Social Media Marketing is no different than other marketing tactics — at least in the need to follow basic marketing principles. While how you use social media is different than many other channels (because it’s networking and conversationally based), if you don’t follow basic marketing principles, your efforts may not be as effective as they could be — or they may not work at all. When a tactic isn’t working, people tend to blame the tactic, but sometimes (often), it’s in how the tactic is implemented.
Satisfy a Need
The only reason people buy from you is because your products or services satisfy a need (even if the need is to feel more important or happy). In order for it to be effective, it’s important for social media marketing to fulfill the needs of your customers. Needs fulfilled through social networking may not be entirely the same as needs satisfied by buying your products (but probably are related). Understanding the needs of your customers so that you can satisfy them will make any marketing tactic more successful.
A product or service also needs to provide good value in return for satisfying a need. If the price is too high for the perceived value, then an individual will not buy the product. Perceived value is what’s important — not how much profit margin you’re making. Products that are priced to low can also suffer because the low price gives them a low perceived value.
Most of the value you’re providing in social media marketing is in content and communication (which is largely free to the customer). However, if you’re providing valuable information through social channels, people will attribute that value to your brand and to other things you sell. Delivering valuable content also allows you to build your reputation as an expert in your field which makes your products and services more valuable.
Whatever claims you make, be sure to back them up (either through social channels or other marketing channels). If you claim your engine has the lowest maintenance costs, prove it. If you think you’re an expert in your field, prove it. Think about what types of information have to prove your claims. Think about how you can get people who have experienced your claim to testify to it’s accuracy (testimonials, ratings, word of mouth). Social media can be a powerful promotional tactic provided that you prove any claims you’ve made (or think about how others can help you prove them).
Frequency, Reach & Yield (FRY)
To increase revenue, you either need to increase the frequency that your customers are purchasing from you (frequncy), increase the number of customers (reach) or increase the amount that’s purchased each time (yield). Having conversations and providing valuable content are good tactics for social media, but it also helps to think about how you’re going to use social media to increase your revenue. Are you going to use social media to try to reach out to new potential customers (reach)? Are you going to provide great support for current customers so they’ll purchase more often (frequency)? Are you going to inform your customers so that they’ll be more likely to buy your upsells (yield)? Thinking about these tactics will help make social media a valuable tool in your marketing strategy, but will also help you understand how to measure what you’re doing on social media.
How do you apply basic marketing principles to social media?
(photo by lobo235, on Flickr)