It’s no secret that social media is here to stay. Many, if not most, companies are grappling with how to incorporate it into their marketing strategy. I’m frequently asked for my thoughts on prioritizing various social media avenues. And while there’s no “one size fits all” answer, here are my general thoughts on the subject.
First, let me make clear that I’m assuming your main goal is to make sales. There are other perfectly valid reasons to use social media, such as streamlining customer service or gathering market feedback. But, from the point of view of making sales, here’s where I think most companies get the biggest bang for the buck:
1. Customer Reviews. A site that’s well populated with customer reviews offers prospective buyers an invaluable decision-making tool. It helps them sort through the options and buy with confidence. It increases your sales and reduces your returns. By highlighting your top-rated products in emails and other advertising, you can build your sales further. And once a review and rating system is set up, little additional work is required on your part.
2. YouTube. As the second largest search engine after Google, YouTube is hard to ignore. Plenty of people turn to YouTube as a source of how-to information, giving you the opportunity to educate them at the same time you introduce them to your company and products. Videos don’t need to be slick, high-production affairs. And considering that you can use the same video on your website and in your emails, you can get a lot of mileage from two or three minutes of informative video footage.
3. Blogs. I’d consider it a close race between blogging and YouTube. Both establish you as an expert, provide helpful information and allow for a soft sell introduction to your company. Both can boost your search engine rankings and open the door to more publicity. I rank blogging after YouTube simply because updating a blog regularly seems to take a more effort for most people.
4. Facebook. The enormous size of Facebook certainly makes it attractive to marketers. And while it does offer a convenient way to strengthen relationships with and garner feedback from your “fans,” it doesn’t seem to be the ideal way to foster immediate sales. Part of the problem, of course, is that people aren’t necessarily in “buying mode” when they’re on Facebook. I believe the marketing potential from Facebook and similar sites will evolve over time, but for immediate sales, I wouldn’t put it at the top of the list yet.
There in a nutshell are my broad generalizations, subject to change depending on the nature of the business in question … and certain to shift as social media evolves over time. I fully expect that many of you will have different ideas on the subject. How would you rank the options, and why?