Social Media in Marketing has fast become a must for any business but none more so than for the smaller business.

It is a sure way of raising your overall business profile on line and creates opportunities for you to explore other avenues to market with guaranteed success.

Social Media Marketing evolved from a combination of on line and traditional marketing driven by elements of customer relationship marketing and direct marketing.

It was only fifteen years ago that advertising moguls like David Ogilvy were saying that one day we’d all be walking around with mini computers strapped to our wrists and running our businesses from those. They were not far wrong!

Today social media have made it easy and cost effective for small business owners to strategise, set up and manage their own marketing and advertising campaigns with ease.

Microsites like Facebook and Twitter allow anyone in business to monitor and feed an audience, following their likes and dislikes, their links and general thoughts about a brand or service offered.

Networking sites like LinkedIn have taken business seriously on line and provided in depth profiles of people and their businesses allowing you to connect with millions of others, in a short space of time, that would normally have taken you years to achieve.

Business Blogging has become more media rich with the introduction of blogs to website creating a whole new genre of ‘marketing hub’.

Video is sky rocketing to the forefront of on line marketing with the latest changes at Google and the never ending task of filtering the plethora of websites on the world wide web. Video is working it’s charm on social media sites as audiences demand more entertainment than information these days and it provides the perfect mix of both and complies with Google’s latest demands for ‘less is more’ in terms of content.

With all of these tools easily available to mostly all business owner, how do you decide which ones to use and how do you use them?

Latest trends show that mostly all business, from the smallest to the biggest, should have profiles on the four basic tools – Facebook, LinkedIn, Blogsite and – (no not Twitter!) YouTube.

Gone are the days when writing keyworded copy was ‘king’. Harness the power of video and use it to speak directly to your audience. Video shows your prospective clients just who you are and speeds up the ‘ambient intimacy’ that is created online allowing the development of trust between buyer and seller to develop at a faster rate.

Video also allows you to show case product, highlight services, interview staff and customers and show testimonials.

People often ask if they can just use a microsite to advertise on line like Facebook and yes, this is doable however you never own a microsite. Facebook change the rules all the time and can revoke you user capabilities at any time.

Using a blog that is registered to you is the best way to create a ‘hub’ for all you on line marketing activities. Blog sites and websites have merged a lot in terms of functionality now but adding a blog to your e-comm site will certainly help drive relevancy and ranking as it allows you to change material on a daily basis.

To start your own marketing campaign on social media register with the main tools and create profiles for yourself there. Ensure that each tool is linked to the other and transfers information easily. Then determine a strategy to use those tools in a way that best represents your business eg: an information delivery strategy, a sales strategy, a sharing strategy.

Draw it out. A graphic image of how it should work from tool to tool will help you determine the process to ensure that content is spread correctly to ensure your audience expectations are met.

Consider your tone of delivery, the content you are going to use, how each tool will play it’s part in the process, your calls to action, your target market and what they want to hear from you.

Then move on to the intricacies of each tool eg: how often will you post on Twitter, update your Facebook page status, write a blog post, post a video tip? It all has bearing on your strategy and approach but more importantly, it has bearing on your time availability to fulfil this marketing function.

Social Media is not a quick fix. It is a long term activity to increase your on line visibility and in that activity you may introduce short campaigns and promotions to stimulate sales and other actions from your audience.