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Managing Your Social Media Networks

Social media networking - A new promotional tool to reach your target

Much is being written and talked about regarding the social networking tools now available to promote products and services hrough the Internet – among them YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, the blogosphere – remarkable in their user reach and impact. For many, social networking is just that – a way to be in touch with friends. However, the jury is still out not only on the best way to utilize social marketing for merchandising, but also on the actual return on investment, not only of money but of time.

What is important to remember is that regardless which promotional tools we use to deliver our message, the principles of good marketing and public relations remain exactly the same. Trust must be established and both sides of the transaction - buyer and seller - must feel that appropriate value was received.

 

We define marketing as the satisfactory exchange of products, services or ideas between company and customer, with emphasis on the importance of the relationships we build with our customers or clients to build loyalty and brand.


We use traditional marketing tools – print, radio, television, Internet, to connect with our audiences.  Social marketing is a new tool – one that is centered on the relationship part of marketing.  It is similar to the one-on-one, real-time, interactive relationship you have with a customer standing at your counter, and that makes it different from other tools.

 

What distinguishes social media from traditional media

Reach and group power

Social networking tools can impact large numbers of people and drive opinion.

Every member of a network has multiple opportunities to share with every other member easily and quickly. If the message resonates with the group, it could go viral in a heartbeat. This can be great for merchandising – if the message is positive.

 

Time
Unlike traditional advertising where messages are sent via one-way media, social marketing is a two-way street. Social marketing is about building relationships - sending messages, but also receiving responses, perhaps instantly, and setting up the expectation of a dialogue.  This makes time a primary issue. Dialoging with friends via text, email, Facebook and blogging is one thing.  Corresponding with your customers and potential customers is another. Once you set the expectation of a dialogue, customers anticipate just that. 

A good way to think about using social media is to imagine that the person you are corresponding with via social media is a customer standing face-to-face with you at your service counter. Before you launch your social media marketing effort, consider whether you have the time to chat with these customers, as well as to provide them with information and offers that will keep them coming back.

 

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