When they launched Facebook in 2004, Mark Zuckerberg and his friends had in mind a modest college information network. Today, with 800 million members, Facebook is by far the most popular and most widely used social network in the world. It has not only changed the way we communicate with each other, but it has changed for ever the way the world does business.
The power of networking
Companies always used networking as a crucial part of any marketing campaign, if they wanted to have any chance of success. Less than a decade ago, networking meant meetings, business lunches, shaking hands or exchanging business cards. Contemporary business managers do not have business cards, they have Tweets. Instead of shaking hands, they exchange their Facebook profiles. And if you had your company setup a facebook page, you might as well spend time to get likes in facebook.
The biggest change Facebook and other social media brought is the change in the way businesses interact, with each other and with their clients. Social media provides opportunities for small businesses for inexpensive expansion and growth on the international scale that was not imagined before, by using the power of their immense networks for social media marketing.
Before the advent of social media marketing, any strategy for successful marketing was expensive and challenging, particularly for small businesses. LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and other social media networks opened new doors for businesses and allowed them exposure they could not have dreamed of even ten years ago. And exposure means bigger sales and better profits. What is most significant is that all these benefits are attainable even to the smallest businesses. They can expect their products and services to reach the world with very little expense and almost overnight.
Not such a long time ago, businesses needed decades to develop a customer base, build their clients’ loyalty and achieve brand recognition. Social networks allow you to do all that almost instantly. By developing exciting content to present your products and services in an engaging and interactive way, you can use social media to reach customers at all four corners of the world instantly. You can convince your customers not only to choose your product over others, but to share their experience with others in their network, always expanding your customers’ base.
What is a Media Marketing Campaign?
The key to a successful media marketing campaign using social networking is in understanding its true power: engagement. Engagement and participation with customers makes this whole process constantly active and vital. Open dialogue with clients or potential clients who use social networks to express their ideas and opinions offers you the opportunity to actively market your business at all times. Sitting on the sidelines and enjoying the well-organized marketing campaign is not enough. Creating a profile on any number of social media networks, regardless how attractive it is, is also not enough. You have to be there.
Social media marketing, also called social media optimization (SMO), offers you also the opportunity to learn about what your clients want, like or dislike. It also shows you what your competitors are doing, what their strengths are and what weaknesses they have that you can exploit.
Social media marketing allows you an excellent control over your brand recognition and provides you with an opportunity to find the gaps in your customers’ base and to target markets you have not reached yet. Once satisfied, your loyal customers become your best promoters, by sharing your business profile with everyone on their network.
Five Key Benefits Of Media Marketing
1. Instant exposure means increased sales
The real power of social media marketing is in its ability to reach thousands and even millions of customers and potential customers in an instant. But, to be able to use that power, you need to be an active and savvy social marketer. For example, if you have accumulated 50,000 ‘friends’ on Facebook, any message about your products or services you place on Facebook will instantly reach all your 50,000 ‘friends.’ Your ‘friends’ will then show their interest by sharing your message with their ‘friends’, will show their ‘likes’ or send Tweets about your message or about your product, or will place comments about it.
All and any of these activities build up into a significant buzz about your product. You could not have possible achieved that in any other way, even if you had funds to pay for expensive ads in the world most famous magazines. And the more people you reach, the more buzz you create, the better sales and higher profits you can expect. One little tip to enhance your social credibility online is to buy guaranteed facebook fans. It is the easiest and fastest route without launching any campaign.
2. Better ranking at search engines
You can have the most beautiful website and the highest quality products, it will be all for nothing if the customers cannot find you. How you rate at search engines like Google will make the difference between potential clients choosing your product over your competitors’. You know from your own experience that people, when searching for a product online, look for the highest ranked product and almost nobody goes beyond the first page. The more links you have, the higher you will rate with search engines. Everything helps: your Facebook profile and page, your company blog, your Twitter account. Whatever provides backlinks to your company website pushes you higher with the search engines. The higher you are ranked, the more traffic your website will have and the more sales you will experience.
3. It saves marketing costs
Successful marketing campaigns are always expensive. You have to pay for the best designers, most popular magazine, TV adds or high tech billboards to gain exposure you want. With social media marketing, you can achieve much more exposure for the fraction of the cost. Your Facebook page is free and developing it does not require any technical knowledge. Once your profile is up, it is up to you to add as many “friends’ as you can, whether allowing your ‘friends’ or clients’ base to grow organically or purchasing names on the market. Even the most modest Facebook page will provide you with an unprecedented exposure and results you could only dream of.
4. Provides you with an Instant client base
All businesses, particularly small ones, depend on a substantial client base or core supporters, clients who need your products and will opt for your products over your competitors’. Accurate and up-to-date information about your business and your products through regular posts on your Facebook page, on your blog or Twitter will ensure a loyal core of supporters that will grow organically by spreading to their own networks.
The true power of regular updates on your Facebook page or other social media is that it feels personal. You are providing useful and latest information to your clients, your ‘friends’. For them it feels much more personal than any loud sales pitch in the TV commercials or static ads in the newspapers. Your Facebook page offers you a direct bond with your clients, which builds loyalty and habit. That is the fastest way to build your core customer base.
5. Opens the door to new partnerships
No business exists alone, and your social media marketing allows you an instant access to thousands of other businesses you can build mutually beneficial relationship with. You can use your contact network to analyze which partnership will be the most beneficial for you, so the bigger your network is, the more opportunities you will have to find businesses that can become an important part of your development strategy.
Your social media campaign will be the most successful if you master the power of personal communication with your clients. Make sure that you provide the most up-to-date information, that you answer personally to any comments and questions and that you engage directly with your clients. Point them to other sources of information you have at your disposal: press releases, blogs, articles and other publications. Personal communication will establish direct contact with your customers and will make the difference between them becoming your loyal clients and looking for what they need elsewhere. You could visit Facebook marketing blog for more strategies on how to engage and communicate with potential customers.
This, of course, takes some time. It is an important investment and, while nothing happens overnight, the results will show much faster with social media marketing than with any other marketing campaign you have ever undertaken before. Direct communication with your clients has other benefits: you will learn their likes and dislikes, you will be able to firmly establish your brand and you will quickly see the gaps in the campaign, or in the market exposure, and be able to act on it. The investment in time will pay handsomely as your customer base grows and your customers add their networks to yours and the word about your products spreads.
Social media marketing campaign can bring a small business to an entirely new level:
- It increases exposure to new clients and new markets
- It boosts sales by increasing customer base
- It saves costs for marketing
- It improves ranking with search engines
- It improves your core customer base
Edmond Hong is a well known expert on small business marketing strategies. He has degrees in Civil Engineering and Business Marketing from Monash University in Melbourne, Australia, where he has earned first class honors. He owns a website that allows businesses to increase Facebook fans instantly to enhance their social credibility online.He has published articles in the Age Australia Business Section and in the New York Times. He lives in Melbourne, where he writes marketing books and offers coaching to business entrepreneurs.