For many business owners, social media is a labyrinth they’d just as soon avoid. It seems nebulous, unorganized, and often doesn’t seem to have a direct effect on success, or at least not one that is easily categorized or quantified.
And yet, all business-owners, down to the smallest blogger on the internet, knows that social media plays an integral role in the world of marketing today, and has the power to boost your business to fame, even if the mechanics are a little mysterious.
Ford, for example, launched an enormous social media campaign in the months leading up to the release of their new sub-compact car, the Fiesta, generating over 6.5 million views on YouTube. 50,000 people requested more information about the Fiesta after watching and reading “Fiesta Movement” videos and social media updates, and over 10,000 Fiestas were sold in the first week of its release.
Clearly social media does have an impact on business.
But knowing that it does have an impact does not substitute for knowing how social media impacts your business — and if you want to make the most of your next social media campaign, you need to know how social media works, not just that it can work.
Essentially, social media works because it:
Keeps a Pulse on Your Brand
In investigating the complex machinations of social media campaigns, McKinsey Quarterly suggested that the most critical function of any social media campaign is “monitoring what people say about your brand.”
Even the most inexperienced social media marketer knows that part of what makes social media so powerful is its ability to spread consumer-to-consumer messages about your company/blog instantaneously — in other words, social media takes word-of-mouth marketing to a whole new level.
Because social media makes it possible for consumers to share information about your company with each other faster than ever before, it is crucial that you keep track of what’s being said about your business on the different social media platforms.
You can learn a lot about where to focus your efforts just from keeping your finger on the pulse of your social media presence. Plus, you can avoid negative publicity if you are watching what people are saying about you online.
Enables You to Engage with Your Customers
As you probably guessed, watching what people are saying about you is not enough — you also have to respond to them in meaningful, genuine ways.
Responding to customers on a personal level is difficult with social media, but can be done to provide customer service or generate new sales leads. More common, however, is to use mass social media responses to address negative publicity or to manage some other kind of communication crisis.
Remember, the number one function of social media is to keep your brand clean and alive, so engaging with customers when an image issue arises, or when they are praising you is very important.
Motivates Customers to Convert & Spread the Word
Of these three functions, social media’s ability to motivate customers is paramount. Designing a social media experience that hooks customers in and gets them to market for you is the ultimate goal of social media.
Most great social media campaigns are founded on the basis of reward. When a customer joins or follows you on a social media platform, you offer a reward, whether it be discounts, more content, tips, or opportunities to share.
At the intersection of these three functions you will find a successful social media campaign. The more you get to understand each function by itself, the more you will understand — and be able to implement — social media campaigns.