As a marketing channel, social media is still extremely new. There’s a lot we’re learning and everyday we’re experimenting with new ways to maximize its reach. If we think back before Facebook and Twitter, we can see how much social media has evolved and changed.
Now, it’s evolving again – especially in the way that marketers look at it. No longer do marketers view social media by the platform, instead we’re looking at it as an actual channel.
Social media is one of the best channels for extending the reach of your marketing campaigns programs. It’s an addition to channels you already have in place, instead of being a campaign in and of itself.
The Old Social Media Strategy
In the past marketers preached that social media was required. It was something you had to take part in or risk being looked upon as a backwards brand. Not only were you expected to take part in the “conversation”, but you were told to do it with disregard to measurable successes.
You never knew if the resources you were investing in social media ever were leading to a positive ROI. Marketers often would say, “Don’t worry about ROI, it’s about engagement and interacting with consumers”.
Not everything needs to be tied to ROI. There are some campaigns and channels that are better for branding. However, the old social media strategy never accounted for the ROI or branding aspect when assigning resources. Social media campaigns became a buzzword (it still are) and received a large amount investment, without any consideration for how it would integrate with other marketing channels or what kind of ROI it could deliver.
Things have changed…
The New Social Media Strategy
Social media is no longer about the glitz and glamour. Now, it’s a channel that you measure and gauge performance from.
It is the icing on the cake. It’s what propels your marketing campaign and extends the reach. Think of it as the megaphone to your marketing campaigns. Instead of looking at social media as its own channel, look at is as an extension of your other marketing channels. It should be fully integrated in your campaigns and products.
For example, imagine you owned a small boutique shop and decided on doing a coupon giveaway to build some buzz around your new product that you’re launching. You’ve identified that you want to give customers a coupon so that they buy your new line and hopefully buy something else as well.
Normally, you would simply buy some ad space and use that to display the coupon to as many people as possible. However, if you wanted to maximize your reach and use social media. You could instead use the ad space to drive to your Facebook fan page.
On your brand’s Facebook fan page, the user is prompted to invite their friend, unlocking the coupon for both the user and the friend.
In this campaign, you’ve incentivized sharing since both the friend and user get the coupon. You’ve also simplified the sharing process by using Facebook, since Facebook has optimized the sharing process on their platform.
Simple campaigns like the coupon example above, outline the new thinking that is entering the social media discussion. It’s no longer about branding, but instead it’s about driving qualified leads and actually closing deals. Social media is starting to become a major player in driving interest and new sales.
How are you using social media to extend your marketing campaigns? Are you ready for the new paradigm within social media? How have you been using it?