Social media… it’s all the rage today! It’s increasingly learning to be a more integral part of people’s everyday lives, especially now that individuals can carry the planet within their pockets with cell phones which are Web enabled and have data packages. Since there are now over two billion people — nearly one-third the entire world’s population — connected via social media marketing, it is becoming crucial, even critical, for businesses to make the most of the huge potential given in their mind by social media. Those who neglect to make the most of this trend achieve this at their own peril!

Dejavu All Over Again!

Some say we’re seeing the repeat of trends we saw at the turn of the century… throughout again. Although Internet as a communication tool began October 29, 1969, celebrating the initial communication between two distant computers, Tim Berners-Lee invented Youtube Panel the World Wide Web in March of 1989, giving us the hyper-text markup language (HTML) that enables pages, links and browsers used all around the world to connect to each other. In the season 2000, the Web as we realize it had been a mere eleven years old. Businesses were beginning to appreciate that the Internet was becoming bigger and bigger and was moving beyond the military (its original user), academia and business, and increasingly into people’s homes (and now… even their pockets!) Online shopping was gradually gaining on brick and mortar retail, competing more and more for shoppers’ dollars. Businesses that took advantage of the trend became more successful, whereas those that didn’t suffered as their competitors beat them in the web marketplace.

Good examples that have made the news headlines recently include Borders Books and Blockbuster Video. Borders didn’t believe the Web would become as huge as it has and was soon upstaged by Amazon, who began employing their online platform for books and now sell just about everything. Blockbuster Video, once seen in so many communities, has closed so many of the brick and mortar stores since Netflix came on the scene. Had it not been for Dish Network stepping in, most Blockbuster stores might have had to close. Now their trying to win back Netflix customers angered over recent fee hikes. Blockbuster is hoping to remain viable and relevant with their newest program.

Return on Investment… Bang for Your Buck!

The key point is that we’re seeing an identical trend in operation today regarding social media. Business is beginning to “humanize” and get back to that “get-to-know-you” feel of hometown businesses where business owners and customers often actually connect on an individual basis. Social networking is helping to generate this personal feel on a bigger scale now, in the sense that individuals can stay digitally more connected than ever… even while they “cocoon” within their homes/offices and have less face-to-face communication.

While we could argue the ill social effects of this social trend, businesses can’t ignore it. By the nature of what they do, those involved with network marketing, a.k.a. affiliate marketing or multi-level marketing, certainly can’t ignore it as a main tool for building down lines and expanding their business beyond their warm market of family and friends, a lot of whom may or may not be enthusiastic about a home-based business or work-at-home business opportunity, however quickly growing that trend is. The social media marketing explosion gets more and more attention. Business leaders are speaking about it, authors are writing about it, and some say it’s just the beginning.

Business trend experts like Gary Vaynerchuk, writer of The Thank You Economy, claim that we’re seeing the “calm ahead of the social media marketing storm” (see the link to his MSNBC interview on YouTube at the end of the “LinkedIn” discussion below. It’ll blow your mind what this guy knows and envisions about the power of social media marketing for business!). Many people in the business world haven’t yet jumped into social media. They’re sizing it up and calculating the return on investment… not realizing that the longer they wait, the more they stand to get rid of from the enormous potential of to be able to get their brand, product(s), and service(s) out before potentially thousands of people in an extremely cost efficient way compared to traditional print and TV advertising media. Branding, name recognition, market share growth, customer loyalty, brand ambassadorship… are typical important goals of business enhanced via social media.

But We Have a Website!

Individual entrepreneurs, companies large and small, organizations, network marketers, affiliate programs, even nonprofit organizations that believe having a web site is sufficient of an on the web presence nowadays are sorely mistaken. Since so many current and potential customers and clients are engaged in social media marketing, they’re coming to anticipate more and more that businesses and organizations they associate with is likewise able to activate with them on social media marketing platforms. This worldwide recession we’re in is making social media marketing platforms more important to remain relevant… to steadfastly keep up a presence, build customer loyalty, and just survive.

I’m Broke… I Have a Limited Budget!

Those on a small marketing budget will see out that social media marketing marketing is extremely cost-effective, with a great return on investment compared to traditional, non-trackable types of advertising. Having an employee devote even part of his/her time keeping social media marketing current is really worth your time and effort and expense in the added, perceived value it can provide, providing details about your products, services, news, sales, deals, etc., and potentially increasing your customer/client base tremendously in the process.

Blogging, for instance, is a simple way to generate an outreach program for your brand, company, organization, etc., that won’t only raise awareness of who you are and everything you do, but raise your credibility with an ever-growing, social-media-savvy public. They will be able to fairly share both positives and negatives about their experience along with your products and/or service, especially if you react to them. They will develop more confidence in your brand, feel more connected for you, and develop more loyalty. They will more likely become the willing ambassadors for your brand, product, or service that you want them to be! Also… people who DO have a web site, which will be normally used to supply information, take orders, etc., will most likely see increased traffic on the sites which can lead to increased sales… and an increase in your return on the investment you produced in your social media marketing campaigns. On top of that is that most social media marketing platforms can be found FOR FREE, or with little actual monetary investment highly relevant to other forms of traditional advertising, and with greater return on investment.

A Growing Trend… Better Jump On the Bandwagon!

Some estimate the number of social media marketing sites at 30,000 and growing by 300 new sites a month! So, to steer clear of the pitfalls of starting at the incorrect place, the best places to begin are with the current top giants, like Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and LinkedIn. You would like your web visitors to get to know you first. You intend to share useful information with them… information that is educational, informative, entertaining, even funny… but valuable You don’t want to do outright selling of one’s goods and services in social media marketing, which will be more for engaging your web visitors or potential customers. You intend to lead your web visitors to your website, and that is where you is going to do your selling!

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