NOTES FROM OUR SOCIAL MEDIA WEBINAR
A couple of weeks ago, the Aeroseal marketing team sponsored a webinar for our dealers that focused specifically on social media marketing. The one-hour session gave a nice overview of social media, underscored its basic use and value and highlighted three of the most popular social media platforms: Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. It was one of the best attended webinars we’ve held to date, and we continue to field inquiries from attendees wanting to learn more. For those who were unable to make it to the original webinar event, here is a recap of the main points made during the session.
The presentation began with a general overview of social media. Whether you’re talking about Facebook, Twitter or any one of the hundreds of other popular social media sites on the web today, they all have one thing in common – sharing. By name and definition, all social media platforms are intended to be used for the sharing of information and ideas – usually within online communities with similar interests.
The biggest marketing advantage of social media is that this sharing is typically done through online word of mouth. When a family shares their vacation photos on Facebook or Twitter, it’s immediately sent to their friends and relatives (and high school classmates, business colleagues and anyone else that may be following their page online). If they rave about the great time they had at Disneyland, for instance, they offer an endorsement that is more valuable for future Disney sales than anything the company could generate through advertising. FACT: referrals or reviews from friends and family are more effective at influencing sales than any other marketing strategy.
Other facts of note about social media:
• 82% of business owners say they see value in social media marketing (SMM).
• 83% of business owners believe SMM creates brand loyalty and increases customer perception of their trustworthiness.
• 60% or more of Facebook and Twitter users give recommendations for products and services in their posts.
There are other advantages to including social media in your marketing mix:
• It’s advertising that is relatively inexpensive if not “free.”
• It has the potential to reach large numbers of people.
• It doesn’t take a specialist to use.
• TV watching is at a decline, while the time Americans spend on social media is increasing dramatically.
To this last point, research verifies the increasing use of mobile devices for social media interactions. For an ever-growing number of consumers, smart phones, tablets, laptops and other mobile devices are becoming the primary tool for connecting to the Internet and hence, to online sites such as Facebook and YouTube. For businesses, this means that the strategic use of social media can be a valuable way to get your message across to customers no matter where they are – at work, shopping, having lunch or wherever they use their phone or iPad.
The Aeroseal social media webinar gave an overview of marketing on several social media outlets, including Facebook, YouTube and Twitter. Since much of the basic strategy of these various sites are similar, we’ll review one here – Facebook marketing.
More than 128 million Americans regularly log on to Facebook. 20% of those users share articles they find and much more are likely to click on links they receive in posts that catch their interest.
And it’s not just kids. In fact, young people are actually less likely to use Facebook than they were a few years ago. At the same time, grown ups are signing up like never before. Facebook added 10.8 million 25-34 year olds to its roster in the past year alone. The biggest growth, however, came among adults over the age of 55, where Facebook added 12.4 million new users for a massive 80.4 percent growth.
Just like a website, the more people who connect to your Facebook page, the bigger your audience. Unlike your website, however, they don’t need to visit your actual page to get your message. If a customer “follows” you on Facebook or “likes” your page/comment, he or she may automatically receive the new posts you generate. So a main goal is to get people to follow and like your page and your posts.
A question came up on the webinar about the difference between follow and like: If several people “like” a post you put up on your Facebook page – say, tips on saving energy – anyone else who sees that post will also see who liked it. The post will also appear on all those “likers” timelines for their followers to see it. If someone follows your page, they automatically receive all your public posts.
I’ll add that if they “friend” you, then they automatically follow you – and you follow them. If all that sounds confusing, the bottom line is that having people like, follow or friend you can help you spread your message to others.
Here are some tips for getting people to follow, friend or like your stuff:
• Don’t be all sales. This is a social network site, so be social.
• Occasionally offer coupons or discounts or Facebook-only specials
• Be informative. Share useful news and information about utility rebates, energy-saving tips, testimonials from happy customers and DIY projects.
• This could also be a great place to start a contest.
• Be local. Include information about the little league team that your company sponsors, or the 10K race you ran, or the weather or….?
