There is a persistent myth about social media that says that it is a slow grind; you great your blog and facebook page, and slowly building up followers over a long period of time. Sure this makes sense and I even recommend this strategy as it can work.
Attribution: Flickr - Rosaura Ochoa
However the idea that you can't simply advertise or promote on social media is incorrect. Instead it is possible to leverage it in the same way companies have been leveraging the old media of TV, Movies, Radio and Newspapers for over a hundred years.
Remember that not every customer or product will fit neatly into the idealised social media landscape. Most social media consultants focus narrowly on certain strategies and generally have little other media experience, which means that are suggesting strategies that will take your message to a few hundred people, when it would be better if we could take it to tens of thousands or even millions.
Let's look at some ways to leverage social media to reach a larger audience.
Put your content out there
The old media strategy was to put out a press release or even just to write articles about a topic related to your business that also mentions your business and send it to magazines and newspapers. I have even managed to be paid to write articles that say wonderful things about businesses that I work for.
Attribution: Pixabay - pixelcreatures
Thanks to social media this is now easier than ever. An article or image can be posted online and shared through social media platforms such as Reddit, StumbleUpon and even Twitter. Like sending out a press release, it is a gamble. Sometimes you get five hits and other times five million.
But don't limit yourself to this. You can write for a whole range of platforms. Whether you are blogging for huffington post of contributing to a site like hubgarden, you are reaching a wider audience for your content than just blogging.
Don't forget all your publishing and content rules. Make sure you are writing news, not "olds" and providing useful content not just advertising. Though a new and exiting product can be news, content and advertising all rolled into one.
Work with influencers
This article was inspired by a person I met who is developing a product that is designed to use infrared to cook the perfect streak. Her plan was to somehow get the famous TV chef, Jamie Oliver to endorse her product. Sure he endorses many things, often for huge fees.
Attribution: Flickr - Stefano Maggi
If you are starting out, the advantage now is that there are so many influencers out there, chances are that you will find one in your price range. Maybe they can work with a food blogger or youtube recipe video maker to take their product to market. They could even just send out samples of the product to these people or host an event.
Anyone can be an influencer. Even working with bloggers that only have a few hundred readers took one app we were marketing to the top of iTunes app store. So there is always someone at your level that you can work with.
Don't forget your social media basics
Remember the rules of social media. People won't consume passively, they will comment, share and hopefully follow. Just like a television advertising campaign needs to supported by staff in front offices and on the telephone, so too you need to be prepared to act upon the results of your social media leverage to provide depth and also to turn social media activity into sales.