Networking sites for marketing
Traditional companies are those which sell traditional products and
services and service them through traditional channels. These Companies
most probably would be still relying on traditional media channels like
TV and newspapers for advertising and promoting their products and
For these companies, the social media marketing is still a big taboo,
a strict no.
The reasons for not using social networking sites for their marketing
purposes could be that they don't know about the social networking
potential-value it can generate(why to use?) or don't know how to use
it. It thus becomes important to first go to the basics and understand
and evaluate them.
Value of the social networking sites
Size Matters: The social networking sites or the social media
networks have become the number one traffic generator in the www for
sometime now, with growth rates reaching double figures on avg. Check
this out:- Traditional companies are those which sell traditional
products and services and service them through traditional channels.
These Companies most probably would be still relying on traditional
media channels like TV and newspapers for advertising and promoting
their products and brands. For these companies, the social media
marketing is still a big taboo, a strict no. The reasons for not using
social networking sites for their marketing purposes could be that they
don't about the social networking potential-value it can generate(why to
use?) or don't know how to use it. It thus becomes important to first go
to the basics and understand and evaluate them.
Right Audience: It's possible to clearly identify the segments
of users that need to be approached. Hundreds of social media sites
instantly provide the user profiles. "The user profile is generally what
distinguishes social networking sites from other social media platforms.
It helps set the stage for building relationships with people who
share the same interests, activities, or personal contacts, as opposed
to primarily disseminating or digesting information feeds.
This also means social networks enable companies to invite audiences
to get to know its brand in a way that traditional forms of marketing or
advertising can't." (Ref 1).
Even the sites have specific group or user purposes. There could be
industry specific sites like Research GATE, which is meant for
researchers in the science or technology field. There could be
professional sites like Linked In or free for all sites like Facebook.
Thus deepening upon the 3V's, the company can decide which site to
choose to promote itself and which customers to target within the chosen
The traditional companies' even if does not want to reach out to all,
it must reach out the influencer, who matters to their business
Communication: Social media is perhaps the most powerful media
for the word of mouth communication strategy for advertisement. With
millions of users hooked online and constantly communicating with each
other. The open technology allows marketeers to know who is talking to
whom and what they are talking about. Once the company is able to
implant the right communication in these media, the communication can
spread very fast and it enjoys lot of credibility and trust as it is
passed on by a know person. By allowing people to do the talking, the
revenues can sore quickly.
However a traditional company would like to have a direct controlled
communication with his customer and would not want to use social media
for the fear of loosing control on communication and possibility of
Rank Site February 08 February 09 % Growth
1 Twitter.com 475,000 7,038,000 1382%
2 Zimbio 809,000 2,752,000 240%
3 Facebook 20,043,000 65,704,000 228%
4 Multiply 821,000 2,394,000 192%
5 Wikia 1,381,000 3,758,000 172%
Source: Nielson Netview
The fact is that the consumer, who is so much hooked on to the social
media, will share his experience on the web. Hence it's better for
traditional companies to participate in social media communication
rather then stay out of it. This way it stands a chance of responding
back to negative communication, if at all.
Fast visibility and presence: Social media can be used
effectively to improve the visibility and enhance presence and brand
awareness amidst the targeted customers. A good social media profile is
highly visible in multiple channels.
Visibility will be reliance on participation levels, and becoming a
gateway for others is an important factor for building brand familiarity
Most traditional companies would like to stay away from social media
but there is no harm in having a profile or a link at least, which most
of the social networking sites provide for. We as individuals do also
have these profiles.
Ultra low cost strategy All it takes is to engage content writers,
incur initial cost on creating videos and some recurring cost on blog
responders. With the right communications, millions of people can be
reached out, either directly or through word of mouth or through media
sites creating links to your sites.
A fully developed plan for the social networking activity is however
a pre-requisite to approaching a social media site.
Strategies like which site to approach, what kind of messages to give
and whom to approach, needs to be formulated in advance.
Exploiting social media for marketing purposes
Having established the need for the traditional companies to use the
social media for their marketing purposes, we now look into how this can
be best done.
Social media strategy: First and foremost formulate a clear
strategy. What are the requirements and needs? Whom do I target, what
benefits are we looking for? Who should control or lead the social media
management, which social media network do I use and Why? What is the
communication I need to make? These are some of the basis questions
which need to be addressed first. There are traditional companies like
Ford and Tesco which are using the social media very effectively.
Integration: Social media marketing will have to an integral
and additional part of the traditional marketing methods. Both Medias
have to co-exist together.
The company needs to find out which part of their marketing can be
better served by the social media. The company may find that the blogs
are generating more traffic and public interest than the company
The game is to ensure that the consumers get more channels to find
the company. It's important to understand the consumer behaviour on
interactions. Some would prefer phones and some blogs. Accordingly
funnel the interest.
Selling vs. engaging: Social media is not about selling
products. It's about engaging the customers. It's about relationship
building rather than offerings. The increased level of interaction and
engagement can be done in a number of ways. There need to be enhancement
of presence through company blogs where there are news on the products,
reviews, instruction contents, links to company websites and fan groups.
Then the interactions happen through the Facebook and twitter where
there could be live interactions, brand awareness articles. Pod cast
thorough Youtube can bring great visibility.
Finally what matters is what the web users are communicating about
your products. Word of mouth communication gives tremendous publicity.
Technology Integration: This is where most of the traditional company
fears to trade. But it's important to understand that using social media
tools on a stand alone basis is only a half job done.
For taking the full benefit out of it , Facilitate interface websites
and various mobile and desktop applications.
Incorporate Business tweeting tools like CoTweet/Hootsuite provides
the following advantages :-
* Ability for a team to work on a single profile
* Provides analytics and trends
* Integrates company and suppliers networks including archival of all
text messages, post your updates simultaneously to Facebook, Linked
* Provides instant email alerts on user interactivity
The offering and usage of a particular brand can contribute towards
the necessary differentiation of it.
Fine example of 'smart corporate twittering sense' is a key
differentiation factor. Popular business example is American low-cost
Airline service JetBlue having direst customer complain service through
its airline staff that has more than 1.1 million followers since its
launch in 2007.
Brand Building: To take the traditional companies out of its
mold, the social media companies help them in brand's communication and
design in social media context.
Businesses strive to make their brands unique, under the competitive
economic environment. Twitter addresses this through different
dimensions of interaction between a brand and its stakeholders.
Brand equity includes brand strength (addressing brand
differentiation and relevance) and brand stature (addressing brand
esteem and knowledge).