By Jenna Lebel
I had the great opportunity this week to speak at NACStech, the trade show for the National Association of Convenience Stores. The session I spoke at was titled Spreading Your Word with Viral Marketing. It was basically an overview of the social media landscape and details and recommendations on how to enter the space with specific examples from retailers like Cumberland Farms (one of our clients) and Speedway who have implemented successful social media strategies. As you can imagine, it was a popular session. While I’d like to think that the content was the best part, I know it was the Q&A. Once we opened the floor up for questions, the real conversation took place. I’d love to highlight all of the questions (as they were different from the Social Media FAQs I wrote about a few weeks back), but one really stood out. A gentleman stepped up to the podium and asked, “How do I sell my company (upper management, C-level staff) on using social media?” I thought the question was so great that I’m going to share the collective answer here.
Sure we can give numbers showing the effectiveness of traditional marketing versus the effectiveness of social media marketing. We can also give you the cost analysis of each. But the simple answer is that social media provides unique opportunities for companies that traditional marketing cannot. These include:
Relationship building: With social media, you have two-way communication allowing for a dialogue with current and potential customers. What other medium allows for that? In turn, you’re able to develop and maintain relationships with your audience. Once you form these relationships you can build trust, keep top of mind awareness, increase brand knowledge, increase brand favorability/preference, and the list goes on.
Real-time communication: Whether for crisis communication, reputation management or simple promotion, social media gives you the opportunity to communicate in real time.
Human experience: Sometimes it can be easy for a person to dislike (or even hate) an organization, but it’s much harder for them to dislike John Smith tweeting from inside that organization. Social media allows you to put a face and personality to your organization.
Low Cost Reach: There are 400 million people on Facebook. Twitter has grown to about 75 million users. YouTube is the second largest search engine after Google. And you have access to all of these users! Trying to reach these people through traditional media comes with a hefty price tag attached. Social media gives you a much more cost effective alternative to reaching the masses. And if you’re doing it correctly, you’ll be reaching the right audience for you!
If this doesn’t convince your organization, turn to the case studies and numbers. They speak for themselves.
Do you have anything else that might help convince internal staff? Or have you had an experience where you’ve had to prove the benefits of social media within your organization? Share in the comments section below!