More Complexities of Social Media Marketing

Last week, I took a stab at starting to explain the complexities of social media marketing. I mentioned that Business Insider posted a graphic showing no fewer than 28 areas of social media. This week, we’ll take a look at more of them.

If you want, you can take a minute to review last week’s article or check out the Business Insider infographic that pulls everything together in one image. I can easily see why many firms turn their online marketing over to outside companies. Can you imagine trying to navigate through all that without a road map, when all you really want to do is focus on your customers and the products and services you provide?

These days, though, SEOs must understand social media marketing. So let’s look at some of the categories displayed in the image I referenced. Last week I discussed Twitter apps: what they are, how they’re used, and how you can use them in your marketing campaigns. This week, we’re moving on to Facebook.

I’m going to assume you know how to set up a Facebook page and have some idea of how to use it to promote a business. Here we’re going to look at two other Facebook categories: Facebook games and Facebook apps.

Practically everyone has played a game on Facebook. We all know about Zynga, who brought us that annoying (and to some, addicting) farming game along with many others, but there’s also Playfish, Playdom, Socialpoint, PopCap, and more. These companies often boast sites of their own at which you can play free versions of their games, purchase games, and even socialize with others playing the same games. Free versions may be casual games you can play in your browser, and often include some kind of advertisement, either a static picture, animation, or in some cases a full-on video, between levels.

If you’re thinking of advertising within a Facebook-style game, do the same kind of cost-benefits analysis you’d do anywhere else. You have a somewhat voluntary audience, as anyone who’s playing a free game knows they have to pay for it somehow, and watching an ad is usually relatively painless. Make sure the game’s demographic and your target audience are a good match.

Now let’s take a look at Facebook apps. The number of these is mind-staggering, even if you ignore the games. There are lots of quizzes; some newspapers boast Facebook apps that make it easier for users to post links to their articles; and apps for many other purposes. Zoosk is a dating site with a Facebook app. Booshaka specifically helps you market on Facebook by showing you who your top fans are; the company asl boasts a search engine to show what’s trending on the social network. BranchOut lets users do career networking on Facebook. Likester bills itself as a global popularity engine; “When you sign up with Likester, you contribute your anonymous data (what you like), in exchange for seeing what everyone else likes,” the site explains. And I’ve hardly exhausted the universe of Facebook apps!

So which Facebook apps should you use? Should you consider creating your own, or hiring someone to create something appropriate? That depends very much on what kind of business you operate, and partly on how you currently market it. If you’re a business professional, you might consider using BranchOut (and you should probably be on LinkedIn, but I’m getting ahead of myself). If you’re a publisher, you might consider some kind of application that makes it easy to not just “like” your pages and articles, but share them. If you do a lot of Facebook promotion, you might take a close look at Booshaka. Likester sounds like a potentially very good source of marketing data.

That’s all I have room for today. Next week, we’ll move beyond Facebook and Twitter to other social media categories. It’s not going to get any easier; as with anything, you’ll have to think about what you’re trying to accomplish before you spend any money. But with this tour, I hope I can give you a taste of what’s possible, and you’ll be moved to investigate more deeply on your own. Good luck!

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