|Are you making the most of your social networking platforms? Most companies are not. Think of your social network platforms (Facebook, Myspace, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.) as another piece of your marketing mix. To build a large following requires a network of all the platforms you have established. Not only can these platforms help you direct traffic to your website, they also allow your customers to communicate with you and fellow buyers on their favorite platform. This puts your customers in charge.
For example, if my family and friends communicate via Facebook, I may be more likely to visit your Facebook page than your website. Of course once I am on your page, I will probably click through to your site. However, I may visit your Facebook page more often since I am already there posting my family photos and communicating with my family and friends. A company, in turn, may be able to market to my friends through me and my activity on Facebook.
This may result in them becoming a fan of your business. The business can then segment them by as detailed of information as you like. For example, post your specials so that they show up on the Facebook homepage of a group of moms at a school who communicate with others via their Facebook pages. You can also offer to contribute to the school whenever any of the school's fans purchase from your business. This gives you a lot of credibility with that group since you care enough to track their group and contribute to their preferred organization.
Victoria's Secret is a good example of social networking marketing. They have made it simple for their teen customers to access their social networks. Victoria's Secret created a dedicated landing page
to address teen products and social interests. Once you click on the
PinkNation button, the bottom of the page lets you click directly to
their social network pages. By segmenting their teen market, they have about 1.4 million fans whose first view of their Facebook page is their specials. The page also promotes communication between fans on their wall who in turn talk about what they love about Victoria's Secret products. They can also get information about Victoria's Secret's Pink promotions and events, segmented right down to the college you attend. Again, this is specific to the teen market.
Many companies lack the commitment that Victoria's
Secret shows in setting up a dedicated web page and social networking
sites for a narrow segment of their market. However, if you think about it,
Victoria's Secret was their mother's store, so in order to make it
theirs, teens feel comfortable in the branding they have accomplished
in PinkNation and VSPink. It is smart generational marketing that will
pay off as the next generation matures.
Each social network represents a piece of your market share. Some of your customers will be more comfortable with Facebook, while others may prefer Twitter, or use both. The best way to determine which one your market communicates with most is to set up your account and track the questions and comments you get. It is also a great way to address any concerns your customers have about the products and services you offer. You have the opportunity to set the record straight in real time.
Some companies think that just by having a Facebook page, their market will find them. However, that alone will not accomplish the goal - you need to coordinate your media mix. Customers are exposed to the social network address from their website, which is then communicated between that network's users. Typically, a customer stumbles on a page through a friend or a hub (website or web listings). The moral of the story: Your network will grow faster if you cross-reference your addresses through a quick link on your website to the other networks and from the networks to your site.