What is Digital Marketing?
Many define the term as simply “Marketing Online (or Online Marketing)” This general explanation leave readers asking the question, “What does that mean?” Marketing online can be in the form of sending an email, optimizing search engine result (SEO), or displaying banner ads on a webpage to reach potential customers. Certainly, Digital Marketing is more than this. Using Online Marketing and Digital Marketing synonymously is not comprehensive of what Digital Marketing really is. Online Marketing typically involves using only the Internet to promote products and services to consumers. Using such a narrow focus to describe Digital Marketing minimizes the multitude of other marketing channels that encompass this fast-growing marketing trend.
Others definitions of Digital Marketing acknowledge the fact that because of it digital nature, digital marketing communications can be distributed at a faster rate and broader reach than traditional marketing communications. While this idea is undoubtedly true, reaching a mass audience quickly by using digital technolgy does not constitute Digital Marketing. In fact, some would argue that reaching a more targeted audience iteratively is a more clear definition of Digital Marketing – and I would agree because an iterative approach to marketing requires the establishment of a relationship.
Marketing executive are most supportive of Digital Marketing because of the ability to easily track and measure results of the marketing communication. Because of the use digital technology, the results of a digital marketing effort can be tracked by reach, views, clicks, visits, response rates, purchases made and so on. I will explore the details and importance of these types of measurement techniques in the coming weeks, but for now understand that Digital Marketing requires the ability to measure the results of a digital marketing campaign.
The Digital Marketing Institute defines the term as “the use of digital technologies to create an integrated, targeted and measurable communications which help to acquire and retain customers while building deeper relationships with them.” I agree and support this definition as being most comprehensive of my intrepretation. This definition includes the terms digital, targeted, measurable and relationship all terms that are necessary to define Digital Marketing. It must be digital because of the technology. It is targeted because of the value in the technology allows it to be. It must establish relationships because marketing using digital technology generally requires input from potential consumers. It must be measurable because measurability is inherent in the use of digital technology and inherent in the use of marketing.
The one caveat to the definitiion offered by the Digtial Marketing Institute is that it uses the word integrated to define Digital Marketing. Using an Integrated approach to execute a digital marketing strategy would ultimately provide a better response rate, having an integrated approach is not inherent in the definition. A campaign can encompass a host of well placed interactive digital communication messages throughout cyberspace and other digital media and not place the promotion in magazines, television, newspapers, or radio. This campaign will still be defined as Digital Marketing.
In summary, I define Digital Marketing as the practice of promoting products and services using digital distribution channels, reaching targeted consumers, building iterative relationship with those consumers, and having the ability to produce measurable results. Digital Marketing must be targeted, it must be measurable, and it must involve building strong relationships.
Social media marketing is the process of building awareness about your products, or services through various social media channels. The ultimate goal of any social media marketing campaign is to drive traffic to a website, increase the visibility of the product, gain more social media followers or find more customers.
Social Media Marketing for beginners
Read and follow the 10 tips below to get started:
- Decide which social media platform(s) to use
- Optimize your social media profiles
- Connect your website or blog with your social media page
- Add social media buttons on your website
- Find and follow the influencers in your niche
- Keep a balance between following and followers
- Share interesting content (text, images, videos)
- Post many times per day but don’t overdo it
- Don’t forget to follow back
10.Follow the rules and be patient
- Decide which social media platform(s) to use
As a beginner to social media, you have to choose one or two social media platforms and concentrate on those rather than trying to work on all platforms at the same time.
This is a mistake that many beginners do and in the end, they quit without having any benefit.
A nice way to find out which platform is best suited to your niche is to find the influencers and analyze where they have success.
For example, find out the leaders in your niche and check out the number of Facebook fans, Twitter followers, Pinterest followers, etc.
If they have 100,000 Facebook fans but only 1000 Twitter, followers then this is a good indication that FB is more suitable for your niche than Twitter.
It is also a sign that you are more likely to have success with FB than on Twitter, so you can use your time more efficiently and engage more on FB rather than any other platform.
- Optimize your social media profiles
Once you decide which social media tools you will use (at least for the beginning), the next step is to optimize your profiles on those sites.
By optimizing your profiles you increase your chances of getting more followers and it is also a good way to boost your SEO efforts. Some general rules that apply to all sites are:
Use a real photo, showing your face – avoid using animals, places, or anything that is not real. Social media is about connecting people and if you want to have a trusted profile you need to get out of your cage and put your face on the web! Write a good description of yourself or your company.
What is your background or expertise? What are you proud of?
Mention this is your profile. Give an indication to users what type of info you will share although this is not necessary, I like to read in profiles what kind of info to expect from the particular person.
For example in my Twitter profile, I wrote: “..tweeting SEO, social media, internet marketing tips, and advice”.
Include a link to your website (where applicable) on Facebook includes a link in the ‘About section’, on Twitter and Pinterest in the ‘Web site Section’. In other words, do use your social media profiles for SEO purposes as well.
