Tuesday, October 26, 2010
How Social Media can be used for Tangible Business Results and Insight on some Great Success Stories
I often think why is the need for proliferation of social media into every industry. Aren't conventional marketing techniques doing the job pretty well. I mean the company would still be achieving the regular sales numbers and doing good business even in absence of some of the internet marketing techniques.
However social media techniques if used correctly and done in the right way, produce tangible business results. And if used in the right way, can add those extra bucks to the bottom line as well. Twitter and Facebook are the two most popular social media platforms today, followed by Orkut, Myspace, Linkedin and some other social media sites.
I was reading an article on the companies that use social media the best. The company that topped the list was Coca-Cola and I wasnt surprised. It executed one of the largest social media campaigns on Facebook called Expedition 206. Now this is a bit similar to the MTV Roadies concept. In Expedition 206, three Coca Cola Brand Ambassadors would be chosen by the fans to make a year long trip visiting all the 206 countries where the brand is sold.
Such a fresh concept, and executed brilliantly on facebook where photos, vidoes, messages of fans would be posted. This would create more die hard loyalists for Coke, would act as a brand energizer. People would relate to their favourite brand and interact with loyalists on facebook, posting comments, and pictures which is great for evangelizing the brand, reiterating the fact that no matter where you go Coke is truly a global brand.
Another example of a company using social media in a great way is my own favourite brand Dell. Dell claims adding $3 million in sales using the Twitter platform. Dell Outlet on twitter is a page than has more than 1,500,000 followers. It announces great discount offers on this page and the link is redirected to the actual page where a customer can make a purchase. This is a great example of quantifiable ROI of social media.
Dell interacts with its followers on Twitter and Facebook to gain feedback about its new product launches, resolve any service issues and respond to any other queries of fans and customers on their forum. So in a way your market research is done for you online, and even better you get to gain valuable insight and be in direct touch with your brand loyalists and fans.
These were a couple of examples of companies leveraging social media and using it as a serious marketing tool. I strongly feel that irrespetive of the size, companies must look at social media marketing. If you ask me why, its simply the way of the future. I remember Marc Benioffs quote that he had wondered why isnt all enterprise software like Amazon.com, when he started Salesforce.com. Now he wonders why isnt all enterprise software like Facebook.
On that note, even SAP Labs benefits hugely by social media and is one of the few companies making the best use of social media. Earlier Netweaver was a platform to network and resolve business issues all across the globe. Now global users and employees can stay connected by social media and participate in discussions about usage issues or patch fixing or any other adoption issue. Hence increasing the "support" efficiency of SAP and it can reply to its user base and cutomers via social media with ease. This would eventually increase brand adoption and more users for SAP.
For smaller companies, it is cost effective and an easy way to reach out to its audience. Even if the company has a niche customer base, this is a great way to share ideas, discuss with your customers and gain new insights. Keeping the customers updated with latest product developments and news and interacting with them on a regular basis, would increase loyalty, brand recall and eventually the reach of the product or brand. To close I would recommend a focussed social media strategy for all companies, as it is an easy, cost effective and new way to reach out to your customers, and in my view is the way of the future.
Posted by Larry at 8:45 AM