In our first article on developing a social media strategy, we discussed the weaknesses of television, print and radio advertising. While social media is still developing as a marketing strategy, marketers must get heavily involved now. By waiting, you are giving your competition the time needed to develop a strategy to attract your customers and develop a competitive advantage. Once this happens, you will have to spend more resources to win your customers back.
This article discusses how social media can be used to generate new customers and incremental business. In addition to providing predictive marketing analytical models, we also offer social media research and tools to help you develop a positive global reputation online. This includes web development, search optimization, website tranlation and localization services in over 30 languages.
Word of Mouth Recommendations
Through social media, companies can develop a powerful Word of mouth (WOM) marketing strategy. Regardless of the size of your company, there is a strong possibility that it has been discussed on social media web sites. So what do potential and existing customers think about your company and its products? Lets imagine that you service automobiles. A consumer doing a simple search on Google may not find recommendations from sources they personally know or trust. Instead, they will likely find reviews that may be sponsored and provide biased opinions. But if you perform a search on social networking sites, and you might find opinions from sources you know and respect.
Using Social Media as a Marketing Tool
Social media web research is an ideal way to learn more about your customers. By tracking online discussions, can easily find customers and potential customers to learn what they do online, find out their interests and determine the characteristics of other people that they converse with. Because research suggests that people are five times more likely to buy a product if their friends recommend it, friends of your customers are a great target market.
While you may not be able to get full details of your customer’s contacts from websites like Linkedin, FaceBook and MySpace, you can acquire valuable marketing insights. When you set up an account and ask to become friends with a customer, you will generally be accepted, if they have had pleasant experiences with your company. Through this connection, you have new opportunities to identify their friends and further strengthen your marketing efforts.
Be Genuine and Transparent
When building your social media strategy, avoid making unsolicited requests for friendships. Doing so can result in rejections, being banned from making future contacts and a negative reputation. Instead, concentrate your efforts on developing good content that you can send to friends. As more people value your posts, they will want to become your friend. Additionally, you might include open invitations on your website to join your friends network on myspace, facebook, Linkedin and other sites.
As a word of caution, always be transparent in your online communications. This is critical when building trust. Never try to disguise who you work for or make comments about your company or a competitor under a false identity. Too many times companies have tried this and have been humiliated and received bad pr.