March 2, 2011
Does the concept of starting a social media marketing campaign scare you? Don’t let it. While social media sites are quickly growing, they’re also becoming easier to use and are welcoming not only social butterflies but businesses as well. Social media marketing is slowly but surely finding its way into the standard marketing campaign – and for good reason. Here are some of the trends we’ve noticed over the past year.
A Lack of Control
When venturing into the world of social media, it is important to remember that you will have very little control over the actions and mindsets of your followers or fans. Take Facebook, for example. You may decide to build a business page for your organization but you may also find that your fans have created fan pages of their own – unofficial pages where they have chosen to network and talk about your products or services. While that shouldn’t discourage you from building your own page, it should encourage you to check out what others are doing or saying in an effort to monitor and protect your brand.
Exploring Collective Sales
The past year has introduced the concept of collective sales, or collective buying, to the social media marketing platform as well. Sites like Groupon offer businesses a set amount of guaranteed sales. You, as a business, will offer a steep discount but an individual can only take advantage of it if a guaranteed number of people make the purchase. Those clients may not turn into regular customers, but the collective sale will give you the opportunity to gain hundreds of new customers literally overnight.
Location Based Marketing
Technology is an incredible thing and advances in the way people can connect to the internet and, in turn, their social networks has had a huge influence on social media marketing. Anyone with a smartphone or an iPad can access the internet and many love checking in on social applications like Loopt and Foursquare. Even Facebook and Twitter have added applications that allow people to report where they are. Many business with storefronts are now offering incentives, ranging from discounts to free products, to customers who post that they are in the shop.
Social Networks and Gaming
Many social networks, including Facebook, feature incredibly popular games. Despite your hesitance, it’s important to recognize that millions of people are playing the games offered by social networking groups each day. Pretty soon, you’ll be able to advertise within these games. At the very least, you may be able to include your product in virtual form so that those “playing” can “buy” your “services.” They may just decide to do so in real life, too.
Social Media Experts
While social media was at one time completely free, trends now point towards the incorporation of social media experts into the overall marketing plan. These experts have experience setting up Twitter profiles or Facebook pages, making customizations and changes that will give you the most professional and appealing face possible. It’s all about building your brand, and an expert can help you set things up right from the start.
Social media marketing is growing by leaps and bounds and many businesses, from Toyota to Nike, are marketing their social networking pages (especially their Facebook fan pages) even more heavily than their own websites. It’s a trend in itself and will continue to grow over the next few years. Don’t launch an online business (or an offline business with a web presence) without adding social media to your marketing campaign. It’s guaranteed to make a huge difference.
Renard Smith of the The Fox Group