No, not the kind that circulate air. I’m talking about Social Media: Facebook fans. Twitter followers. Views on YouTube. What was once for college students posting photos from last weekend’s soiree or teenagers crazy over Ashton Kutcher’s latest tweet, is now one of the biggest marketing tools available worldwide.
Traditional media is still powerful, however TV, radio and print advertising are becoming less effective and less efficient every day. Recent statistics are staggering in the proof that social media is shifting the way we consume media. For example, 70% of 18-34 year-olds have watched TV on the web, and 25% of all Americans have watched a short video on their phone…in the past month, leaving TV advertisements out cold.
If that’s not enough to get your attention, try this on:
If Facebook were a country, it would be the world’s 4th largest.
3. United States
However, more significant than just sheer numbers is the way that social media allows the unique opportunity for a business to have a direct relationship with their customers. Where we used feel like we were pushing our message out at consumers, we can now listen and learn about how they feel about our brand, build a relationship and with it, brand loyalty, and speak to customers in real time.
So, you want to have fans…what’s next?
Keep in mind that there are thousands of social platforms available and that not all of them will be right for your brand. Before you create a facebook page or set up a Twitter account, take some time to devise a strategy. You need to set clear objectives for your social marketing program, just like you would with any other advertising, and measurements of success.
In a recent business facebook page that I’ve set up, one of my goals is to create favorability or purchase intent. For example, I post a coupon on the page for 20% off a product, this weekend only. I measure the success by engagement with the consumer – Customer A “liked” it and Customer B posted a comment, and even better, by seeing Customer C walk in the store with the facebook page printed out to make sure they get that discount. I know that this facebook page makes sense for this business because it meets my goals and I am pleased with the success.
Next, you want to think about how this social networking opportunity will showcase your strengths. What is your company good at and how can you share that? Don’t forget that you must abide by social media rules. Study the medium before you jump in and learn the language. Decide how your brand will present itself and choose the voice that will enable you to best engage with your audience. Speaking like a marketer on facebook won’t get you more fans, talking like a friend will.
Finally, what value are you providing your customer? Consider what your audience will expect from you in a social media setting. Exclusive deals, first-to-know opportunities, asking for feedback and then responding to customers are a few of the intangible goods and services you should provide.
Most important, when considering social media, remember that a good social media program requires an on-going conversation. Build the relationship with your customers in the mediums that fit your company best, and do it often.