[tweetmeme]Twitter this… Facebook that, Digg the other thing… By now, you must be familiar with the buzzwords and may have even used them in a sentence (We use Facebook to stay in touch with our clients) or perhaps as a verb ( shut the tweet up ).
Social media is seen as a holy grail of new marketing and one thing I noticed with some of the companies I worked with, as well as in the marketplace, it’s sort of a bandwagon they get on, don’t really know what the objective is, hang around for a while and then let their social media presence die a slow and unknown death.
Fact is… social media may not be right for your business at all. At one of my recent workshops a question came from the audience: “So how do I use Twitter for my business?”. The gentleman owned a storage business and wanted to know how to stretch his marketing reach through this awesome new thing called Twitter. The answer is… quite possibly not well… and quite possibly not effectively… Most of the people who require such services will generally look in two places: yellow pages (also dying a slow death) and Google. They are likely not active twitter users (did you know that a very small percentage of overall twitter users are actually active, meaning on twitter for more then once a month?) and… chances are they won’t be seeking a storage place on there anyways. Running a Google Ad campaign would be a much more effective use of their time and resources.
HOWEVER… here is a different slant on the idea and a way to use Twitter as part of your marketing campaign. Let’s say their goals (key concept!) were to get their name out there and build X amount of followers and perhaps garner some media attention. They could structure a campaign based on tweets from a box… or a storage unit… from the box’s perspective. Wrap that up with some funny copy and other marketing support and you might have yourself a viral campaign.
In and of itself, social media is a connecting medium. It’s a way for people to communicate and share stories. If you were putting all your eggs in one basket (and we learned that’s not always the best idea in this late market correction) and that basket was social media, you better research the hell out of your customer base, find out if and where they are active and connect with them from that perspective. My experience has proven that social media is an incredibly powerful marketing medium, but it must be used as PART of an overall marketing strategy, not as a stand-alone substitute for your yellow pages ad.
So before you embark and join the social media party wagon, ask yourself these five questions.
1. What exactly are we trying to achieve? (increase hits on the website, grow customer database, name awareness…)
2. Who are our ideal customers (and be brutally honest, if they’re 40 year old single moms… say that. Don’t wrap it up in 25-45 women living in… blah blah blah)
3. Are they active online? (this means some intel gathering. Do your ideal customers shop online, would they search for a pizza place to order from in yellow pages… or google…)
4. Where are they active? (There are many… MANY social media websites you can tap into. Facebook and twitter are only drops in a bucket of options. Think about fishing forums, motorcycle discussion groups…)
5. How do we connect with them? (What strategy will work best. Do you want your sales people to create profiles and connect with their customers and work on the personal touch, or can you swing a company profile and make it fun and exciting for your visitors to keep coming back)
Well… all that said, here are a couple of examples of effective social media campaigns and ideas: