Ten social media marketing tactics that don't rely on Facebook fans.
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I know this is kind of old hat but I still feel like a lot of social media marketing conversations I am in boil down to Facebook fan count and engagement. Now I'm not going to say that fans aren't important, but let's face it - the vast majority of companies are never going to have a million fans. Heck, most companies in the world will never have 20,000 fans.
This isn't because they're run by bad people or they make bad products; it just means that they either don't have the budget to invest in building a fan base or their products (or company) just aren't that "likable." Not all brands and products are the type of thing people would publically become a fan of. For example, who wants to fan anti-depression medication or baldness remedies? Both products are used by many people and consumers really want information about these products. However, people just don't want to hit that "Like" button on their fan pages.
So what does this mean? It means that for the majority of companies out there that will never have a big fan base, and for those companies that make less than "likable" products, social media marketing cannot be about Facebook fans. It has to be about utilizing social media to help propagate their products, message, brand, educational materials, and thought leadership throughout the web. It means getting recognized by the vocal influencers out there who are both interested in what you do and active in social.
The thing that's important to realize is that success in social is often realized via search. So this means that the content you put out there may spread through the web via social but people are discovering it via search. Sure, it's great when your content goes viral and people find you via social, but that's typically a flash-in-the-pan event that's hard to consistently replicate. The long-term benefit is when you produce good content and utilize social to weave your content into the fabric of the web. It's great when your site pops at the top of Google, but it's also good when your content (or content about you) pops at the top of Google on another site (blog, forum, mainstream media, etc.) and links back to your site. It's this "off-site" or "off-page" presence that gives your social efforts a long-term echo and ROI!
So here are some tactics you can use to hopefully get that instant social/viral pop we are always chasing, but also some of that long-term social + search ROI that actually builds a brand and business over time.
I know this is just a small list and certainly not everything an organization could do in terms of "earned" or low-cost social media marketing. Also, I know these tactics seem very "grassroots." However, they work for companies large and small and are just some of the basic principles and tactics that make up a robust social media marketing foundation. Of course, please feel free to add some tactics in the comments!
Facebook Like image on home page via Shutterstock.
This column was originally published on Feb. 26, 2013.
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