The following is a guest blog post from Kayla Allen, who offers insight on integrating social media into an online marketing plan.
Business owners who are considering online marketing should integrate a strong social media campaign into their marketing plan. Social media can enhance the benefits of a solid online marketing plan and help build brand awareness. In addition, a good social media campaign can help a business develop a solid email list of customers and potential customers. When used properly, these lists can be utilized with email marketing software for greater customer interaction.
Encourages Thinking Outside the Box
Too often, people think about social media and the only thing that comes to mind is Twitter or Facebook. There is so much more to social media than these two sites. Other social sites that can help a business include:
- Pinterest – This platform is ideal for companies who have a physical product to promote as they offer “pinboards” where images with links can be posted
- Instagram – Visual and/or experiential brands can have great success using this popular social media platform
There are other social media platforms where you can collect information, secure subscribers for your newsletter or blog, and develop an email list for mass email promotions.
Makes Information Sharing Easier
Whether a business shares information from their own blog or shares special deals via social media sites, information sharing is far easier than in days past. Rather than depending on bulk mailing post cards, newsletters or other communications, businesses can now use software to target their audience.
Easier to Communicate Urgency
For a company who wants to run a “special deal,” such as buy one or get one, or they have a discount offered for a limited time, it is easier to announce it through social media than to deal with waiting for print advertising to reach their customer base. This also allows a company to decide on a last minute deal without worrying about not reaching their base. A mass email to their mailing list means instant notifications.
An innovative, and maverick, way of supporting local business and getting some major deals on virtually everything out in the open is a daily deal. Companies like Groupon and Living Social are sending out emails to consumers who sign up to get discounts on everything from spa days to pizza, from movie tickets to beach vacations. These options provide “Now” deals that end within the same day, whereas featured deals give buyers a few days to make their purchase.
Easier to Provide Customer Service
Social media has had a serious impact on customer service. There are both positive and negative sides to this that must be considered when launching a social media campaign. Customers who post a complaint on social media that winds up unanswered can have a negative impact on the credibility of a business. The good news is that positive feedback can spread just as quickly.
Some companies, however, are not so savvy about responding to customer needs via social media. Brandwatch analyzed 40 leading companies’ online presence and found that some popular brands didn’t fare so well in their social media responses. Retail company John Lewis got top marks for quick responses via Twitter and Facebook to complaints. Companies with a highly integrated social media presence are continuing to grow a positive following as they evolve with how consumers connect.
Encourages Humanization of Business
Are you wondering how humanizing a business helps with marketing? Stop and think about how people do business. Many businesses still operate on a “face-to-face” basis. While there is little doubt that the Internet has depersonalized some interaction, social media may help encourage more one-on-one conversations.
Whether your company decides to engage your customers and potential customers via the well-known social sites like Facebook or Twitter or you elect for electronic newsletters delivered by mass email, chances are that you will find that your overall online marketing campaign will be stronger for these efforts. Which approaches has your company taken towards more social media interaction?