SCORR Marketing Advice: Embracing Social Media
Embracing Social Media as a Marketing Tool
By Cinda Orr
This whole social-media phenomenon has a lot of marketing executives – especially the ones over 50 – pretty perplexed. I was a little perplexed myself.
First, Al Gore invented the Internet, then there was email, then websites, then clickable ads, then really annoying clickable ads and then there were e-magazines, e-newsletters, blogs, MySpace, Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. Where it will be next year, or the year after that, is anyone’s guess.
In marketing and communications, we are, as always, in a transitional period. Traditional media in the business-to-business marketing context once meant trade journals, trade shows and direct mail; period. Today, traditional media might include websites and Internet advertising, but social media, like LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter, still aren’t in the marketing mix at many B2B companies. And they should be.
Let’s imagine you are, as many of our clients are, in a technically-oriented business-to-business industry. You know about Facebook because your teenage son or daughter focuses on nothing else. You’ve heard of Twitter, but can’t imagine why people might “tweet” or want to be “tweeted.”
You’re not alone. But before you turn your back on social media, what you need to get back to is the core of what marketing is about: the process of persuading people that what you offer is superior to or of a better value than what your competitors sell. If the question is, “Should my business be sharing who we are and what we do with the world?” then the answer should be “yes.” The point of being in business is so more customers can find you, buy from you, and — with social media — tell everyone they know how great you are.
Should your business have a Facebook page or a page on LinkedIn? Of course it should. Whether you use those services or not, millions of people every day do (half a billion, in the case of Facebook). Should you have a video on YouTube? Definitely! Amazingly, it’s the second largest search engine (after Google) where people go to find information. When people do a search on your business category and you’re not listed, you’re at a competitive disadvantage.
Even if your business is in the driest-of-the-dry technical niches, a well-written blog attracts followers. As for Twitter, one group we know that signs up to follow tweets is journalists in the trade media – if you tweet about breaking news, they will not only get it first, they’ll be able to tweet back a follow-up query.
There’s a lot of talk these days about the new reality. In marketing, social media is ascendant, while traditional media struggles to cope with the high cost of printing and distribution, coupled with a dwindling audience.
Embrace change. You really don’t have a choice.