Editor’s note: The following post was submitted as part of our recruitment process for our new Graduate Marketing Assistant. With freedom over subject, style and length, it was up to our candidates to present their thoughts in a way that embodied the PPS blog whilst giving us an insight into their marketing genius. This by no means is the deciding factor, but if you like what you read, comment and share – you would be helping a great candidate out! So without further ado, here’s Candidate #1′s offering:
Social Media – why should you use it to market your business?
With the phrases: ‘I’ll tweet you…I’ll facebook you’ becoming ever more popular than ‘I’ll call you’, the way we connect and – more poignantly – the way we think has been drastically changed due to the invention of social media.
From the 8 year old technological whizz to the 80 year old Facebook addict, social networking and social media is a worldwide ageless phenomenon. It brings together a world of 196 countries and it does this in the blink of a winky-faced emoticon.
But how can social media help market your business? And why should it be so important?
This can be broadly sectioned into three conveniently alliterated words: image, impact and investment.
Image: Your company’s image is of huge importance to both existing and prospective customers. A company that embraces new media will give it a technological presence; it will be seen as state-of-the-art, intuitive and modern. A good website and a clean, updated Facebook/Twitter account will streamline your brand’s message, creating a consistently professional image online.
Using social media will also increase a company’s trustworthiness. A company that can interact and ‘chat’ with its customers on a friendly basis is a company that people can rely upon.
Impact: A company’s impact can be dramatically improved with the use of social media. Even the smallest of businesses can become a worldwide name through effective online marketing.
An example of this is the frustratingly addictive iPhone game, Angry Birds.
In May 2011, Angry Birds (and T-Mobile) created a life-size version of the iPhone game in Barcelona. Pedestrians were able to play the game on a smart phone and watch the action in real life.
But more impressively, this stunt proved bigger than Barcelona when a video of the event became a viral hit. Social media made a stunt that happened in Spain become a world-wide talking point – just through an upload of a video. No costly television advertisement necessary.
Another aspect of ‘impact’ is the value of customer responses. If your business brings out a new product or has a new idea, social media can provide a free marketing research platform in which customers can interact and discuss your plans, thus measure the impact of your plans from the feedback of real customers.
Social media marketing allows you to discover your customers’ preferences so that any actions can be based on what your customers want. By asking their opinions, you build up your public image through interaction and by knowing their preferences, it is far easier for you to enhance your products and plan your marketing campaigns effectively.
Investment: Social media can take up your company’s valuable resources. But the perks of social media show that it is a worthwhile investment for your company.
What do you have to invest?
Social media is not a one-trick pony; you cannot leave a page once it has been set up to fall into the depths of the neglected internet. Social media needs resources in the form of people power.
Ideally, your social media accounts should be updated at least once a week. Customers should not feel inundated with updates as this may force them to remove you from their feeds. However, a continuous presence is important to keep customer focus.
Financially, social media is free, however you may want to invest in improving the look of your site through liaising with IT Services. Facebook can be used as a blank canvas for companies. You can now create anything from buttons to interactive games which all help to further increase your brand’s technological image as well as create a consistent brand ethos between social media and your business’s website.
Although one may consider the artsy stuff not necessary, it is always worth investing in the aesthetics of your social media.
So, what is the verdict?
Social media is a growingly important marketing tool for companies. If used effectively, businesses can gain copious amounts from its usage. Social media marketing can be used to increase customer feedback, revenue and the image of even the most discreet of businesses.
The question is: why would you not use social media to market your business?
What are your thoughts? Do you think that social media has a place in marketing? Comment and share!