Many of those who follow or like you, are probably following and liking many others as well. That means there is a bit of competition to get your stuff on their page in as visible a fashion as possible. Facebook technology analyzes the various posts and ranks each according to potential interest to others. To maximize the exposure of your posts on other pages, you’ll want to post regularly and get as many people to like, comment and share your posts. To accomplish this, consider asking questions, taking polls or using other means to engage your readers. In fact, you can simply ask people to comment or like your post.
One of the nicest things about Facebook marketing is that results can be measured and analyzed. Look for the “Insights” link found on your Facebook home page. You’ll see how you can get valuable information such as top posts, who is following you, a breakdown of your followers’ demographics and information on the time your followers are most likely to be online. This last bit of information can give you a good indication of when the best time would be for you to post new information.
Lastly, the webinar covered general information about advertising and boosting posts on Facebook.
There are several very attractive features to advertising on the Internet. One of the biggest ones is that, on lots of sites like Google or Facebook, advertisers are only required to pay when someone clicks a link on the ad. This pay-per-click option can reduce overall marketing costs, while increasing the chances of engaging with authentic leads.
It also takes advantage of one of the most important characteristics of these types of Internet sites…they are all constantly collecting information about you. While this may have its negative side, it’s a boon for marketers. When you advertise in the newspaper, for instance, you are reaching a lot of people in hope that a fraction of readers will be interested in your services. But if your ad is targeted to appear on the search results page, every time someone Googles “effective duct sealing methods,” chances are much higher that this particular person will be interested in Aeroseal.
In this case, Google “knew” the user was interested in duct sealing, and so it sent them an ad about that very topic.
Now, imagine what Facebook knows about you. By reviewing the content of your site, it may easily determine when you were born, where you live, your favorite hobbies, the music you like, the car you drive, your political views and anything else you might have discussed.
With this information, Facebook can offer marketers a way to get their advertising in front of specific people – say, those in the Chicago area who own their home, have an income of $45,000+ and are concerned with energy savings.
Not a bad way to target your advertising. Not only do you reach the right audience, but you can sculpt your message more effectively. For instance, you would want to advertise Aeroseal’s ability to reduce energy use when targeting those who have expressed concern over rising utility costs, and change that advertisement to highlight IAQ when reaching out to families that suffer with allergies.
Pay-per-click advertising on social media sites like Facebook can be an effective means of reaching your target audience. Note that there are a variety of tools to help you maximize your campaign and analyze your results.
Another option Facebook provides is called boosting.
While your new posts go out to those that Like or Follow you, you can quickly reach many more people by paying to boost your post. Facebook will then send it out to others they think will find your topic of particular interest. Here again, Facebook uses the information it has collected on all its users, to seek out and find those that may be most interest in the topics you are writing about.
The cost for boosting a post is determined by several factors, most importantly, how many more people you hope to reach. It can cost a few bucks or hundreds of dollars per post – you decide your budget and the parameters for who receives your boosted post.
As you can see, social media sites offer a variety of marketing options for businesses of all sizes and budgets. Some effective social marketing strategies are so simple and require so little resources that they should be seriously considered by anyone looking to find new customers and build brand loyalty. The more you engage with these sites, the better you get at it (and the more fun they can be as well). Still, they do require time, and learning the nuances of each site can lead to better, more effective marketing results. For this reason, many businesses opt to relegate a specific person inside the company or an outside social media expert to run their social media marketing program.
But whether you opt to spend the time yourself or delegate the activities to a social media expert, social media marketing is an increasingly critical element of a solid marketing program. Ignoring these sites is simply passing up real opportunities to gain new customers and strengthen the relationships with the customers you already have.
As usual, we’ve posted a recording of the Aeroseal social media marketing webinar, which you may view at any time. Click here to register to view. Also, if you have any questions or would just like to chat about your current social media program, don’t hesitate to give the experts at Brenner Associates, Aeroseal’s agency of record, a call at (503) 736-0610.