ADOTAS – The merging of marketing and social media is on the rise. This year, more than half of all retail, manufacturing and computer hardware/software companies are expected to increase social media marketing budgets, but there is little guidance on how to successfully integrate these technologies into successful campaigns and lead-generation strategies.
It should come as no surprise that our love affair with online and now mobile social communities continues to grow at a staggering pace. With billions of members worldwide, online social communities have created a defining new use for the web.
According to a Forrester Research report on buyers in the U.S. and Europe, 91 percent of online audiences are reading blogs, watching online video and participating in web-based activities.
Of that audience, 69 percent are engaged with online activities. Also, 55 percent have joined social networks, and 58 percent react to content they see in social formats. This is not to say that social networks dictate purchasing behavior, but it does generate awareness and can help actively engage new customers.
If properly harnessed, social media has amazing potential to help businesses grow, but the content must be relevant and useful to prospects. Companies continue to grapple with how to successfully leverage their sales tools to create measurable results and not get lost amidst a sea of clutter.
However, there are several positive use cases and companies illustrating best practices. It also helps to follow a few traditional key guidelines.
1) Know your audience. The old rule of thumb applies with mobile social marketing. You have to know your target market and identify their usage behavior when it comes to online and mobile networking tools.
If brands want to connect with potential customers in a meaningful way, then they must provide a valuable interaction. The beauty of social media is that it allows you to engage your potential customer in the stream of his daily routine.
2) Set guidelines and boundaries. With simple to use sites like Posterous popping up, it seems like everyone has a personal blog or website nowadays. One of the most important benefits of social networking is the ability to connect on a more personal level with potential customers, but within that capacity is the potential to overstep professional boundaries.
It’s important not to become a cyber-stalker. Make sure that you are connecting with your prospect in a way that allows them to control the situation.
3) Provide value. Arguably the most important step in the process of getting into mobile or social advertising is to make sure that you are providing a valuable service, product or information to your target audience.
Mobile ads are generally unsuccessful because they are obtrusive and don’t offer value — if a person clicks on it by accident, it’s an annoyance to get back to the page they were previously viewing. Similarly, hosting Facebook pages or sending out Tweets that don’t provide good content, deals or interesting information won’t get much traction, H
owever, creating a service (as more and more brands are doing) that actively engages the audience — not only provides them with a positive outlook of the company but also lets them choose to interact with the brand because it offers something they want. Social media provides a platform for unparalleled personalized outreach to consumers or potential leads. It’s important to use information that you receive to reach customers in the right ways.
Remember that you are reaching leads in the middle of their precious downtime — time that is used for connecting with friends and family and mobile or online entertainment. In the on-demand environment provided by the web, these targets are used to skipping commercials in favor of immediate gratification and access to content. It’s important to develop a tool that jumps out at the user and engages them in a simple, clear way.