3. Connect your website or blog with your social media pages
After you have your social media profiles ready the next step is to connect your website with your social media pages.
There is a certain procedure to follow for each platform and it is very important that you do it correctly. A correct binding between the two means that search engines and social media websites know which website corresponds to which social media page.
4. Add social media buttons on your website
Besides connecting your website with the respective business pages on social media, you also need to add social media buttons on your website so that readers can easily share your content.
Depending on the platform there are many ways and plugins to do that, I suggest you search Google using “how to add social media buttons to xxxxxx” – replace xxxxx with the platform your website is based on.
For example, if you are using WordPress search google for “How to add social media buttons to WordPress”.As a general rule of thumb, keep the buttons above the fold to increase exposure and have in mind that larger buttons get more clicks than smaller buttons.
5. Find and follow the influencers in your niche
So far we have selected the most appropriate social media connected to our a website with the social media pages, and added the buttons on our pages for more interaction.
The next obvious step is to find people to follow but most importantly to gradually build our tribe of followers, I would say that there are 5 basic steps to follow to get more followers and these are described in points 6-10 below.
Before getting into that, you should first find and follow the influencers in your niche. It is almost certain that they will not follow you back because you have a new account with no followers but doing so is important for 3 reasons:
Social media platforms will use this information to make suggestions on who to follow so by following popular people in your niche is like telling them that you are also in that niche.
When you follow popular people who are likely to get followed by others as well. A trick many people use is to follow the followers of a popular person because they know that some will follow them back as well.
They will most probably share important and useful information about the niche so you have a chance to learn something new and re-share that with your followers.
6. Keep a balance between following and followers
Once you start following people you should always have in mind that it’s better to keep a balance between the number of people you follow and the number of people, they follow you back.
This is important especially on Twitter and Pinterest and the reasons are a lot:
Software applications are using this ratio (followers/following) to make suggestions on ‘who to follow so if you have a very high ratio you minimize your chances of getting new quality followers. It is a matter of trust – Who do you think has a trusted profile:
Someone with 1000 followers but following 2500 or someone with 550 followers that follow 510?
A balanced profile is better for SEO – SEO’s have been talking the last couple of months about the importance of social media for SEO and how things are changing and although it is not yet confirmed, it is more likely that people with strong social media profiles are in a better position than those with weak profiles.
A strong profile, in this case is someone that has more followers than following and someone that is followed by people who are considered influencers in the niche.
7. Share interesting content (text, images, videos)
This is the foundation for having a successful social media marketing campaign. When we talk about publishing content we always say that ‘content is king’ and this true in social media as well.
If you share interesting and useful content you can get more re-shares, more visitors to your website, and under some conditions more customers as well. What is interesting content? From my experience (and certain studies) this is a combination of:
Articles/Stories/Pages related to your niche but not only from your own website.Interesting statistics about your nice motivational Quotes related to your niche or otherwise research studies, Images, and Videos (If you’re making videos for YouTube I recommend a YouTube editing software to make your life easier)Funny stuff- whatever your niche, you can share once in a while a joke, a funny image or video to make your followers smile.
Don’t forget about hashtags – hashtags (#) can make your content more searchable so don’t forget to use hashtags in the networks that support it (Twitter, Pinterest).
8. Post many times per day but don’t overdo it
A common question by people who are just beginning on social media is “how many times should I post per day?” The answer depends on the network.
There are many studies analyzing the effect of posting frequency and some best practices are:
Facebook personal page – As many times as you want a Facebook business page no more than 1-2 times per day and no more than 7 times per week. Twitter the more you tweet the more exposure you get. Pinterest – a few times per day is enough.
9. Don’t forget to follow back
Most people concentrate on how to get new followers but they forget to follow back to those who have already followed them.
Every day you should create the habit of viewing the people who are already following you and decide who to follow back.
If you don’t do this on a regular basis then most likely some will un-follow you and this is why you may sometimes notice a decrease in the number of followers.
10. Follow the rules and be patient
Social media networks have rules to keep spammers away. For example, there is a limit on Twitter on the number of people you can follow per day; Facebook has its own rules, etc.
This means that it may take some time to build thousands of followers, so you need to be patient and not try to rush into results either by breaking the rules (your account will be suspended) or by spending your money on ‘buying followers or tweets or anything similar.
Try to spend your time creating a great social media profile that will stand over time and why not become one of the authoritative profiles in your niche.
When it comes to social media there are 2 important pillars. The first one has to do with the setup of your social media profiles and the second one is about usage i.e. how you use your social media account.
For the first pillar, it is important to engage in the networks more suited to your niche and to have a proper connection between your social media pages and website.
For the second pillar, it is important to follow the right people, be followed by the right people, and share relevant and interesting content always by adhering to the rules of the different social media networks.