Unleash That Social Media Marketing Beast Within

Image by: qmnonic
By Gordon J. Pruitt

Men are social animals. That’s why bars are everywhere (that, and we’re a bunch of heavy drinkers). So, why not take advantage of that desire to communicate and build your business at the same time through social media? It is easier than you think, way cheaper than billboards or newspaper ads, and it has been proven effective time and time again.

Besides, Angry Birds is getting old anyway.

And social media marketing can work for just about any kind of business. For example, Smashburger – the exciting “new” Colorado-based burger chain – grew from just a few stores into a nationwide phenomenon in a few short years. They now boast more than 150 outlets across the country and show no signs of slowing down anytime soon. How did they do it? By using social media as an ultra-effective communications tool, serving up coupons and contests on Facebook followers, engaging bloggers and monitoring customer comments on Twitter and Facebook.

Even the big boys are doing it. Instead of acting like an aging dinosaur, auto giant Ford has embraced social media in such a way that they are teaching the young bucks a lesson or two in how to harness the power of THE NEW WAY FORWARD. They’ve not only earned hundreds of millions of dollars in sales in the process, they’ve also build brand loyalty to help solidify their future.

“Combining social media, entertainment and unexpected consumer experiences will allow us to connect with audiences through every type of media,” offered Jim Farley, Ford group vice president of marketing, in a statement released around their latest multi-platform campaign, “Random Acts of Fusion.”

Ford has gone so far as to give influential bloggers and Twitter types test vehicles at no charge to get those keyboards and touch screens screaming “the new Ford is here … and it is a winner.”

One of the hottest social media platforms right now is Instagram, the photo-based media phenomenon, which got a huge boost when it was bought by Facebook. Now that it is wholly integrated into the titan of modern media, it has seen its numbers explode. People love photos, and if done right, an Instagram campaign can keep your customers – or would-be customers – coming through the door or visiting your website.

“… Companies can quickly build brand recognition and consumer loyalty through an ongoing stream of photos that help personalize their brand,” says Entrepreneur columnist Kim Lachance Shandrow.

And PLEASE, for the love of Steve Jobs, do not forget about the effectiveness of blogs. In fact, content marketing and copyright service provider CopyPress just released some figures resulting from an aggressive blogging campaign and – wow – they are staggering. According to ShoeMoney.com, in three months CopyPress realized a 382% increase in overall traffic to their site, a 300% jump in Facebook traffic and an extra 1,000 subscribers to their email newsletter. All of that helped to boost their closed sales numbers by 100%.

The old man on the block – email – still ranks right up that as well. Exciting new tools such as the People Acquisition & Retention Program – or PAR for short – can work wonders for companies young and old looking to expand quickly.

“PAR captures users who would have otherwise left your website and uses our proprietary patent pending intelligence system to give you critical demographic information,” says the company’s website. That info includes social networks, household income, marital status and the number of children – all valuable data to marketers.

Well, beasts … it is time to roar.