Last month in my editor’s note I wrote about the importance of social networking and how Facebook and Twitter have been branded as the marketing platforms of the next decade. This is something which many companies still fight against, yet these tools will become an integral part of our daily operations.
With this in mind I was thrilled when I received John Stanley’s next article! The following was written by John as he looks at social networking in a little more detail.
The fastest growth ever seen in communications is the development of social media communications. If five years ago I’d mentioned MySpace, Facebook or YouTube I would have had queried looks from every reader of this article. Today, they are mainstream communication tools in the community. Communication is changing rapidly and as businesses we need to run rapidly just to keep up.
Over the last few months I have been fully aware that social media is a huge marketing opportunity and the way of the future. I needed to understand it and how to adapt it to business. Erik Qualman and his book Socialnomics – How Social Media Transforms the Way We Live and Do Business (John Wiley & Son Inc.,) has been a great help to me in understanding how a business can benefit from social media.
One social media tool that fascinates me is Twitter. Can a 140 character ‘tweet’ be used as a marketing tool for a business to grow sales?
Twitter, and its equivalents, have become a major communications tool and therefore there must be an opportunity to incorporate these opportunities in your marketing portfolio, especially if you plan to grow your business by attracting younger generations.
When you communicate on Twitter, you are said to ‘tweet’. A lot of the tweets are, in my opinion, a waste of time. I don’t have the inclination or the time to follow the tweets of people who put on Twitter that they have just arrived at the shops, caught a plane or feel tired. Having said that, I do not feel any business should be ignoring Twitter – I believe they should be experimenting with it to see if it can be a marketing tool for them.
The opportunities as I see them lie in the real-time updates which we can provide our customers. Micro blogs give you an opportunity to communicate real-time events that can be for now and instant. For example:
* Special offer today only – 20% off furniture.
* X Arrived today, buy today at 20% off before we put them on the shelf tonight.
* X Seen on TV last night. We only have five in stock, come before we sell out.
An instant, real-time promotion can provide new windows of opportunities to grow sales.
Leaders to your webpage
Micro blogs can be used to drive traffic to your webpage. I use this in my business and I’m finding that I am building a number of followers who are interested in up-to-date information. You can also follow what consumers are saying about your business. Once you have received this information you can respond instantly.
It’s not a replacement
Micro blogging is another marketing tool. Advertising in magazines and newspapers still has a role, but it is declining in popularity. We still need to use the traditional methods and at the same time learn how to use these new methods of communicating. Remember:
A large part of the population are already micro blogging – your business can leverage off this.
Micro blog to your loyal customers and they will spread your message via their social media network sites.
Don’t over invest. Micro blogging is just another tool – experiment with it, but don’t over invest in it.
Be focused. Use it for specific marketing campaigns and test the results.
Jump now. Don’t leave it, test micro blogging now before your competitors get a marketing edge.
In Erik Qualman’s book on Socialnomics he has a great quote, “It’s better to live a social media life making mistakes than living a social media life doing nothing.” In other words, jump in, make mistakes and see if it works for your business.
There are coffee shops receiving orders for coffee from micro bloggers, there are ‘pop up’ food retailers advising consumers as they come into a specific catchment area via micro blogs. As retailers, if we tweet there may be opportunities that we won’t know about until we start.
John Stanley (CSP) is one of the top 10% of speakers in the world today, an acclaimed retail consultant and WA Small Business Champion Entrepreneur of the Year 2009. The author of several marketing, customer service and retail books including the best seller “Just About Everything a Retail Manager Needs to Know”, his company is WA Small Business Champion of the Year 2009 – Educational Services For more information, visit www.johnstanley.com.au or firstname.lastname@example.org