achieve a company listing or enhance an existing listing. Beware that the Wikipedia community is very vigilant and strictly opposed to biased information.

Once you’ve become familiar with the basics of Social Media Marketing and made some friends, you will begin the process of building your sphere of influence.

Being a major contributor to your field or industry is your ultimate goal. By stimulating debate and setting the agenda, you’ll be the one everyone is talking about — your thoughts and words will be the very thing people are sharing in their own Social Networks via the Social Media websites you’ve become so familiar with…

  • More tips and information on Social Media Marketing coming soon – WATCH THIS SPACE!

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