In the seminars and courses I run, I always emphasise the importance of strategy in creating a successful social media campaign. Social media should be used to enhance your marketing activity, not necessarily to replace the use of traditional marketing.
When I discuss the importance of a good social media strategy, I often mention an article by Mark Ritson which I read recently in Marketing Week magazine. Comparing the respective marketing strategies of Coke and Pepsi, it shows how even the big boys sometimes get their social media strategy wrong.
Pepsi decided against a TV advertising campaign for the Super Bowl 2010. Instead, they decided to go gung-ho with marketing their charity causes via social media and to build their online following to drive drink sales. I remember thinking as I read the article “But what about the drink itself? It’s all very good hearing about good causes but does this make me want to buy the drink?”
Coke decided to continue with TV ads for the Super Bowl promoting the drink itself, as well as using social media. Pepsi’s social media campaign was much more popular in terms of followers etc. However, the result of these two approaches was that Coke had an upturn in drink sales and Pepsi had a downturn in sales.
This is why it is so important to have the right strategy for social media and not to get carried away with it, expecting instant results. It is all about the long game, just like most other marketing activities. And should be used to complement traditional marketing, not replace it. You might choose to cut back on areas of traditional marketing that are no longer working so well but still continue the marketing activities that are generating results.
You can also use traditional marketing to promote your social media presence. I often see this when watching football on TV – the banners around the grounds tend to mention Facebook and Twitter profiles now instead of websites. This is because social media provides much better retention. You can post to followers on a regular basis, whereas website interactions are often one-offs.
We find social media works particularly well in complementing our offline networking and in building those relationships online. We also use social media to promote our expertise in social media, which we can do for free via these tools. It may not be the businesses following us that will actually pay to use our services. Instead, if they find the info useful, they’re more likely to refer us to businesses they know that need social media help. These are perhaps not yet on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn etc.
We hope you find this useful. For more top tips on how to use social media as a marketing tool for business follow us on Twitter at @qchriswood.