Social media is becoming increasingly popular and important in marketing for businesses everywhere. It seems like every week some new form comes out that you need to know about. While some social media only have limited uses depending on the industry, others can thrive on them. Here are some of the major social media sites and how they might be used.
Everybody knows about Facebook but not everyone uses it. Businesses can create a Facebook page and build an online presence by having their customers “like” them. Some brands, like the Mini Coupe, have a very loyal following where this works well, however a random used car dealership may not have much benefit to it.
One thing you can do on Facebook is have contests. For instance, a car dealership my say something along the lines of, ”like us on Facebook and you can win a free oil change.” Another popular Facebook contest is the photo contest. A car dealer might say “take a picture of you and the car you bought from us on vacation, the winner gets a free detailing.” So a customer might go to Yellowstone Park and take a picture of them and their car in front of the Yellowstone sign. They would then send it to the dealer to put on their Facebook page.
Twitter is another popular way of promoting businesses through the use of viral campaigns. You can communicate contests and giveaways to your Twitter followers. A vender with cars for sale might Tweet, “First 5 people to stop by and say ‘I love Ford’ will receive a free oil change.” Another popular viral campaign is the scavenger hunt. Hollywood, TV and film industry use these quite successfully. For example, the Spiderman movie that came out this summer sent their followers clues to free screenings throughout Los Angeles. People were scrambling to get to the locations in time.
Foursquare is another tool businesses can use. Foursquare is an app that lets people “check into”
a given location. If you go to a coffee shop you can “check in” at the location. This shows all of your friends where you are. Foursquare also offers coupons and deals exclusive to its user base of about 20 million people. Businesses take advantage of this by giving rewards to people for checking in. Used car dealerships may say “check in with us on Foursquare and receive a free car wash.” Or a coffee shop might say, “every five checks in you can receive a free drink of your choice.”
Here is the catch with using social media to market to consumers. You have to give them incentive to use it. A car dealer can’t just create a Facebook page and expect people to “like it.” They have to offer something in return like giveaways, coupons or discounts. A business can’t just use Twitter to broadcasts deals or sells they have. There has to be a reason people follow you. If all you blast is, “come see our wide selection of new and used cars,” then people get annoyed with you and stop following you.
The last thing to remember is to be consistent and proactive. It can time to build a following and you have to engage them on a regular basis or they will forget about you. This is where most businesses go wrong. They only send a Tweet every two months or they only update Facebook once every few weeks. People soon forget about them and lose interest. As a business you want to make sure this isn’t you.