Tag Archive :Twitter

If you are a sports fan or just know one, you know a fan’s passion for his or her team and favorite sport runs deep.  Trust me, I am a sports widow whose husband lives for his teams.   The growth of social media has given these rabid fans – as well as casual ones – a constant outlet to express their feelings about their team.  Once, these fans would call into their local sports radio station to express their joys and frustrations – and only other listeners would hear them.  Now, fans can join a team’s Facebook page, follow the Twitter feed of a team or favorite player, follow various blogs or create their own to express their feelings or provide information to other fans.

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Making Lemonade Out of Lemons” Turning a Potential PR Disaster into a Great Consumer Promotion

In my previous post (click here to read Part I) I talked about the perils of a celebrity endorsement, using Gilbert Gottfried as the voice of the Aflac duck as a jumping off point.  In this post I am going to look at how Aflac found a way to create a terrific consumer promotion in the aftermath of the PR problems Mr. Gottfried created by his horrendous comments following the Japan earthquake and tsunami.

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Like almost everyone else I am a member of Facebook and recently I started posting on Twitter as a way to drive interest and views to this blog.  I post on LinkedIn.  Yes, I am engaging in social media and I am using it to promote myself and my business.  As an entrepreneur with a small consulting practice this works for me.  However, after reading the article below (that was posted on my Facebook page because I “Like” another business) I realized that there is something missing in the conversation. 


 The reality is, for businesses that are trying to reach consumers and not other businesses, social media should go way beyond Facebook and Twitter.  Most businesses still don’t understand how to use social media and they equate it with just being on Facebook and Twitter.  Having a good Facebook and Twitter strategy should come after they develop a strong social media strategy.

Social media is not a strategy, but a serious of tools.  You need a cohesive strategy of how social media fits into your marketing plan and how you are going to use it to drive your business.  To engage consumers, speak to and with them and turn them into advocates you need a complete strategy that takes into account the multiple layers of social media and not just Twitter and Facebook. 

  • Establish an Integrated Marketing Plan:  A solid marketing plan and a great promotional idea will incorporate as many marketing vehicles and tools as your budget can afford and will achieve your goals.  This will include a digital strategy, social media, retail, PR, promotion, etc.  Even if we are focusing on the digital and social media strategy here, we need to have ways of driving our consumers to where the messages and conversations are.  We need to surround them with the message in all the places they consume media.  You can’t go on the assumption of “if you build it, they will come.”  Make sure that your social media campaign is properly incorporated into your broader plan.
  • Use Bloggers to Promote Your Brand:  Influential bloggers are an added resource to drive a conversation and create awareness for the brand or company.  They can highlight new products, new uses and promote a positive image for your brand.  They are often the ones to develop the viral campaigns that brands love.  It takes a bit of research to contact the right bloggers and often a bit of effort to recruit them to your cause.  However, once you do, it can go a long way to broaden your social media message.  Remember, you are not looking to “pay for play” with the bloggers, but an unpaid endorsement.  One way is to offer product samples and information about your product.  Believe it or not, these bloggers are often looking for new content or a way to engage their readers (i.e. sample giveaway).  For service products, it can still work as you provide information and special offers to the consumers vs. a sample. 
  • Don’t Forget Your Own Brand’s Website:  Social media can start at home.  Create a blog on your brand’s website.  You can post white papers or other information about product usage.  You can ask for opinions from your users.  You can create a dialogue with your customers in an environment where they will also be surrounded by your brand message.
  • Consider Mobile:  One could say that mobile marketing is a different set of vehicles from the social media applications of Facebook and Twitter.  However, nothing is more social than your phone.  Use phone apps, texting, etc. to drive engagement and viral activity.  It can then link back to your website or Facebook pages.
  • Don’t Limit Yourself:  OK, no one can beat Facebook for sheer number of members, but make sure that your target audience isn’t engaging on other social media sites that you are may be ignoring.  Explore where else can you start or participate in a conversation where your specific target audience is sharing information.  Once upon a time it was all about MySpace before Facebook become the big idea.

Facebook and Twitter are great tools when used properly.  The important thing is to make sure that as a marketer you think beyond them and develop a social media strategy that is best for your brand.

Recently, I have started “friending” some of my favorite local stores that I go to repeatedly.  I had been slow to the practice wondering what the point was (I am not one of those early adopters), but have discovered that I like seeing the updates of the “special of the week” or announcement of a big store event.  Whenever my favorite gourmet cheese shop downtown posts the special cheese they are sampling it often gets me into the store to try it and ultimately buy it.   I used to get all of these via email, but find I like the Facebook announcements.  So, what does this say about social media and how local businesses use it?

In this recent article businesses indicated that they are increasing their use of Facebook, but other sites such as Groupon, Foursquare and Living Social are not being used to their full potential.  (Click on image to go to article)

Additionally, the survey indicates that consumers do react to local deals and information to drive them into the store (just like I do).  What then is the disconnect between consumer behavior and retailer marketing methods?

What I have encountered speaking with local retailers as well as small local businesses such as real estate agents and consultants is they just don’t know what these vehicles are or how to use them.  They don’t have any real money to spend and are fearful of taking the leap.  What’s more, they are all really concerned about the time it will take to utilize things like Twitter, blogging and online offers and they claim lots of technology ignorance.

There are always early adopters both from a marketers and a consumer standpoint.  Those that fall into this early adopter camp take the biggest risk, but also can reap the biggest rewards.  The younger generation is more likely to try the new technology especially mobile marketing and these are often the ones who are spending the bucks. Moreover, it appears based on some recent research that fewer and fewer of this younger set are using email, thus, making email blasts potentially obsolete.  They use texting or email on Facebook instead so you need to talk to them where they consume the media. 

If Twitter and Facebook are getting more of the lion share of local online marketing it is most likely because they are low-cost (free), easy to master and part of our daily vernacular.

When I speak to these small retailers and small businesses I use a variety of techniques to get them into the modern age to use social media to grow their businesses. 

  1. Help them get over their fears:  Not easy, but it is a matter of not just explaining how things work, but actually demonstrating the ease and speed with which these things can be done.  Share some data on success stories and survey data and they will be more easily swayed.
  2. Provide a reasonable timeline:  Building a large enough database through viral marketing techniques takes time.  Even if they use their email list to drive more eyes to the offers it will take a while for those other than the early adopters to start acting.  Don’t expect an immediate response.
  3. Test Offers:  Building on the “it takes time” idea, the first offer doesn’t always work.  It often takes a few different offers until you find the one that will resonate with consumers and drives them to purchase. Keep trying until one gets the ROI they want.
  4. Start Slow and Add On:  If the business is entering social media for the first time they should start slow and get comfortable.  Most likely they have a website.  Start by adding Facebook and Twitter and connecting to the website.  Get them familiar with the vehicles and then slowly add on additional offer sites.  Balance it with some SEO and paid search at a local level where they are more open to spending.  Then test replacing a direct mail piece with an online offer.  Show the potential ROI of doing the social media over the direct mail.  It will probably be very eye opening for them.

Eventually, from a retail perspective it all comes down to customer service, product offerings in store and the economy.  Do those things right and you have a great chance to succeed.  Additionally,  if local retailers then leverage emerging social media marketing tactics as a way to drive growth on top of  the basics they are more likely to increase their success.

Would love to hear of examples of how social media has driven local retailer success.