Social media is a phenomenon that seemed to overtake us overnight. Many hard-core, died in the wool marketers simply sat and scratched their heads as the wave approached. Some of them are still scratching away. Yet social media is just exploiting the core element of the Internet -- connectivity. As technology has advanced, communities have grown and as personal computers have become so small that they fit in your pocket, we have found every reason and every opportunity to connect with each other online.

For the marketer, these are exciting times. Every company should have a social media strategy and engage the opportunity for everything that it is worth. Some organizations have done particularly well here, while others have been less fortunate. It's important to do the appropriate amount of research before crafting a social media marketing strategy and to understand that not all social media outlets are the same.

What are the advantages? Simplicity, primarily. It is relatively easy to get your message to your customers and also fairly easy to actually target your customers in the first place. You can use social media to gather a lot of information about your clients and prospects and you can also use it to look after customer relations. If you know what you are doing and have a little bit of luck on your side, your messages can go viral and be picked up by thousands or millions of people, who may have been outside of your marketing arena. Before you know it, you could have more interest and more hits to your website than you know what to do with.

What are the disadvantages? Well, so long as you are thoughtful, careful, above board and respect the priorities of the various social media sites, there really shouldn't be too many disadvantages. However, if you break any of these golden rules, you could find that your social media engagement backfires in a big way.

Remember that social media sites are essentially "social," and few of these communities take kindly to overt or "in-your-face" advertising. It's possible to interact without being commercial and to pitch your brand as being interesting. Don't release a publicity campaign without thinking twice about this, as if you're not careful you could end up garnering a considerable amount of negative publicity. Above all else, always be honest and never try and milk the system. If you are dishonest or shady in the hope of trying to make a greater impression, the social media world has a way of finding out.

Those who are the most successful with their social media marketing strategies are those who take time to create something unusual, with a great angle. You have to be able to get the right amount of attention in a short space of time, so something out-of-the-box, audacious or even a little controversial is likely to win out. Look at your customers and understand them and then give them something juicy to talk about, in as subtle a fashion as possible.

Author's Bio: 

Diana Samalot is mother to twin girls, writer, entrepreneur, master marketer and success coach. She can help you market your online or brick and mortar business with a proven system, training, coaching and world class support. To find out if you qualify to become part of her team of entrepreneurs and possibly a millionaire, go to >>>>