10 Ways to Create Synergy Between Social and Traditional Media December 9, 2009Posted by SBDC in Small Business General.
Have you jumped into the deep waters of social media? Does your company have a blog? Are you “tweeting?” Are you part of a Facebook community? Have you heard of Ning? And are you building a network of colleagues on LinkedIn?
There’s no question that social media can help you engage with customers, but did you know that it’s also a low-cost, efficient way to boost response to your traditional media promotions? Creating and cross-promoting a company blog, a social networking community and updating your Twitter account as part of direct marketing campaigns and sales promotion efforts creates new ways for you to reach out – and for customers and prospects to respond. It’s also a great lead capture mechanism where you easily incubate and nurture your leads . As the economic recession comes to an end, one of the critical questions being asked is “when will consumers be ready to buy again?” Engaging with consumers through social media channels ensures that your company will stay connected and be top-of-mind when they’re ready to open their wallets. But before you dive in, you need a strategy. The two most effective social media tools to focus on are blogging and social networking.
A word about blogging and micro-blogging…
Blogs and Twitter accounts are a win-win combo for companies.
Blogging is the equivalent of keeping an online journal – but for companies it’s more like having a soapbox. Blogs are forum for your company to talk about the issues and needs in your market today. It’s not a place to sell, rather it’s a place for you to let your customers know how you think, so they can see that you understand them. Blogs are also a great way to get customer feedback so you can refine your thinking. To get started, visit www.blogger.com.
Twitter is micro-blogging with each entry limited to 140 characters. It’s a challenge – try it! But Twitter can also be a very effective tool to push out snippets on product news, special offers, events, research and success stories. Used properly, it can drive people to your website and social networking community. To set up a Twitter account, go to www.twitter.com.
Get connected with a social networking community
As with any media option, different social networking communities have different demographics. The trick is finding the one that mirrors your customer base.
Facebook is the place to be if you market direct to the consumer – any consumer. It’s not just for college students anymore. With a breathtaking 200 million users, Facebook’s older demographics are growing faster than its young ones. In fact, AARP recently discussed the trend in a cover story about Facebook addiction. Read it at www.facebook.com.
MySpace is the online space where the arts and entertainment world hangs out – and it’s typically a younger audience. MySpace allows users to completely customize their homepage, which particularly appeals to creative people. Check it out at www.myspace.com.
Ning gives you free tools to build your own social network for any purpose. Ning is particularly beneficial for smaller companies. Several firms such as Awareness, Jive and Lithium offer privately branded social communities for a stiff price, but Ning provides small and mid-tier companies many of the same features – for free. Find out more at www.ning.com.
LinkedIn is becoming the default community of choice for the business/professional community. Many people don’t have confidence in LinkedIn’s tools, but the service has managed to capture massive market share early. Creating groups on LinkedIn is an effective way to promote a dialogue with business-to-business customers and prospects. It’s also a great place to recruit employees. Learn more at www.linkedin.com.
Social Media + Traditional Media = Customer Engagement
For your social media efforts to be successful and enable you to engage with your customers, you need to make your social community sites easy to find and drive traffic to them. That’s where traditional media can help. Think of your social communities as preferred partner programs. Whenever you connect with customers via traditional media outletsI (in print, via email or at trade shows, etc.) provide information on how to join your social communities. Entice customers and prospects with the benefits of following your blog or joining your communities. Focus on information and resources, but make it clear there will also be special offers and exclusive opportunities only for social community members. Here are 10 ideas to create synergy between your social media and traditional media – and enhance the performance of both:
- Provide a link to all of your social media on your website. Feature your blog and most recent blog post to entice people to read and respond.
- Provide a link to your social media on your website with specific links to landing pages that will encourage visitors to register for information with their email address so you can capture them as leads.
- Email your current blog post to your customers and contacts in your CRM. It’s an easy, low-cost touch-point.
- Put links to your blog, your Twitter account and all of your social networking communities on your brochures and in your catalogs.
- Create “easy URLs” for your social media to make it easy to find you.
- Include links at the bottom of every email and e-newsletter you send.
- Don’t forget your “transactional” emails. Every communication is an opportunity to promote your social communities. Include links to your social media sites in your employee email “signature.”
- Announce a preferred partner program exclusively for members of your social networking community.
- At trade shows, run a special preferred partner promotion for anyone who joins your community.
- Use information from your traditional media – case studies, white papers, and research results – to provide content for your blog and communities.
Remember that social communities are a two-way proposition. By including social media options in your direct mail and sales promotions, you invite customers and prospects to engage in a dialogue, so make it clear you want to hear from them.As consumers spend more of their time online, marketers will become increasingly aware that social media is a great place to reach them. Building online followers and community takes time, so start NOW to get ahead and stay ahead.
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