When starting a social media campaign, marketers need to first understand and focus on what they want their social media efforts to accomplish. From purely a marketing perspective, social media really has two important components: the potential for Increased revenue and brand protection/elevation. There is a whole other customer service and customer engagement side that I wont even begin to tackle, but understand that is another benefit as well.
- From a revenue/sales perspective, social media marketing is best for the hard to reach prospects and “whales;” and by whales I mean the customer that would be a home run for your business if you can bring them on board (due to the large amount of revenue that that customer could bring). Social media is not necessarily good for bringing in large numbers of clients at once, unless of course you are connected to a social community that enables you wide-scale access to its members.
- Social media can allow you “backdoor access” to prospects that you might not have had in the past; here’s how:
- It allows you to uncover many different people that work for the company that you would not otherwise have known about—this can be accomplished through searches in LinkedIn and to a lesser extent Facebook and Twitter.
- It allows to follow what is going on from a company attrition perspective (again through LinkedIn).
- It allows you follow key executives from a company, which in turn allows you to become visible to that executive (assuming of course that the executive in question is actually doing the Tweeting him/herself and that it isn’t been done by another employee).
- It allows you to monitor what your prospects are saying about themselves and what other people are saying about your prospects. This can enable you to “hit” your prospect with the right message at just the right time (mostly through Twitter, but also through Facebook, LinkedIn and YouTube). Oh, and don’t forget traditional media and e-mail marketing!
- From the brand protection/elevation perspective, social media allows you to do four key things:
- Position a new brand in the market or reposition a mature brand
- Improve your customer service levels by identifying unreported (i.e., no calls or e-mails to your service center) customer service issues and problems
- Know immediately when your brand is under attack (if you are actively listening)
- Mitigate the impact a bad news story can have on you brand.
Here’s how you can monitor and position your brand:
- Through free sites such as HootSuite and paid (more sophisticated social media platforms such as the one provided by Radian6), you can systematically and easily monitor mention of your company’s name on all the key social media sites. It can also give you insights on your competition and about your industry in general.
- Through twitter and YouTube, you can provide your company’s “side” of the controversy that is plaguing it almost instanteously. No longer do we have to wait for the media to come to us to report the story. We can proactively tell the world what we believe to be the facts of the story.
So in my book, social media provides marketers with many marketing and sales benefits. The key is to understand what you want your social media campaign to do before you jump in. So, in essence, have a plan—just like you would do for your traditional marketing efforts.