Twitter, Facebook, and other social networking sites are just used for fun, right?
If that’s your current line of thinking, consider the big-name companies that are using social media as part of their advertising:
Absolut Vodka, Acura, Adidas, American Express, American Red Cross, AT&T, Bank of America, Best Buy, BlendTec, Boeing, Bouron, Burger King, CNN, Coca-Cola, Comcast, Dell, Ernst & Young, Ford, General Electric, Google, Graco, H&R Block, IBM, Motorola, Oscar Mayer, Peace Corps, Pizza Hut, Revlon, Saturn, Southwest Airlines, Starbucks, Sun Microsystems, Zappos… you get the idea, nearly everyone is online.
In fact, Pepsi opted out of airing a commercial at the 2011 super bowl and chose to use that money for their social media efforts instead.
Think about your own local competitors. Are they on Facebook? Do they have a Twitter account? Do some searching to find out. The chances are very high that they do… or that they are planning on it.
Consider the reasons why companies, both large and small, are making the leap to using social media to advertise their business. First and foremost, it’s where customers and potential customers “hang out.” It is where it’s easiest to reach and interact with people, putting your name and products at the top of their minds.
There are currently more than 1.6 billion active users on Facebook. There are over 332 million users on Twitter and 400 million on Instagram.
Many of them are now extremely warmed up to the idea of “liking” a company on Facebook or “following” a company on Twitter. This can mean great things for you and your business.
Before signing on to do a social media campaign for your business, it’s important to understand the relationship factor. You’re not going to be just posting ad after ad, hoping someone buys or decides to stop by your store.
You’re going to be building real relationships with people. You’re going to be the company that is at the top of their mind when they are ready to make their purchase. They are going to feel that you are friendly, and truly care about their wants and needs. You’re going to share helpful tips and thoughts. You’re going to ask for their input. You’re going to dramatically improve your relationships, which, in turn, will dramatically improve your sales. This is the case no matter what industry you’re in.
This is what people want these days. This means more to people (and it means more to your bottom line) than some dry ad in the Yellow Pages. People thrive on, and expect, relationship building in the online space. If you have a competitor who is taking advantage of social media in this way and you’re not — I’ll be blunt –you’re going to be left behind.