By Jerry | November 11, 2010
by Jerry Krull
You’re at another business event and the marketing talk is about Social Media. Jack’s company just ran a killer contest on their Facebook page. They received input from their core demographic and found with the page’s interactions that the 30-45 age demographic they targeted likes the product but wants a more intuitive design. Not only do they say they want a new design, several give feedback on exactly what would be a better design. The company is working on the improvement and letting the Facebook crowd know it.
Janice’s publishing company just launched another successful author. They ran with a website for the book, a blog for the book topic, a Facebook page for the book, a Twitter account that drove traffic to the website and Facebook page. They also did a lot of social bookmarking and even created a YouTube Channel with video interviews snippets with the author and the author in interviews. The Facebook page and blog had excerpts from the book that used keywords that attracted the target audience through search.
Finally Alan talked about how they built a new branding campaign using Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Foursquare, Gowalla and a slew of other nonsense sounding names that make up the social media sphere.
So, here you are, the Marketing Director for your firm. You’ve been resisting this Social Media area because you can’t see how it can work for you. Yet the competition has started using it, the CEO, COO and Board of Directors are mentioning it as something “to get on board”. But how do you enter it? What will make it work for you?
It’s not that difficult. You don’t have to be a hip, 20-something whiz kid to make use of social media. Here it is in a nutshell;
Social Media is a marketing tool – pure and simple.
That’s it. Print advertising is a tool; you know how to use that. Radio or TV advertising is a tool, you have that down pat. Social Media is another tool. It has advantages and disadvantages, just like the other tools. The idea is to use the tools for what they are designed to do.
You wouldn’t expect to buy a hammer and then use it on a screw would you? Would you purchase 30 seconds of TV commercial on the Super Bowl to promote your Post graduate textbook line to universities? No, of course not.
Use the right tools for the job. Take Twitter as an example. You get 140 character messages. What on earth would that tool be good for? Well, let’s examine the tool. Twitter has short messages that can be seen by “Followers” and another source – more on that in a minute. “Followers” hmm, that sounds like a target market. Ok, so we can generate messages targeted toward that target market. What is the other source that sees the messages?
Search engines see the messages – Google in particular. Google looks at the words in the messages and adds them to the search listings. So if you have targeted messages that use the keywords for the market, they will get listed in the search engines for those keywords. When somebody in the target market is searching on their favorite subject, the Twitter posts will appear in the search listings and bring another prospect to your Twitter account. They will Follow and also follow the links on the Twitter account to your other sites. You can use hash tags in your Twitter messages and people will find those hash tag words in a Twitter search and bring them to your brand.
So how is Twitter best used as a tool in marketing? It drives traffic to your website, and other media sites using targeted words and messages used by your target market. Don’t try to use Twitter to make a sale; it’s not a tool to make a sale. That’s like our hammer example to drive in a screw. Wrong use of the tool. Twitter casts a net to bring in a crowd.
There, you now know how Twitter can be used in your efforts. Now look at Facebook, YouTube, and FourSquare. They have their uses and can be fantastic marketing tools. The best part is the low cost of entry to bring in very targeted prospects.
If you need to learn the best uses of the tools, look for case studies. There are many case studies on the web for different businesses. You can bring in consultants to talk about social media. Just be sure they ask about your business, your target market. Make sure they talk about things other than setting up social media accounts. I can hire the set up out for you for peanuts.
The payoff is not having the social media accounts. You can buy an awesome set of tools (social media accounts); the payoff is how you use them. A consultant should be able to articulate how using the tools will reach your goal. That goal can be brand awareness, driving traffic, or direct sales (just not through Twitter as the main sales method).
Examine your Marketing strategy, and an excellent consultant will be able to map out how Social Media can reach your audience. Or you can hire a Social Media Director. More on what to look for in the Social Media Director in another post.