How Social Are You?
Does your company currently incorporate social media into its marketing plan? Have you investigated social media sites like Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn? If your company currently does not use social media, it should.
Social media can be used to position you or your company as an expert in your line of business. Tweeting about industry related topics that interest others would develop followers. Adding a Facebook entry on a review of your new product line with a link back to your website builds interest and sales potential.
However, there is a catch. In order to be effective, the information must be relevant and it must be presented often. A regimented campaign of tweets and Facebook entries can build "followers" and "likes" quickly.
For example, 75% of Facebook users like at least 1 brand, while at least a quarter of users like 6 or more. So why like a brand? On the retail level it's simple … coupons and discounts.
Like the Internet, social media has become an integral part of our lives. Facebook is not just for college students anymore. People of all ages login to communicate, share stories, post pictures and video, play games, and more.
It is estimated that there are over 600 million active Facebook accounts and 190 million Twitter accounts generating 65 million tweets a day, worldwide. Let's face it, that's a lot of potential customers. But not all of them will care what you have to say. That's okay, the ones that do have the best potential of becoming a new customer.
It's basically word-of-mouth advertising – online! But, it can be a double-edged sword. If something about your product did not sit well with a customer … you can bet it'll rear its ugly head on Facebook.
To further elaborate why companies should even consider using social media as part of their marketing program, think of it like this: it's a friend telling a friend about something they like about you or your products. It's all about the information. We live in the information age. Everything we want to know is literally at our fingertips.
In fact, using third-party software called NearbyTweets.com to "localize" tweets of specific topics that may be related to services you offer. This is very promising since the person sending out the tweet is already "tuned-in" to what you may be offering. To make it even better, using Twitter, you can respond directly to the individuals with specific information relating to their inquiry or situation.
But for this to be effective, you need to be on top of it on a regular basis. Now I am not suggesting you park yourself in front of your computer screen and wait for the tweets to roll in new business. However, regular monitoring of your social media, sometimes once a day for just these types of opportunities, can yield new leads.
In addition, if you tweeted something once a day about something relevant in your area of expertise, people will eventually find it. And they will come to accept you and your company as the experts.
Here are a few tips to increase your following on Twitter:
1) Tweet about the things you know best
2) Your account name accurately reflects who you are and what you do
3) Follow others in related and non-related fields
4) Read other people's tweets and respond
5) Tweet consistently
6) If you choose to have someone Tweet for you, make sure they know your product line and that you trust them
BONUS TIP: Do not drink and tweet
What we need to really be asking ourselves is "How do I use social media to enhance the experience of my customers' interaction with my company?" We need to look at creative ways to tie-in the various social media to create a "buzz" about our new product or service. Or depending use it to supplement traditional advertising.
So does utilizing social media help with search engine optimization? Yes, but in a passive way. If you include links back to your website, then you're driving traffic to your site. Search engines like sites that are frequently visited. Adding a Twitter feed to your homepage is another way to help boost SEO.
Although social media has been around for a number of years, its potential has only been scratched. As technology makes communication with one another faster and easier, it opens up new opportunities and new avenues for marketers. Think of it as "customer relations management" (CRM). Engage your customers with useful information and surprise them with the unexpected to hold their interests. Build your CRM around people and their interests. Create a team within your organization to compile and organize a list of communications, each to be delivered from their unique individual perspectives.
In short, social media can be integrated into your overall marketing campaign with little investment. Write down some things you know about today. Make a list of ideas and services and / or products your company offers. Add the Facebook and Twitter icons to your homepage, link them up and get started. Time to join the party and socialize.
Rod Roberts is the president and creative director of Roberts Design Company, Inc., a graphic design and marketing firm in Champaign, Illinois