With the viral advent of social media into the business and marketing worlds, many companies are asking, “Is social media marketing something my business needs to use?” A recent blog post on Hay There Social Media, a social media consulting business, provides insight on why social media is effective for both businesses and individuals.
Team Member Deanna Rose uses DSW (Designer Shoe Warehouse) Rewards as an example of how large businesses are attracting more customers – and potential customers – to their products and services by reaching out on social media. “Every Tuesday, DSW gives away 25 free pairs of shoes to their loyal Facebook followers. The requirements for this ‘Free Shoesday’ giveaway? Entrants must like the DSW Facebook page, be a DSW Rewards member (which is free to join), and be one of the first 25 people to email the correct answer to a random question posed on the DSW Facebook page at noon. That’s it.” The results speak for themselves, as DSW attributes much of its success in a down economy to customer loyalty and the DSW Rewards program.
But this isn’t a benefit only limited to major retailers. Rose writes that, “regardless of the size of business you have, if you’re not actively participating in social media, then you’re not hanging out with your customers as much as you can.” This leads to countless missed opportunities for businesses to connect with their current customers and to prospect new ones because, Rose continues, “your customers want to hang out with you. It’s the cool – and smart – thing to do.”
Rose then provides specific reasons for why social media works for businesses and their customers:
WHY SOCIAL MEDIA WORKS (FOR THE INDIVIDUAL):
It’s easy – and instant. People check up on their friends and happen to see that you’re unveiling a new product, having a sale or sharing a photo. Or maybe you’re having some sort of contest or posing an interesting question. Which brings us to the next point:
It’s fun. The thrill of hanging out where everyone has the same chance to engage and provide feedback is enjoyable, and being the first to see a special news is exciting. And it keeps the customer around. Why? Because:
It’s personal. To be interactive directly with a brand makes customers feel like they matter, that their opinion – and their dollar – counts. It builds a bond.
WHY SOCIAL MEDIA WORKS (FOR THE BUSINESS):
It’s direct. Really, how much more direct marketing can you get – to have potential customers voluntarily sign up to receive all the info you want to give them? Yes, please!
It keeps customers participating. Current and potential customers “like” the page for an initial contest or promo and then keep their eye out for your company’s updates of new offerings, sales and anything else your company posts about. When you keep them actively seeking you out, that means they’re thinking of you. Which means:
It gets customers talking – about you. They’re talking about your company to their family and friends, who will likely go follow your social media profiles. And when customers talk about you, they usually buy from you, too.
Rose concludes that “if you’re not promoting your business via social media, then you’re not getting as much exposure as you can. When your company is engaging on social media platforms, everyone is making sure that they are connected to you. They’re reading your post updates and thinking of you… a lot.”
If you’re just getting started in the social media marketing world, take a look at the Twitter or Facebook sites for major businesses – both locally and nationally. What trends do you notice? What seems to work best? How can you apply these practices as you launch your own marketing efforts through various social media platforms?