Did you know that Mark Zuckerberg had one thing in mind when he founded Facebook? Girls! By virtually connecting with his co-students, the geeky guy thought getting in contact with girls would be easier. This is, at least, a statement made in the movie “The Social Network”.
Now, 7 years and 600 million users later, Facebook feels like business, not only for Mr Zuckerberg. Companies of all sizes try to get their share out of this huge community as well as out of the ones on Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, foursquare etc.
Yet how do you do it? How can you make sure you reach the relevant target group? How can you create leads and drive sales? How can you earn money with Social Media?
The best ever Social Media Campaign, according to Forbes.com, was done in the late 1990s for the movie “The Blair Witch Project”. And you know what? Social Media did not really exist these days! The creators used more conventional marketing instruments such as ads, posters, websites etc. to foster curiosity and literally become the talk of the town.
So, if you run a small or medium-sized business and want your share out of the Social Media buzz, how should you do your marketing?
If you have read the article “Why YOU probably are a Social Media expert”, you might remember that people are social by nature and love to be connected and well informed. You learned that all those Social Media platforms are, simply put, just new instruments to stay in touch and to share news – without having to leave the house!
So, lets have a look at a business owner in a small town and how she does her Social Media marketing:
Picture a baker who has 3 shops in 3 different rural locations, a team of 15 working for her and some great technical and creative skills. Although, she has some decent revenues, her marketing budget is modest. She knows, however, that it is important to be consistent with her efforts and to communicate her offers on a regular basis; especially, as she plans to open a fourth shop within the next 12 months.
This is the sort of marketing that she does:
- Window display for her own offer and other items (such as posters for local events)
- “Offer of the week” published in the shops, in local newspapers and on flyers
- Doing specials from time to time such as new wedding cake designs, open house days or special discounts for a limited period
- Sponsoring of local sports teams
- Local networking as active member of various associations including being spokes woman of one club
- Attending local trade shows
- Supplying her products to events in the region and getting mentioned on the menu, the contact listings and in the press
- Being present at events in the area, even on weekends. In particular, she shows-up at events she delivered her products to
- Being present in her shops to talk to people in person, to engage in conversations, to listen and to react
- Being on top of what is going on in the community: who is planning a wedding, who is throwing a party for her 50th birthday, which club is celebrating its anniversary this year?
What consequences do these actions have? What are the things people say about her? Does she give them enough reason to buy in her shops rather than in her competitors’ bakeries? Do people talk about her? Do her sales grow? Would an artificially created campaign help her more than a natural way of networking and engaging? What would happen if she decided not to be an active part of the community?
And finally: Do you think this baker sits down and calculates how much time it cost her to talk and listen to people? Do you think she asks, how much money she will make if she attends a number of events in town? Do you think she measures the ratio of contacts/sales? Do you think she even considers not being social as it is too expensive and not proven to be successful?
Well I think she doesn’t. Because she knows that socializing is not an option, it is the backbone of her business.
The key word in being social is not ROI – it is PRESENCE! It is about being where your customers are. It is about listening and giving answers. It is about delivering value. It is about people and about being able to speak to their heart!
And here is what you can do for your Social Media marketing now:
Be present on the most relevant Social Media channels, listen and read what people say, ask them for their opinion and ideas, be friendly and polite, respect other opinions, show solutions, answer their questions, share tips and advise, be generous, be relevant, give people something they can talk about.
So, what are your thoughts and experiences? Do share them in the comments. Thank you.