It’s simple: the key to social media is getting involved in “the conversation”.

Getting Involved in Social Media Conversations

Here are some numbers to illustrate the point:

Yahoo! News receives 44 million visitors per month. YouTube garners over 70 million visitors per month. experiences 28 million visitors per month. Facebook is closing in on nearly 500 million visitors per month.

What makes social media different from traditional media outlets such as trade pubs, newspapers, TV and radio, is the interactions between people as they engage in collective conversations about unique and meaningful content. Case in point: many blogs generate so much reader commentary that traditional media are increasingly turning to them for insight and analysis.

In traditional marketing, the product of the marketing effort is the message, whereas in social media marketing and PR, the user-generated message is a by-product the content, marketed by virtue of popularity. Social media marketing seeks to answer questions in a collaborative environment where all sides of the questions are considered, not just the spin of traditional PR or advertising.

Social media is about giving people something to talk about. People love to share their experiences and giving them an opportunity to do so empowers them. It also creates a positive interaction for the company if you take note of what they say and address it in your marketing or product development. You can extend the reach of a social media campaign by getting involved in blogs, forums, and niche communities. But it all starts with creating content and getting the conversation going.

Social media enables pull marketing—where the customer “pulls” the message in—for example, by searching for a product or service on the web. The key to social media is getting involved in “the conversation.” So where is the conversation happening? I’ts happening in content created by online communities such as Wikipedia, YouTube, Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn, digg, the blogosphere, etc. This shift has many people asking how they can tap into this new form of media and the large and influential audiences that power it.

What Is Influencing Buyers?

“A Person Like Me” is now the most credible spokesperson for companies, according to the 2008 Edelman Trust Barometer study. The key to a successful social media marketing and public relations program is developing content angles and pitches that will resonate with your targeted audiences where and when they’re active. It’s important to start conversations with customers and the media that influence those customers. By doing that, you can capture and communicate relevant stories to the right audiences, making them enthusiasts of your brand…

In Summary

An effective social media campaign can have a huge impact on the publicity your brand receives and its success. Word-of-mouth marketing is ever changing, and there are many new influencers who can tell your story to their readers. By using social media platforms, you can bypass the gatekeepers and get your story directly to the public.

Social media is about creating lasting relationships— with journalists who appreciate good content, with customers who want to be informed about improvements to your brand, as well as future brands and products, and with other companies who may want to enter into partnerships, sponsorships, etc. Creating news that is search friendly, not only gets your instant visibility in a Google search, but also attracts social enthusiasts who can generate even more interest in your brand. With social media, you can create a storm of interest in a story, get the attention of mainstream media and help make your brand a success.

We look forward to getting started on social media PR with you.

Excerpted from:
The Savy Agency BrandSpring Whitepaper