Five Marketing Goals Social Media can Affect

Sometimes - particularly with companies new to social media, the discipline is seen as something they "need" but they don't know what it is, how it can affect their marketing programs, and potentially most importantly - how to hire the right person to develop and execute a social media strategy.

Recently I have had discussions with several LARGE organizations and unfortunately social media scepticism seems to be running rampant.

The problem seems to be that they are either afraid to communicate with the public, or they just don't know how social media marketing works. It's ok to admit you don't understand the process, that's why I do what I do. However, it is often my role to debunk myths and overcome failed efforts developed by other social media "experts".

So if you are in a situation like this - either as a Marketing Director or similar, or as a fellow social media marketer, here are a five marketing goals that social media helps with and how I have helped achieve them.

Increase Brand Awareness

Brand Awareness is one of the top goals that companies have when considering a social media campaign. It is also one of the superficially easy to accomplish. Unfortunately, unless you have a good idea of what exactly "brand awareness" means using social media can quickly become a time sink for the staff executing it as well as the staff supporting the effort.

Done properly though, this is an opportunity shine! When I begin a social media campaign, I try to find out what makes the client unique. From there, we can determine what channels to leverage. When I worked with Arcade-in-a-Box, our goal was to leverage video games bloggers to promote teh product through reviews and press releases. Our social media campaign later evolved into a more full blown campaign where we created a viral video contest and an online social network for customers to share photos, videos, and comments about the products.

Over the course of a couple years, Arcade-in-a-Box became an "it" company that was both considered "cool" by the fighting game community as well as a sales success, often with order queues ranging from 8-14 weeks. Why would someone wait this long for an arcade control panel? Simple! It was quality of craftsmanship and the "brand" we helped create.

Increase Web Traffic

When done properly, social media should create Internet content (pictures, video, article, blog mentions, social media profiles etc.). Depending on what your goals are, this content should also be framed and created so that it ultimately drives someone to the website.

When working with the Chesapeake Bay Beach Club, we created a blog, Maryland Shore Weddings, which was designed to bring the Beach Club and Tidewater Inn together and cross promote the two venues while focusing attention on creating a destination for brides considering an "Eastern Shore Wedding" in Maryland.

The site was a success from the perspective that it immediately received traffic from wedding vendors who promoted it on their blogs, facebook pages, and on twitter. Even better was that the traffic that the site generated back to the venue websites was comparable and potentially superior (based on volume, and page views per visitor) to paid advertisements on the core wedding portals.

Improve Search Engine Optimization

Along with increasing website traffic through a social media campaign, social media can also help improve long time seach engine rankings for your website. This can be done through blogging on your website and attracting links. It can also be done by guest blogging on other sites, or by networking with bloggers and having them write nice things about you.

While this goes hand-in-hand with the increasing web traffic, not everything you do on the Internet with creating content will result in improved SEO. For instance, the website link on your Facebook page does NOTHING for your ranking in Google. However, a blogger who publishes news about you with a link will. Additionally, publishing content on your own blog will give search engines content to index. As you develop a blogging campaign, and search engines start to recognize your site as being a valued resource, you will have articles indexed faster as well as ranked higher.

An example of how this can help is what we are doing with Certified CIO's blog.

Once again, this is a core part of most of the social media campaigns I have executed and is one of the core the reason why we recomend that all of our clients blog.

Enhance Public Relations Effectiveness

By leveraging social media, whether it is Facebook, twitter, or a blog, is a great opportunity to further enhance the effectiveness of your PR campaigns. There are several ways to do this including submitting press releases to "press release sites" that have "share" buttons, but my preference is to make sure that your press releases are re-purposed on your company blog so that you can share it right from there and promote it on all the different social media channels you might have created. This is something I do for virtually every client that I offer PR services to.

Additionally, you can include pre-formatted "tweetable" pitches for bloggers and social media gurus to share. While you can email a few dozen (or more depending on your industry) media, by sharing news on your blog, Facebook page, and twitter, you can immediately reach thousands of people. If the news is truely exciting, others will retweet or "like" it and your PR effort becomes that much more effective.

Improving Customer Service and Retention

Finally, but absolutely not least important is improving customer service and retention. One of the special things about social media is that it is not a one-way communication medium. While customers now have the ability to voice their feelings, you do too.

This is especially true with review sites like Yelp! where a business owner can react to comments made by customers (good or bad).

Last year, one of my clients experienced an issue with an irate customer who left a nasty review. This person was clearly emotional and had certainly misinterpreted the situation she was faced with. Unfortunately, that alone didn't eliminate the fact that this client now had a negative review (rant) on a Yelp! page that was otherwise overwhelmingly positive.

Luckily, I had already acquired control of the listing for my client and was able to walk her through the process of how to respond. Because we responded in a positive and concerned fashion we were able to explain the situation to the customer and she ultimately apologize for the misunderstanding and removed the review. That one negative could have resulted in hundreds or thousands of dollars in lost revenue had my social media expertise not been applied correctly.

 

Those are just a few examples of how social media marketing can help an organization achieve marketing goals. Remember, social media isn't magic!

It is simply another tool, another world to play in, and even more opportunities to enhance your existing marketing goals. This integration of traditional marketing and social media is one of the reasons I have been successful over the past 10 years guiding clients through the sometimes confusing world of user-created online content.

Contact James Hills

email: james@aboutjameshills.com

phone: 630-779-9302