Social media is not just a marketing tool anymore. In this post, we’ll explore how to use social media as an effective marketing tool, as well as some of its other uses.
The primary goal of any marketing campaign is to increase brand awareness. Let me give you an example… I regularly go to my local coffee shop in a small little village called Samford in Brisbane. Samford is very much a one-street shopping strip, and you don’t get a lot of outside visitors. I love the Buzz Stop; they make an extraordinary coffee, and so I use a number of different social media platforms when I’m there to say, “I’m here. I’m having another great coffee.” I personally know of at least ten or fifteen people who have been to the Buzz Stop now because I have mentioned it so many times on social media. But, more importantly, people know about it. So, I’ve actually had people say to me, “Oh, Cat, the next time I’m in Samford, I’m going to check out the Buzz.” So, brand awareness, both from the Buzz actually giving me a place to post information on their Facebook, as well as just doing a good job, and so encouraging me to post – that’s a really good example of how small businesses can use social media for brand awareness.
I first started using social media to build my own personal profile as a consultant. My personal reputation and my brand is very important. I really got the power of social media when I set up my Twitter account about four or five years ago. I called my uncle about three months into my social media experiment (I hadn’t spoken to him for ages), and he said to me, “Cat, you have been up to some incredible stuff. It looks like you’re having a really good time.” I said, “Yeah, how do you know?” And he said, “Well, your Facebook page.” Then I remembered that I had set up my Twitter account to automatically feed Facebook, (which I now advocate against, by the way, because content should be platform-specific), and I said, “Oh…” And he said, “Cat, now I really understand what it is that you do. In fact, I’ve got some clients of my own that I think I need to point in your direction.” Your personal profile, that ability to connect with many people all at once just through a couple of quick posts – that’s extraordinarily powerful.
If you have a website, one of the key things that you want is traffic, and preferably qualified traffic, to your website. For instance, Black Milk Clothing is a brand that targets young women. I think they say their target market is up to about 28. They basically sell really funky leggings. Their only marketing has been social media, and it drives a ridiculous amount of traffic and sales to the Black Milk Clothing website. If you do a quick Google search on “Black Milk Clothing,” you’ll hear all sorts of success stories because they’ve been highly profiled. They have 224,000 fans now on their Facebook page for no other reason than how they harness social media.
Driving Customer Behaviour and Sales
Driving customer behaviour is really closely linked to driving traffic. What do we want our target market to do? We actually want them to buy. So, one of the things that we see now more and more is social media being used to build relationships and then encouraging people to buy, or comment on blog content, or share a link.
Social media is social; it’s not necessarily a straight sales tool, but if we are smart in how we post — if we are clear on why we are using social media networks — social media can be extraordinarily powerful at driving customer behaviour.
I can’t remember the last time we recruited through traditional networks. All of our recruitment gets done through social media, where we basically ask our network to refer people to us that would be a good cultural fit and a good skill fit. I’m seeing that more and more, and even if you are using a traditional platform, your traditional platform is now more like LinkedIn, rather than advertising in the newspaper for particular positions.
Recently, Target apparently started selling a range of young girls’ clothing that caused one Facebook user to comment, “I think this is highly inappropriate and makes young girls look trampy.” And a whole lot of people got on board with the comment. Target, being a relatively smart business, responded to the market sentiment and said, “Whoops, we didn’t realise. That was a misjudgment on our part.” It was a great demonstration of judging market sentiment.
I will always ask for recommendations from my social media networks rather than go through the yellow pages or do a blind Google search. This can be anything from a business perspective right down to a personal perspective. It’s all about word-of-mouth referral. Now you can put that out to a much wider network and say, “Hey, I need a new accountant, who do you recommend? Who can you recommend who’s on this side of town who does really good work in tax?”
It’s well documented that social media networks are actually the first on the scene these days with news, and that’s largely because people are posting as it happens, rather than having to wait for verified media sources and outlets to post. What does this mean for business? Well, it depends. It depends on what your business is, and it depends on whether you can harness that particular news. I certainly use the news feeds in my various social networks for content purposes, as in to distribute content out to my network to demonstrate that I’m on top of things around social media marketing.
The networking that I do on social media is profound and is potent. About six years ago, I used to go to a different networking function at least once a week. I would exchange a whole lot of business cards. I’d be really enthusiastic about catching up with all of the people that I had met, because they’re all really interesting, but, gee, there are only so many hours in a week for coffee and catch-ups. Now I use social media for catch-ups (and drink coffee whenever I want). Social media is an extraordinarily powerful tool for business networking. If you do nothing else, I would highly recommend networking as an objective in your social media strategy. In conclusion, you have to ask yourself: “What are my business objectives?” Then you can develop a strategy about how to use social media to support those objectives. The Social Media Crash Course, presented by Cat Matson and Suzi Dafnis is BACK. Register now to learn practical ways to use social media in your business.