As an internet marketer, people ask me all the time which forms of internet marketing/social media get the best results? I always answer the question with a disclaimer. The disclaimer is: what works best for one business may not work the best for you depending on what type of business you have and what type of results you’re looking to achieve.
As far as internet marketing is concerned, if you have very little time to put in and very little money, I would always recommend to start out with a bi-weekly or monthly electronic newsletter (aka email marketing). This yields an acceptable ROI when considering the small amount of time and money it takes to make it happen. If you have more than a little bit of time and money, you still want to make sure that you have an electronic newsletter.
If you want to do more than that, you begin to get into different forms of social media. There are now an endless amount of options when it comes to social media. If you would have asked me 2-3 weeks ago to prioritize the most effective forms of internet marketing/social media I would have shared the following:
2. Internet Forums
3. YouTube/Video Podcasting
That usually surprises people because Facebook isn’t near the top of my list. Now, this list may change depending on what your business is and what kind of goals you have, but as a general answer, that is what I would share. Now, my answer is based purely on experience with my customers and where their customers tell them they’re coming from.
Well, a study was recently released where social media marketers revealed what platforms were giving them the best return. The image below is from the article, “Where Are Social Media Marketers Seeing the Most Success?“, on eMarketer.com.
Message/bulletin boards are also known as “Forums.” I can confirm that Forums can be a highly effective way of marketing. I have one customer on eight different forums and he gets most of his business from those communities. Not all industries have popular forums relevant to a specific context, but if there is one out there related to your niche, see what it takes to be a sponsor and start posting content and answering questions.
Podcasting can be audio content (for audio podcasts) or a close cousin to YouTube (video podcasts). If you’re already posting video content on YouTube, you might want to consider duplicating your content in the form of a video podcast on iTunes.
Blogging comes in third, which isn’t a surprise. I don’t really see blogging as a form of social media. Blogging, to me, should be your website that is an anchor for all of your social media. If you don’t have a website or are considering what kind of website to build for your business, build it with a blogging component.
Notice that “online video” (aka YouTube), comes ahead of Twitter and Facebook. I completely agree with this feedback. If you only have the capacity to post up one video a month, that’s more than enough reason to get started. There’s something about consistent video content that entices people to talk to the real person and/or experience the real product. After watching a number of your videos on a consistent basis, people will be compelled to take the next action step in your sales funnel.
If you’re looking for more web traffic for your site, than Twitter would probably be higher on this list. A growing Twitter page is a blog’s best friend in my opinion.
In regards to Facebook’s place on this list, I am not surprised. Facebook is good place to reinforce your message/brand and remind people you exist. The bottom line is, people still go on Facebook to socialize more than they do to spend money. This dynamic could change down the road though.
An interesting surprise on this list is the absence of LinkedIn and the presence of Foursquare. Was LinkedIn even a part of the survey? Is Foursquare the next Facebook? Who knows. What I do know is that LinkedIn has been very effective for my business as well as my customers.