Are you a social media skeptic? Find yourself shuddering at the mere mention of Facebook or Twitter? You’re not alone. But whether you are a new start-up or a well established business, there is no escaping the fact that social media has become a vitally important tool for reaching customers. On the plus side, the mushrooming of social media sites means there is bound to be the right platform for you.
Here are five examples of how companies and organisations have found creative ways to promote themselves and connect with customers through social media.
1. Find the Right Platform
There are hundreds of social media sites out there, and each platform has its own personality and appeal. The top 15 most popular sites will give you some idea of what’s available, but you don’t have to stick to these. Take your time to research them and choose the ones that are likely to suit you and your business.
For example, the Natural History Museum, London has crafted its Pinterest site to develop a sense of community between visitors of all ages and backgrounds, encouraging them to explore and learn together.
2. Target Different Audiences
Video sharing networks are becoming increasingly popular, with sites such as Vine and Vimeo providing alternatives to YouTube. Vine and Vimeo are branded differently, and can be used to reach different target audiences, as you’ll see from the Marmite example. Marmite on Vine shows playful, six second looping clips of Marmite in various situations – such as one in which a menacing Marmite gang sees off a jar of Vegemite. The Marmite Channel on Vimeo has a more grown-up feel, encouraging customers to share their own videos of their Marmite experiences. Love it or hate it, the debate goes on.
3. Connect With Your Customers
WD40 is an iconic brand with a hugely popular and long running marketing campaign which challenges customers to find new uses for the oil in a spraycan – over 2000 suggestions have so far been put forward. The WD40 Pinterest page has given new energy to the campaign which looks set to run and run.
4. Hit the Right Tone
Audi on Google+ has made a lovely job of showcasing the Audi brand, and the platform encourages customers to interact and get them talking. You might think that you already know your customers and what they want, but social media is a two-way street providing you with a golden opportunity to learn so much more.
5.Encourage Lively Banter, but Watch out for Trolls
Trolls and baiters are a fact of life on social media, but learn to deal with them effectively and you could even turn the situation to your advantage. In 2012, angry O2 customers took to Twitter to vent their frustration about a service failure. The O2 Twitter team tackled the crisis head on, responding to even the most offensive tweets with robust humour and personality. But be warned! This high risk approach can easily backfire. Dealing with trolls requires a great deal of skill, experience and social media savvy: The general rule is Don’t Feed the Trolls.
by Diarmuid Scollard