At Priority Marketing, we implement social media programs for a variety of clients, which are customized to their individual needs to reach the appropriate audiences. Usually, we provide an integrated program, utilizing a variety of social media outlets including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube and blogs. Here’s an overview of each of these social media outlets and how we use them.
Facebook is a personal networking site where individuals exchange e-mails and share their thoughts, news, photos and video, links and more with a network of “friends.” Facebook now features business pages that users can “like” and keep in touch with just as they would an old college roommate or out-of-state relative. These business pages are a great way to engage customers and develop a more personal image for a company. Typically, Facebook pages have a more conversational style than a static company website, and because content is so easily uploaded, businesses have the opportunity to change the page instantaneously. Just like any Facebook user, businesses can add status updates, photos and videos and links. New updates appear in their fans’ news feed, and when a fan “likes” or comments on content, it may also be seen in their friends’ news feeds. Companies often use status updates to promote products, community involvement and other news to their fan base. Fans can usually also post comments and sometimes photos on the business page’s wall. Typically these posts consist of questions about products or feedback and accolades. Facebook now also has e-commerce capabilities, where fans can make a purchase on the business page, without going to the company website. However, one big benefit of Facebook is that businesses can put their messages in front of customers with links to the company website for an instant call to action – “Click here to purchase now.” Last but not least, advertising on Facebook can be very cost effective resulting in a high yield of impressions.
Twitter is a micro-blogging program that provides users with the ability to “follow” other users. Content by the users you choose follow appears on your wall. Unlike Facebook, Twitter has a 140 character limit and doesn’t allow photos and video to be posted directly on the user’s profile, but instead links are used to share content on other websites, like TwitPic to share photos. In addition to reaching customers with quick updates and reminders, Twitter is a great resource for reaching the media. While it doesn’t replace other methods of communication with the media, Twitter provides a new way for media to monitor story opportunities. We post all news releases, via links to our blog, on Twitter and frequently see a response that way. Twitter also keeps us “posted” on what stories or hot topics that journalists may be working on to help us pitch sources to them.
LinkedIn started out functioning like an online resume, but this social media site has evolved to work more like a Facebook page for professionals. There aren’t business pages like there are with Facebook so it’s more for promoting an individual’s expertise and building and maintaining relationships for that person. There are benefits to their business, but the account ultimately represents and belongs to the individual professional or company leader. However, having your team well represented and “endorsed” on LinkedIn can help you receive business referrals from your connections.
YouTube brings video into play. Videos are uploaded to the YouTube website, and visitors to the site can view them and comment. Visitors can also share the link to the video through e-mail, social media sites and word of mouth. Much of the content on YouTube is purely for entertainment, but many companies and products have successfully gained exposure through YouTube by placing television ads and other videos with mass appeal on the site. When a certain number of people have viewed a video, it is considered “viral.” However, just as a person can share family videos with loved ones on YouTube, it is a useful tool for a small company to share video with a small audience, with no intention of “going viral.” Businesses can benefit from YouTube’s popularity and use as a search engine by many consumers by adding commercials or how-to videos to the site and including a link to the company website when the video is published.
Blogs are another social media tool that we’ve found to be successful. A blog is a webpage, often hosted on a blog site that is easily updated through content management software. Compared to other social media outlets, blogs allow their users to go into greater depth on a subject, creating an online magazine of sorts. Users can comment on blog articles and share them as well. Often, companies can drive readers to their blog with a teaser posted on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter. Blogs allow companies to showcase their expertise in a timely, engaging method and drive traffic back to the company website.
The value of social media lies in its ability to engage audiences in a new, more personal way with two-way communication. Social media can be very cost effective, and there is opportunity to expand a company’s audience. Audiences build upon themselves. Someone who never heard of a company or product can see a comment about it on a friends’ wall, and it only takes one click for them to become engaged as well. A strong social media program can build a very large fan base very quickly and reach them with a frequency that isn’t often achieved as cost effectively with traditional methods like advertising and direct mail. It’s a great complement to a well-rounded integrated marketing program.
For more ideas about how your company can benefit from social media marketing, please contact us at 239-267-2638 or visit our website.