Should my company be using social media?
A study conducted in November and December of 2010 by Forrester Research found social media trailing behind almost every other online route, including email, search results and display ads, as "touchpoints prior to conversion [aka purchase]" to online retail sites. However, they also cautioned...
While “last click” is typically the most commonly accepted standard for how retailers look at the effectiveness of their marketing programs, it is an inadequate measure of a marketing tool’s success. The fact that so many customers in this study touched multiple marketing messages prior to purchase means that some tactics get too much credit for sales and others do not receive enough. By looking at different approaches, marketers may have a better picture of the value of their various efforts.
Here are a few questions to keep in mind as you consider online marketing and social media.
Where is your target market looking for advice? Just because "everyone" is on Facebook and Twitter doesn't mean that's where they're looking for information or advice about your product or service. Personally, when I'm researching a service, I look to the company website, but (via Google) I also look for independent third parties who have used the service I'm researching and who have something good or bad to say about their experience. It's just age-old word-of-mouth in a new medium.
Is your message appropriate for the context? Facebook is essentially a million small, short conversations between friends. A marketing message doesn't fit in there. Imagine if three or four young adults were having a conversation on the street about their favorite band, and you walked up and said "Did you know we offer renter's insurance?" -- would your input be welcome?
And Twitter? I've read that it's being using extensively for marketing. But effectively? I don't know.
Pinterest zoomed into viral use in 2011/2012. If your market is female, you should definitely consider Pinterest as part of your online strategy. More info here.
At least for now, search engines are still relevant. According to the Forrester study, email marketing and search engine results -- either pay-per-click ads or organci results -- are the quickest and most effective ways to improve your online presence.
So what are social media sites good for in regards to your business?
- Think public relations; not marketing. You and your staff should be using social media in a natural way to make personal connections in the community and to create a favorable impression of their "personal brand" -- which then extends to your company brand.
- Your organization provides such amazing customer service that your clients voluntarily mention you on social media or in their blogs.
- Social media is very useful for a special event and for publicizing limited-time offers.
- It can also provide a critical communication tool in the event of an area catastrophe, if you serve in such a capacity -- where you want to disseminate timely info to a lot of people quickly.
Download the report referenced in this article.
See who's using Facebook.
Read a 2011 Pew Report on Twitter use.
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