Fighting Recession With Social Media – Part 2

Ramp up your marketing

Companies ranging small and large are increasingly turning to outside blogs, viral videos and websites such as Facebook, Twitter, FriendFeed and Digg — and their tens of millions of users — to reach consumers. Instead of cringing at the idea of relinquishing control to social media outlets, smart executives realize that there is more benefit in joining the conversation than fighting it. Instead of controlling information about your brand, your social media strategy should be about engagement.

Advertising as we know it is expensive; social media is cheap. For this reason, the recession is bad news for traditional marketers, while the same environment is full of opportunities for social media marketers. Setting up a company blog or a Facebook page is significantly less expensive than traditional marketing. Even creating your own community web site can be significantly cheaper than traditional advertising campaigns.

Social media marketing is not without risk. While every company wants to generate buzz, online backlash can be vicious. Recently a Motrin commercial aimed at moms created quite a stir. You can view the ad on YouTube as did another 210,000 people. The ad makes the apparently condescending claim that carrying babies in a sling is a painful experience for moms. According to moms, the ad was wrong and they made it loud and clear through social media applications such as Twitter. Some moms found the Motrin ad outright offensive, and they were quite vocal about it. You can catch them on YouTube. Of course, the disaster doesn’t end there. It continues on a myriad of blogs, and carries on in a Facebook page dedicated to boycotting Motrin. The backlash ad on YouTube can be viewed.

What to do when your target rejects your ad? Turn to social media. Instead of rejecting the market reaction Johnson & Johnson could have used social media applications to learn about their market prior to creating and publishing the controversial ad. There could have been a Facebook page created to learn about young moms and pain. There could have been a blog inviting moms to provide video testimonials on YouTube. The lesson learned in this case is to use social media to learn about your market, or be prepared to be taught very quickly and painfully.

Reduce your expenses

Save time and money on travel and use LinkedIn to network. Instead of driving to the other end of town fighting your way through traffic use the largest business social network to build new connections and to nurture existing ones. Only attend your most valuable networking events, and transfer as much of your networking as you can to the web. LinkedIn, Plaxo, and Facebook are some of the best social networking applications.

Reduce your legal fees through a fairly new social media site called Docstoc. It is a place to find and share professional documents such as contracts, confidentiality agreements, intellectual property documents and more. Docstoc is a social community resource that enables anyone to find and share professional documents. The site provides an opportunity for individuals and organizations to share their professional documents. Documents available on Docstoc can be easily searched, previewed and downloaded for free.

Decrease your recruiting costs as you hire your employees though Craigslist, which has quietly become one of the most visited websites in cyberspace. It offers a much cheaper way to recruit online, and your company can expect excellent response rates for your job posts.

Putting it all together

Are more companies turning to social media in this economy? They should if they want to improve their marketing efficiencies, enhance their customer service experience, or develop their research techniques. Social media allows companies to engage with the customers instead of shouting about their own wonderfulness. It offers ways to business to partner with the community in an effort to develop a better product. In the end everybody wins because both the company and the consumer end up with a better product.

Virtually all companies can benefit from using social media not just to create awareness, but also to become part of the conversation. Managing your corporate reputation is impossible without social media, and ignoring it can be outright devastating. Instead if fighting against it, embrace it as it rockets your business forward as it deepens your relationship with the only reason you are in business for, your customer.

George Meszaros

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