While Facebook, twitter and all other social media platforms are free, successfully using it as a marketing platform does bear a cost, both in finance and time. Using social networking as a marketing tool still requires all the same old techniques you needed for traditional marketing strategies plus a few new ones.
The key behind a good social media marketing campaign is networking. Not in a modern way where you attend meetings and swap business cards but in the old fashioned way of getting a buzz going, relying on word of mouth and recommendations from your customer to their friends and friends of friends. If you’re looking for a new camera online who do you trust, the company’s advertising telling you it’s the best camera ever available at a price that its competitors can’t even get near or user reviews and recommends from trusted independent product review magazines? You might still go for the same one but you’d be aware of its shortcomings.
So, while Social is a new media and tying it in with your traditional advertising strategies is a neat way to gather CRM data when your customers come visit you there’s nothing new in the concept of building up a relationship with loyal customers and consumers, just the method in which you now communicate with them. Keeping your customers happy and engaged is possibly more important than ever. People want to feel like they’re being listened to and it pays to do so, advertising to convert a new customer costs about 400% more than getting a previous customer to come back. These days that cost saving and the associated word of mouth you can generate while you’re doing it via social could be the deciding factor in deciding whether to promote your hottest property or no advertising at all.
When putting together an advertising campaign over the ‘old’ broadcast and printed media marketers would think about demographics including age, sex, location, income, education, today they just want a Facebook page and advertising which points the customer to the Facebook page. Once the customer logs on via Facebook the API which is used means that you can then gather data about your customers buying habits through their likes and recommendations. Effectively advertising to the universe and waiting for the target market to come to you isn’t a particularly effective model and flawed since Facebook has been proven to be slightly (and sometimes hugely) less efficient than other traditional forms of client outreach. Forrester, the technology analysis firm have found that Facebook produces lower lead generation and conversions than email marketing and paid search advertising; email usually accounts for 4% of conversions while Facebook can turn about 2% and clickthrough is even worse on Facebook than paid search, facebook tends to manage about 1% while search results turn a far better 11%
So, while social media is the glamorous new tool that just everyone needs to be on, the reality is that it should be an arm of your marketing and sales strategy, not the core of it. Use it to keep customers loyal but if you really want to chase the big money, keep doing what you know really works.