In the 20th century, advertising was pushed to us through print, billboards, radio, and television. Now we are bombarded by ads on those forms of media, plus so many others. Add to the mix banner ads, text messages, vehicle wraps, email marketing, product placement, seat-back trays, even something known as urinal advertising! How is a consumer supposed to know which messages they can trust and which ones they should avoid? (Tip: avoid the ads at the urinals and pay attention to what you’re doing!)
This is where social networks come in. Before social networks, the only way that you could know what a trusted friend thought of a product or service was to have a dialog with them, either verbally or in written correspondence. Now, with the power of social networks, it is much easier to get updates from our friends and family about their likes and dislikes. When I have a great experience at a local restaurant, I am likely to let the world know via my Twitter and/or Foursquare accounts. That is instant word-of-mouth advertising! When I “like” that restaurant on my Facebook page, the world knows instantly. No more waiting around to run into me in the local bowling alley or wait by the mailbox for a postcard I sent from the restaurant!
Better yet, once I follow a business on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or Foursquare I now have a relationship with that business. I can communicate with the business to let them know my feelings about their product or service. I will also receive messages from the business whenever they have something they want to tell me. In this case, I am no longer being pushed a message, but I have decided to pull messages to me. Since I have opted to receive these messages, they have more value to me personally than those push messages I receive from the radio, TV, outdoor, or newspaper.
This is a great time to market a business. Rather than just telling your customer base why your brand is so awesome, you can now have a genuine relationship with your customers. Use social networking for lead-generation, feedback from customers, couponing, education, but most importantly, to build and maintain a relationship.
In today’s world, allow the word-of-mouth message of social networking to flow from you, through your customers, to potential customers. Large and small businesses alike must embrace this new form of marketing. At The Ohlmann Group, we can help you with your 21st century word-of-mouth marketing and customer relationship management.
How do you use social media to broaden your relationships with customers?