Once upon a time, advertising was simple: You caught the public’s attention with a campaign, and once consumers knew about your product they went out and bought it. But, as Forbes recently pointed out, that model is now broken – and it’s the Internet’s fault.
Today, when consumers see your marketing campaign on TV, in a magazine or online, they don’t head to the department store – they Google your brand. And as Forbes noted, letting them merely research you without securing a purchase isn’t good enough.
Today, a successful brand doesn’t just encourage consumers to make purchases, it engages them and makes them part of the brand image itself. One aspect of this is social media.
Beyond Facebook and Twitter
In this day and age, everyone knows what social media is. From message board communities to Facebook and whatever the most recent digital trend is, everyone and everything is connected. Every article, video or piece of music you encounter online can be shared with all your “friends” in a single click. But knowing social media on the surface isn’t enough to begin a promotional campaign.
The usual suspects – Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest – are going to be your tools of the trade. But you’ll want to know the dos and don’ts of marketing on these platforms. Consider these basics:
Don’t buy followers
Essentially, some social media platforms allow you to purchase followers at a flat rate, so that it appears as though you’ve generated more interest than you actually have. For a company just starting out with only a few hundred followers on Twitter or “Likes” on Facebook, shelling out a little bit of cash for more “presence” can be tempting, but Inc.com advises against it.
The news source spoke with Chris Paradysz, the founder and CEO of PM Digital, a digital marketing agency in New York City. He said that it’s just not worth the money or problems.
“Having that type of follower count only really matters if my last name is Kardashian,” he said. “For a small business, cash is everything.”
Facebook is great for promotional product giveaways and sweepstakes
Got coupons or custom-designed T-shirts repping your brand to give away? Inc.com reported that Facebook is probably the ideal platform for you. With its easy-to-access company pages and focus on large images, Facebook is great for companies promoting through contests, sweepstakes and other mass appeal giveaway campaigns.
Inc.com told the story of two very different companies who used Facebook’s DIY interface to build buzz on the cheap. In one case, the company was working to gather consumer email addresses for marketing purposes. In the other, the company was giving away free promotional items to drum up interest in the product itself. Both were outstanding successes in a large part thanks to Facebook’s massive reach.
Two tips for effective contest campaigns on Facebook from Inc.com:
1. Don’t settle for “Likes.” Get people more involved when it comes to promotions. Make them offer you something in return, even if it’s just an email address.
2. Think new. Sweepstakes are a dime a dozen, so do something fresh and new with yours. Blake Cahill, president of Banyan Branch, a Seattle-based social-media firm, suggested getting user-generated media, like photos and videos, involved as well. As he put it, 100,000 super-engaged fans is better than a million casual ones.
The next stages in social media marketing are called advanced strategies. According to Mashable, these basically reinforce marketing messages by actually getting consumers to your business site.
The five advanced strategies outlined by Mashable break down like this:
1. Use more multimedia. This means photos, video and games. Don’t be afraid to offer looks inside the company either – anything that could make your brand more friendly. If consumers want more detailed product information and images, encourage them to come to your site.
2. Advertise your online presence offline. Include your Facebook address or Twitter handle in TV, print and every other kind of advertising platform open to you.
3. Customize your message to the platform. Sure, Twitter and Facebook are both social media, but if you can tweak your message to better fit the platform, you’re showing that you’re savvy and clever.
4. Get locally involved, online. Local social networks and searches – beyond Yelp – can be a great way to drum up business in your own neighborhood.
5. Make your contests viral. Look beyond the usual social media giveaway and find some creative ways to build buzz virally. One great way is by encouraging more sharing and retweeting.