A couple of days ago I attended an online webinar sponsored by a company called Spredfast. There were two presenters: Jim Rudden and Jordan Viator and they gave great advice that companies can use to reach potential customers via social media platforms. If you’ve seen my tweets with the hashtag #AMASpredfast it’s because we continued the conversation on Twitter after the hour-long webinar ended.
Social media has grown so fast now that companies cannot just throw social media in their strategic planning as icing on the cake. Social media itself requires strategic planning. According to Forrester Research Inc. 48% of interactive marketers plan to increase social media spending in 2011. Social media has now emerged into almost a neccessity to reach out different markets. EVERYONE is leaning more towards social media. It’s not just Facebook and Twitter either. There are so many social media platforms out there catered to specific groups. The website http://www.getreeled.com is a social media site for people who love fishing!
Ok back to the main topic. Spredfast provided 6 objectives companies can follow in order to achieve success in marketing through social media.
Objective 1-Building Brand Awareness
When attending the webinar, attendees took a poll and about 40% of us use social media as a main reason to increase brand awareness. Social media has proven to reach more people, different audiences that companies could not reach otherwise by using standard marketing techniques. Companies can deliver messages to these audiences and can drive traffic to other corporate channels. It is also a good idea to provide details about your company. People follow brands on social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter to learn more about the company culture, news, employees, and products/services. It’s important to be SOCIALABLE on social media! Something for B2B companies to pay attention to is something called Thought Leadership. This is basically promoting content, illustrating your expertise and area of knowledge. Don’t be afraid to share tips, industry trends, pictures, and links on Facebook and Twitter that will provide detailed information. This will give your company some creditability.
Objective 2-Making Customer Service Personal
Finding AND retaining customers is very important! Customers appreciate quality such as immediate responses. Twitter can be a great platform for doing this. It’s important to make the interaction experience personal with actual responses from your team. It’s also important to share real-time updates with your customers. Keep them informed on new topics such as new product info. This is called Customer-Centric Announcements.
Objective 3-Event Marketing
Social media is a good outlet to promote events sponsored by your company. I can tell you how many parties I was invited to through Facebook and Twitter. Social media can provide real-time data so if a last-minute change happens, you can let your attendees know of that change so they can be aware of any updates. A greatway to stir up buzz and attendance on Twitter, for instance, is by using the hashtag symbol followed by the name of your event. This will get attendees to trend your event and promote it to their followers, getting them to notice it. Share content from your event. Use it as opportunities to generate Thought Leadership and connect with your community members who weren’t present at the event.
Objective 4-Product Launches
Social media is a great way to announce new products from your company or new product updates. It’s an affordable channel to reach huge, active audiences and it builds excitement by seeding the network with information and offering exclusive deals. Your company can grow adoption opportunites by reaching a large, interactive audience at the time of the product launch. This is great because it will give customers a chance to learn about the product before it hit stores or before it’s offered. Provide product demonstrations. Don’t just tell people about the product, SHOW THEM! Contests will also increase opportunities for engagement and participation around product launches with interactive activities. For example, you can get them to Like your company’s Facebook page or follow them on Twitter, tweet photos of previous products to be entered into a contest, or retweet something.
Objective 5-Building Sales Pipeline
Your prospective clients/customers are spending their time on social media. You can effectively drive traffic from those social media sites to your company’s website, afterall, your company’s website is where the magic happens. Lead people here to learn about products and services, to make a purchase, or to convert them into a potential lead. You can use social media to show people why others like you and give them a link to send to your website and show them why they should care.
Objective 6-Community Activation
Engage with the people in your company’s community. Interactivity naturally drives action. It will provide a closer connection between your brand and the community. Pass along rate increases and provides potential for exponential growth of activity. Your company can also provide incentive-based rewards to potential customers. Take Foursquare for instance. You can create a custom badge for when a customer checks into your store or place to obtain the badge. You can also provide pre-packaged content. Send out an email to your customers with sample tweets about your company for them to tweet. Post articles, make it easier for people to share content.
From this webinar, I’ve learned that it is vital to not only gain the awareness from potential customers, but to get them involved so they will remember your brand. Below is the powerpoint slide to the webinar: