Social media has become an integral part of marketing and public relations. The main challenge is getting a dynamic social media campaign started and keeping it going.
For companies with essential products and services, Twitter and Facebook are manageable places to launch a social media campaign. The first question to ask when starting a social media campaign is – what do I want to accomplish?
For example, an online drug store Little Twig decided they wanted to raise brand awareness and increase sales. That’s a logical goal for almost any business. Brittany Nelson, Marketing and Sales Coordinator at Little Twig, said, “The first step was to create our Facebook and Twitter profiles and then send out an email marketing letter to all of our contacts requesting that they become our fans or followers.”
In talking to Bruce Burke at iPayStation, a provider for international mobile top-up, bill pay, prepaid and money transfer, he said that social media provides the most cost-efficient channel for marketing. Burke tweets about top-up promotions, network launches, and prepaid industry trends. Burke helps friends by retweeting their posts, meaning he passes the message on, a smart way to collect more followers. This is known as “reciprocal following:” “You follow me and I’ll follow you.”
Here are Burke’s five tips on how to talk the social media language:
- Product Information – Old news is new to many. We take much of what we sell for granted but a tried and true offering can be news to your customers. Remind them of your products.
- Promotions – Announce the specials you are running. Once is not enough. Twitter the special every few hours during the day and continue throughout the week before the special expires.
- Contests – have people sign up for prizes and drawings. By getting people to sign up, you are engaging your customer and building loyalty.
- Industry News – provide information on changes, new laws, industry market reports, and trends. Customers look to suppliers for information. You can become a resource.
- Insights – share your views on subjects pertinent to the business.
Facebook Me, Follow Me on Twitter
Facebook fan pages are created as a business platform to post information and news, and even to sell products. But first, register on Facebook.com with an email address and password, then complete the profile portion. Search for friends, family and business acquaintances to build your Facebook community. You can write on walls, share news and comment on updates. Click what you “like.”
It’s time to create fan pages. Look for “ads and pages” on the left hand side of the Facebook home page. If it is not shown, click on “more” and it will come up. Ads and pages will take you to Facebook Fan Page where you can follow the prompts to set up your pages with pictures, logos, and ads. It’s all up to you to create the pages.
Now here comes the tricky part about Fan Page; in fact, this is the tough part of online marketing. You have to build an audience for the product. You need to drive traffic to the fan pages, in much the same way that you drive traffic to your corporate website. It’s all about engaging contacts and building links to pull in visitors and customers. “Until you acquire a band of followers and friends, it is like talking to yourself,” said Burke.
Engage fans by asking them to suggest features they like in your products. Offer special giveaways and post contests. Little Twig announced a birthday club and asked people to share their favorite birthday theme to win a gift certificate.
To start tweeting, sign up on Twitter.com and post a profile. Register your top-of-mind brand name that you want build upon. Post updates several times a day writing no more than 140 characters. Promote a new product or service, post a link to a blog, a news article or a website.
To chat with someone on Twitter, use the @ symbol before someone’s Twitter name. This makes their username a link to their profile so other people can follow the “conversation.”
We live in an exciting era of communication. Social media is bringing the planet together and enabling social and political changes. As business owners and managers, as well as citizens, we have to keep up with the times. Learn as much as you can about using social media as a marketing tool or assign someone to be in charge of integrating social media into your marketing program.
Develop a plan and stick to it. Remember that out-of-the-box thinking can set your company apart from its competition. If properly implemented, social media efforts can produce results in the form of sales and capital.