Social Media Machine; Greater than the Sum of It's Parts

Social media. There it is, the buzzword, the topic that every business owner, marketing agency, and consumer has on the tip of their tongue. It is not an overstatement to boast that platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Linkedin, and Google + have changed the way we live. Businesses must adapt.

As someone who makes their living developing and implementing plans to help businesses harness the power of social media, I have a front row ticket to observe not only what my clients and their consumers are doing on these emerging platforms, I also get to hear about the trials, tribulations, and frustrations they encountered before they signed with us.

One of the most prolific problems I run across is people thinking that social media is going to replace their current or past marketing efforts. The perception that social media is the “magic pill” or potion for instant success, is a hot topic at networking groups and water coolers everywhere. This couldn't be further from the truth. Social media is best utilized as a “piece of the marketing pie.”

Everyone knows that you need to post on Facebook, or tweet on Twitter right? What you’d be surprised to learn is that most businesses owners, heck, even most marketers neglect integrating social media into emails, websites, newspaper ads, radio commercials, point of sale materials and a virtual cornucopia of other marketing mediums. This integration can prove to be one of most powerful ways to utilize your marketing dollars.

Let’s take a look at some examples of how we can integrate social media and amplify the marketing dollars you spend.

- Point of sale materials may be one of the easiest and most overlooked opportunities to capture a customer via social media. Simple solutions for a restaurant may be table tents with a call to action such as “Like us on Facebook for Daily Specials.” This simple message delivers you a customer not only for that one meal, but also a social media follower who will continuously be exposed to your products at no cost to you. Yet another simple idea for fitness studios or gyms is a well-placed sticker on cardio equipment and mirrors that reads “Track your progress on Instagram with #ABCGym.” By leveraging your existing members you make every participant a “brand advocate” with viral potential.

- How many of you regularly email customers? Would it surprise you to learn that that majority of business emails contain little to no mention of the companies social media presence? The simple act of placing social media links in the header of all correspondence allows you to open doors to your brand identity to potential clients as well as current clients. Do you send email blasts, newsletters, or the like? Add two to three bold calls to action covering 20-30% of the screen space. Simple phrases such as “Read More” or “Check this Out” can increase your capture rates dramatically. This moves clients and customers one, two, or three steps along your “road to a sale” taking them from an email reader to a social participant in two clicks of a mouse.

- There are hundreds if not thousands of ways to convert your “single impression leads” (radio, television, newspaper, billboard, etc.) into “multi-impression” (social media, blog subscribers, email subscribers, etc.). By asking open ended questions and giving a call to action involving redemption processes. This gives your $1,000 media ad buy the potential power of a $100,000 media ad buy and all it takes are a few simple and well placed phrases.

It doesn't take much digging and thought to realize how powerful social media truly is, and its power truly exceeds what the average business choose to use. I would challenge you to never again look at only your social media marketing plan on its own. Instead, take the time to plan your entire marketing budget to work in harmony, to leverage the strengths and purposes of each individual medium and integrate them. If you can do this, you will end up with an amazing marketing machine that is greater than the sum of its parts.