Social media and Web 2.0 forever changed the way we consume products and services. Instead of simply buying and consuming, the next generation of fans buy, consume and then share their experiences on platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Foursquare. The proliferation of smart phones and mobile apps has only increased the speed of this phenomenon, making social media for business a critical area to manage in 2012.
With the tap of a few buttons, people can “check-in” to places and let others know where they are. Some share photos of what they are doing. Others might Tweet or post a Facebook status about their experience.
In 2010 alone, popular check-in service Foursquare had over 380,000,000 check-ins. People even checked-in from locations such as Whole Foods Market – a place that might seem too insignificant or mundane to share.
What does that tell you?
People want to share.
As a business owner, you can take advantage of this…
Be on these popular social networks, especially Facebook.
One study showed that 51% of consumers said they are more likely to buy from a brand they are a fan of or “like” on Facebook. Radio Shack reported that Foursquare users spend 3.5 times more than its average customer. There is serious value to being on these social networks.
But if you must pick one social network to use, pick Facebook. Consumers interact with brands more on Facebook than they do on any other network.
Leverage these social networks for your marketing
You can reward customers for checking in. Foursquare allows merchants to “create a special.” For example, one local gym gives you and a friend a free one-day pass for checking in. And you get $25 off a phone for checking-in three times at the Verizon store.
But what’s the big deal about check-ins? Think of it as a form of social proof – seeing that your friend is at a certain restaurant has much more credibility than seeing an ad from that same restaurant. And every time someone check-in, hundreds of their friends could potentially see it.
Create a marketing campaign based on the fact that the new generation of fans often Tweet, check-in, post statuses and take pictures of the places they are at.
[How To: Start Marketing on Foursquare]
Social media as a listening and sharing tool
People are sharing, which means you should listen.
What are people saying about your business? Is there something people want that your business can provide?
Using social media for customer service is one part of listening. You can respond to complaints and answer questions. JetBlue and Wingstop are two great examples of this. Not only do they provide quick responses but they also show off a human side of their business.
You can also start conversations on social networks. Ask customers for their input. Take a look at this screenshot my friend shared:
When you demonstrate that you value your customers, they feel valued and love you more. And that leads to even more sharing about you. It’s a snowball effect.
What it means for you, the business owner
Social Media has revolutionized communications and the relationships consumers have with businesses. It also allows customers to share their experience with others like never before.
So be where your next-generation customers are: Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare and wherever else they may be.
So as a business owner, you have spent all this time preparing for the busiest season of holiday shopping using social media to establish the best marketing plan – now what? Most businesses take the time to prepare for the upcoming holiday shopping, but don’t take the time to prepare for the promotions and marketing of their after Christmas sales. Think about it, After Christmas sales are just as important to prepare for; and can put you above your competitors if you have an established plan.
Here are 2 common mistakes:
1. Not Being Known – Everyone wants to know where the best deals are. Make sure you take the time to advertise and share your promotions and sales using social media tools.
2. Timing - Be sure you advertise your after Christmas Sales about a week before Christmas, and continue to advertise a week after. This way people are more aware of the sales you offer prior and allows more time for your audience to share and spread the word of the sales to those they know. A week is a great amount of time too since it won’t take away from your actual Holiday sales campaign.
So, get ahead of the game! Be sure to establish an After Sales Marketing strategy using social media tools.
Black Friday – the day after Thanksgiving that’s become the busiest (and craziest) day of the year for retailers and businesses. Yet when most people think of Black Friday, giant retailers like Target, Walmart and Best Buy come to mind. So what can you do as a small business owner to get into the heads of Black Friday shoppers? Here are some Black Friday marketing ideas:
- Let people know about the promotions you have on Black Friday (or Cyber Monday). It might sound obvious, but if your business is out of sight, it’s also out of shoppers’ minds. Besides advertising, you can let people know via your website/blog, e-mail, Facebook, Twitter and any other social media tools you might use.
- Have good offers. You have to give customers what they want. Offering a discount on an item customers rarely purchase won’t do you any good. Why else are TVs, console games and computers so popular on Black Friday?
- Make it easy for people to share your promotions with friends and family. Add a “share this” or “tell a friend” button at the end of your e-mail and on your website. Ask people to refer a friend or share your promotions; and surprise them with something as simple as a discount or coupon for doing so. And find your top customers who are true fans of your business and have them promote your business for you.
- Be remarkable. Black Friday is synonymous with long lines and “limited supplies.” What if your brick-and-mortar business didn’t have lines that ran all the way to the back of the store? What if your business had more than just one of the “door buster” in stock? Treat your customers as special even on the busiest day of the year. Customers will remember you and come back again after Black Friday if you provide them with a surprisingly pleasant shopping experience.
- Have a good return policy – and let people know about that too. Any time someone spends money on your product or service, they are taking a risk with their money. Assuming you have a good product or service, having a good return policy will provide some peace of mind to shoppers, which in turn makes it easier for shoppers to decide to buy from you.
- Hold contests and giveaways. Not only do they get people to visit your store, they get people talking too.
- Be mobile and online. Many people don’t visit a brick-and-mortar store during Black Friday because they either don’t want to wait in long lines or prefer to sleep in. Having an online and mobile version of your store allows for you to reach a group of people you wouldn’t have otherwise.
- Start early, but not too early. You can run a few promotions during the days (or week) leading up to Black Friday. Amazon does a good job at this – not only do shoppers get good deals before Black Friday even hits but you can create hype and excitement for the big day.
Preparation for Black Friday really starts weeks and months before Thanksgiving even arrives. These eight tips are a few things you, as a small business owner, can implement for Black Friday.
Is your business ready for the upcoming holiday shopping? As one of the busiest holiday shopping seasons approaches, business owners should ask themselves, “what is my plan this year to boost my sales?” Every business owner should start creating sales and marketing plans in order to stand out among their competition; and using Social Media tools is by far the most promising method.. Here are 3 reasons why:
1. Traditional Marketing is outdated – Newspaper advertising is very limited in audience and has a lower chance of being passed along to others, which is critical for marketing and awareness. According to the Washington Post, there has been a continuous 20 year decline in newspaper circulation.
2. Everyone uses Social Media! – Facebook recently announced that they have reached over 800 million worldwide users, and they were only founded 8 years ago. what does this mean? People everywhere are starting to use social media, let’s face it, it’s the cool new thing!
3. Able to target ads appropriately – Ever wonder why local store ads are starting to pop up more and more on the side of your Facebook account homepage? With social media, you have the ability to take advantage of the users demographics info more easily (because it is more accessible) and can then target your ads appropriately.
4. Able to Receive Feedback – Online social media campaigns provide immediate feedback to market strategists. That is, you have the ability to instantly read client reviews or monitor how much traffic your announcement receives.
Don’t fall behind in the competition; establish your marketing plan the best way you know how, through Social Media!