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Social Media Optimization and Test Marketing

By Lisa Bacala

Have you heard of social media optimization? Test Marketing?

Social media optimization or in other words social media that markets through using information gathered from social communities.

A few examples of social media optimization tools and websites include blogging/RSS feeds for blogs, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Flickr and MySpace, BEBO and incorporating third-party applications to communities like Facebook and Myspace. Social media optimization is similar to search engine optimization, but differs in many ways, Mostly, the focal point is on driving traffic from sources within Social bookmarking sites and communities other than directing traffic from search engines.

The number of social media websites has exploded in the last year and each of these new social networking websites is different, they all attract different audiences with individual and diverse interests. More and more businesses want to experiment with social media optimization and you can see this in the explosion in popularity of Twitter.

Twitter, one of the newest social networking websites, it uses micro-blogging and many people are getting actively involved in generating publicity through this form of social media. When you "twitter" or micro-blog, post pictures, and/or links you are inviting others into your life to comment and ultimately approve or reject what you are offering. This type of immediate response is an incredible way to gather "up to the minute" targeted information.

Why is this important might you ask?

Getting feedback about your product and services is very important and can help immensely when branding your company. Business reputation is very important in branding and marketing and up to date immediate feedback is considered an integral part of an online reputation management system. That is why many executives are now seeing the worth of using social bookmarking and social media optimization to test Search Engine Reputation Management strategies. this is incredible for organizations or individuals who need to enhance their online presence but cannot afford to pay for surveys and focus groups.

Using social communities can optimize your "linkability" or give you feed back and tips on ways to make your brand more comfortable. Along with immediate feedback about your brand popularity it can also help your overall business.

Companies and individuals can now successfully use services like Tweetscan or Tweepbeep to monitor each and every time their company name or one of their products names are mentioned on Twitter and then choose to respond accordingly through the social media website or through their marketing, or engineering departments.

This has the potential for real time insight for a company CEO, whom often lose touch, with the people who are using the products or services their corporation provides.

Imagine, if back in the late eighties, the board of K-mart could have been following social media sites instead of listening to yes men in the company. Then perhaps they could have understood how a line in a movie like Rain Man where Dustin Hoffman says "K-mart sucks" could become the punch line to a joke they had already become.

Smart companies that want to avoid that kind of meltdown are learning to keep their finger on the pulse of consumers wants and needs and if you want to succeed you'll want to do the same thing.

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