June 13, 2011
There are many arguments that attempt to persuade business owners that social media is free. For example, they say that email marketing is as easy as constructing an attention-grabbing letter and hitting the send key. Social Media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn utilize systems of reference in their communication. All of these serve the same purpose, in that they seek to plunge into the pool of some 700 million people and find those within the deluge who are interested in what they have to sell. Either that or they are required to show people why their product or service is important. All of this has an opportunity cost. Notice the last word?
Blindly sending an email, Facebook invite, or tweet is like posting an ad on a billboard. This, essentially, can be useful only if your target customer happens to drive by. In the meantime there are thousands of people passing by every day who could care less. If you are hoping for low percentages then this situation should seem to be the correct way to advertise. If you are tired of the low percentages – or a zero percentage – below are some tips on how to garner higher rates of return.
The Marketing Maven: the person who is “in-the-know”
a. There are those within your social media networks who specialize in particular topics. Whether it is art, movies, or books, there is someone in particular who you trust over the random ad. Find them. Promote your product or service to them directly and allow their endorsement to work as a reference.
b. Spam guards are awesome these days. Do not, therefore, assume an email blast will supply the needed customers or reach your target. Work with a firm that specializes in a targeted pool of recipients. Cost too much money? Weigh the opportunity cost of forming an email and the projected response rate. Long-term, this will translate into a sum much higher than the fee charged by the company.
c. Twitter exists as a melting pot for all other forms of social media, whether that is Facebook, the popular news story, or just another tweet that a person would like to share. The important focus of any serious Twitter user is to target those who are aggressive and will share your information. A business service or announcement is a perfect match with Twitter. Those you have targeted as marketing mavens will spread the message through Twitter feeds and other avenues.
Processes for using these properly are relative to which one is utilized first.
Targeted Email Marketing Campaign
o Formatted properly to convey the purpose of email within the first three sentences.
o Link to Twitter account
o Link to Facebook account
o Link to website
o Customer “Likes”
o Goes to website
o Signs up for Twitter notification
o Possible link for Email Marketing Campaign
o Customer “Follows”
o Updates lead to customer finding on Facebook or going directly to Website
Through all of these processes, the customer will move closer to awareness. They will develop a sense of expectation based on this, and proceed to a trial of the service. Their belief and attitude generated during the expectation period will either be reinforced during the trial phase, or rejected. If both are reinforced, then the customer will automatically become loyal to the brand, making them into a minor maven. This multilayer, multi-pulse approach will ensure the customer is exposed to the message, which in turn will create a sense of recognition. This recognition will translate into a word-of-mouth, viral promotion.
There is no such thing as a free lunch. Using the systems that are “free” properly will eliminate the opportunity costs associated with each service. In the end, using these avenues properly will benefit a business owner’s bottom line.
Joseph Baker’s business experience in management spans more than 15 years. A leader of development and management teams, he also implemented budget reductions professionally and as an independent contractor. Joseph led strategic planning and systems of implementation for nine organizations, public and private, and worked extensively with small businesses.
He holds a Bachelor of Science in Marketing from Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business, and an MBA from Kellogg School of Management.