What exactly does your company’s advertising plan consist of? Do you send out monthly newsletters? Do you have your own TV commercial or radio station ad? Perhaps you have a billboard, sign, or bus advertisement. A company can (and should) advertise across a vast variety of mediums.
However, in the past few years, online advertising and marketing has become increasingly popular. Social media platforms appeal to companies as cheap, relatively time effective methods of marketing. Many companies are well aware of the potential number of customers or clients that are using a social media platform on a daily basis.
In fact, Facebook’s statistics confirm that there are currently more than 500 million active users with over 700 billion minutes being spent each month on the site. It is no surprise that more than one million developers and entrepreneurs from 180 countries hold active accounts on Facebook.
Twitter, although significantly lower than Facebook, now has 145 million registered users. Since April of 2009, they have seen a 62% increase in users. As more and more people become aware of its powerful presence, those numbers are guaranteed to increase.
The statistics don’t lie. People (and a lot of them) are spending a great deal of time each day on Facebook and Twitter. Hence, the obvious reason why companies are integrating social media advertising into their marketing plans.
Perhaps one of the main reasons companies love to use Facebook and Twitter is the fact that it is free. Well, creating an account is free. It is not entirely correct to say that this marketing method is “free.” In reality, you must consider the costs associated with an employee spending time managing a social media page.
While many companies may have good intentions of actually designating the time and an employee for social media management, many tend to slowly decrease their updates and tweets. If you are not updating your page every month or more realistically, every day, this marketing method becomes very ineffective. Fans or potential customers expect an active participation. Perhaps the key to social media marketing success is frequent interaction. Designate one employee to handle regular updates. If you cannot spare an employee’s time, it may be beneficial to hire an outside consultant that is experienced in social media applications.
Does this mean you should completely desert all of your traditional methods and replace them solely with social media platforms? Not necessarily. In fact, the most effective marketing method may be to integrate and intermingle traditional methods with the increasingly popular social media.
Speaking from personal experience, I am most likely to become a fan or follower of a company in order to stay up to date with their current products, services or sales, and, ultimately, to receive exclusive discounts or coupons. If you currently have a traditional newsletter or flyer, consider offering exclusive, early peeks at it to your online fans. Rather than relying solely on the social media, integrate it with your traditional approaches.
Another added benefit of social media is instant feedback. Customers and clients can leave comments and remarks instantaneously on your account. In return, you can also provide instantaneous responses. Social media allows for more personal communications with your customers in a casual, “on their terms” way.
With astonishing statistics proving the incomprehensible amount of users participating on Facebook and Twitter, your company would be foolish not to integrate social media advertising into their marketing plans. Nearly every commercial or ad you see instructs viewers to “follow us” on a Facebook or Twitter page.
When a person “likes” you, this will appear on their wall for all of their friends and contacts to see. Imagine the exposure you could gain. Consider Coca-Cola with nearly 15 million Facebook fans. They offer regular updates and even offer prompt responses to wall posts and questions. However, recently, Starbucks has become the most popular corporate brand on Facebook with nearly 16 million fans. They offer sneak peaks into upcoming flavors or events and, occasionally, coupons.
Corporate businesses are not the only ones taking advantage of Facebook’s powers. Lady Gaga has an astonishing 21 million fans. Politicians have even pondered whether Facebook will have an impact on election day. In fact, President Obama has over 15 million “likes.” (Don’t take these numbers as an exact science. Starbucks added over 200,000 fans in one week by simply offering a free pastry last year.)
It is obvious that Facebook and Twitter are both powerful forces that could in fact, earn your company additional attention. If you haven’t already done so, take the time and create an account. Advertise it through your traditional methods (e.g. “Follow Us on Facebook” stamped right on your business cards). And most importantly, designate an employee or an outside consultant to effectively manage the account.
About Sozo Firm
Sozo Firm helps startup companies, small to mid-sized businesses & nonprofit organizations thrive through developing and implementing business optimization strategies. Our efficiency consulting addresses business processes, customer service, employees, marketing, public relations, and communication. Our internet strategy consulting addresses website usability, reputation management, social media, and internet marketing. Contact our senior consultant, Andrew Jensen, at 800.460.SOZO to learn how we can serve you.