Published on September 14th, 2012 | by Lena Martin1
New Age Marketing: Getting a Handle on Social Media
Through the years, social media has come to take on larger and more important roles in the success of businesses all over the world. From small local establishments to giant international companies, social media has great potential which is really only limited by the knowledge and skill of the persons using it. The problem is, compared to the entire history of marketing, social media is a young tool, and a lot of small business owners and even big time CEOs still do not understand how to apply social media to different situations and how to use to its full potential.
Here are some tips to help you get a handle of this marketing tool.
It’s about the data that you collect. Lois Geller, a branding professional who contributes to Forbes.com shares in her article Social Media Marketing: What’s the Point? that in one company she advises, nobody was “working to create real gold”. In this case, what she meant was a prospect and customer database. After all, the basic objective of all businesses is to “get and keep customers”, and you are not maximizing social media if you do not keep this in mind.
And if you think that big companies have this concept down pat, you’d be surprised. Geller took a look at the Twitter strategies of companies like 3M, Pepsi, Coke, and Budweiser and found out that even “the big dogs” don’t have a perfect social media strategy in place yet—with some exceptions like Ford.
The main point here is that it doesn’t stop with getting 600,000+ followers as Coke does or getting millions of “likes”. Take the opportunity to sort through the confusion and get to where your real prospects and customers are. e-Dialog shares:
“By using social media, companies give up absolute control of the message, opening themselves up to feedback and perhaps criticism. It follows naturally that putting the consumer in control of the interaction can be both unfamiliar and uncomfortable for many marketers and brands. However, for most companies, the value of the data they collect far outweighs the risks of deviating from traditional approaches to product marketing.”
It’s about what your brand says about the people you interact with. Jeff Haden, who writes for Inc.com, recently talked with Shama Kabani, the founder and CEO of The Marketing Zen Group about connections and reflections when it comes to social media in his article Basic Social Media Mistakes Everyone Makes. Kabani shares that most companies still focus on “getting them to connect with us” when businesses should focus on having their brands reflect what their customers see in their own selves. She gives an example of how a simple cupcake shop can get more likes than a big company because people can see in that shop something that portrays them as individuals. Kabani relates:
“For a business, what matters most is not what your brand says about you—it’s what your brand says about the people you want to interact with.”
Social media business is fragile and continues to evolve and change with each passing day. However, when you get right down to the core of it, you will see that it’s not all that hard to learn how to make full use of social media marketing. And when you can get a handle of social media in these times, you’d have yourself a powerful tool to success.