Social Media Marketing imageSocial media marketing provides a way for businesses and non-profit organizations to generate interest in a cause or product. The social media platforms, Facebook and Twitter, are frequently utilized tools often used to expand a particular audience. By strategically utilizing the various social media platforms, an organization or a business can easily grow a following, which ultimately leads to a powerful community that can be directly marketed to. The primary goal of social media marketing is to create and audience by enhancing the social media influence for a brand or organization.

Developing the appropriate message is essential to a social media marketing strategy. The inability to tailor the appropriate message in a social media marketing campaign can lead to challenges in reaching the desired audience. Social media strategists are often enlisted to create the appropriate message and identify the best strategies to reach the desired audience. Both the numbers and the quality of the audience are important considerations in any social media strategy.

Companies and organizations alike have been able to use a sound social media strategy to assist in various advertising and awareness campaigns. Social media has been used to coordinate fundraising efforts, raise awareness for causes, and enlist volunteers for nonprofit organizations. Businesses can use the social media marketing as a means to solicit feedback from consumers, initiate conversations, or build buzz for a product pending release. Tremendous results can be achieved by strategically leveraging the available social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook to build a formidable web presence.

Understanding how organizations and businesses have been able to successfully use social media platforms to their advantage is the key in understanding how best it can be used to another brand’s advantage. There are quite a few success stories from brands in the nonprofit and business arenas from which inspiration can be drawn.

Social Media For Non-Profits

Fundraising in social media marketing

Nonprofit organizations can use social media to assist in fundraising efforts. Twitter and Facebook have been instrumental in raising awareness for important causes and events. Some nonprofits use the popular social media platforms regularly to request donations for important causes. This can be done in several ways.

Twitter and Fundraising

On Twitter, nonprofit organizations can use the hashtag approach to create a subject. All of the subsequent tweets including the hashtag keep the message consistent, making it easier to follow and participate in. A keyword or an important phrase can be used to coordinate the social media marketing campaign. Any time the message relating to a particular subject is tweeted, the hashtag is used in the allotted characters (maximum length of the message).

Twitter methods and fundraising

Hashtags and consistency in the message from nonprofit social media accounts make it easier to educate the audience on a cause. An organized social media strategy, coupled with the right content, can create the perfect platform for companies to garner the needed financial support for projects and initiatives. Branding an important upcoming event with the use of a hashtag can be used to help individuals follow the developments as they occur before the date of the event arrives. Some social media marketing campaigns use the hashtag to signal to an audience that the message needs to be retweeted. The context of the message may incorporate a request to retweet the message, in which all who read the message can show support by copying the message with the retweet command. Some initiatives have helped organizations raise thousands in record time via Twitter. Simple updates on how and where donations can be sent are another basic way to coordinate fundraising efforts for a nonprofit.

Examples of Twitter and fundraising in social media

One example of a successful social media marketing campaign is Tweetsgiving. In Novemeber of 2009, nearly $11,000 was raised via a fundraising campaign online. Within forty-eight hours, the campaign was able to raise thousands of dollars. People were completely engaged with the campaign and the cause motivated those following the conversation to donate. Twitter can be a powerful fundraising tool for nonprofit organizations if used properly.

Facebook and fundraising

Facebook can also be used in social media marketing for fundraising efforts. There are several ways this can be done with the popular social media marketing platform. One popular method requires the creation of fan page. A fan page that is made public is easier to advertise to a particular audience. When the fan page on Facebook is made available, it becomes a part of the directory listings. This makes it possible for individuals to conduct a simple search in the social media platform. If the page is named after the cause, the user is easily able to find the page and become involved.

Facebook fundraising methods

One approach to Facebook fundraising is the use of messages directed toward individual accounts. Reaching out to fans of the page in a private manner helps the brand engage followers with a personalized message. Within that message, the desired actions can be included. If the user is receptive of the message, then the person can act in the suggested ways provided in the message. Individuals can also follow the status update directly on the fan page. The fan page can include upcoming events, and request that individuals contribute in either time or donations. Facebook groups are a way to engage an audience in a personal way. Connecting with a community in a group setting allows individuals to feel as though they are truly apart of the cause itself. All of these Facebook fundraising methods are utilized by nonprofits effectively.

Facebook fundraising example

The Nature Conservancy was able to raise hundreds of thousands of dollars for its cause. The generous donations were raised primarily through Facebook fundraising efforts, and the funds were used for preservation efforts for wildlife and nature. Not only was the group able to develop a following via the fan page, the group is able to do directly by soliciting donations directly via the page. The users are provided with several options and the page makes it clear that getting involved is as easy as a simple donation.

Volunteers and social media

Using social media to educate the audience on the importance of taking action is one way to utilize a campaign. If taken a step further, the message can be tweaked to generate a genuine interest in taking action among followers. If the message is direct and clear, it is clear to the audience what is needed to help with the cause. Whether it is about generating interest for an issue, or getting volunteers to pitch in on an important initiative, social media marketing can be instrumental in the coordination of volunteer drives.

Twitter and volunteers

Twitter can be used to communicate with an audience about how people can sign up to become involved in a project. It can also be used to direct people to a Facebook fan page or to a particular website where individuals can ‘learn more’ about signing up for an event. Broadcasting the numbers of individuals that are needed for an upcoming cause is another way to utilize Twitter to coordinate volunteers. It can also be utilized to broadcast directly from the location. Some nonprofits have used it to generate interest in the event by ‘reporting live’ from the occasion. This approach helps nonprofits gain last-minute volunteers for an event.

Twitter volunteer recruitment method

Tweeting information to the followers the specific needs of an organization is one method. Redirecting them to an actual site or Facebook page where they are able to sign up for specific events is another approach to volunteer recruitment.

Twitter volunteer recruitment example

Animal Rescue agencies use the Twitter to generate interest among followers. In addition to soliciting donations, they also offer a variety of ways for followers to become involved. They typically offer opportunities to adopt pets and volunteer with the pet adoption drives throughout the area. They often tweet the links to the volunteer sign-up page consistently to remind people of how they can make a difference.

Facebook and volunteers

Facebook can also be used to motivate individuals to volunteer. Some individuals encourage visitors to sign up on the page for a monthly newsletter. Others may use the Facebook fan page to request sign-ups for upcoming events. This makes the process of signing up for events that much easier for people to become involved.

Facebook volunteer recruitment method

Recruiting through the community pages, which are developed around a subject matter, is one way to go about recruiting volunteers on Facebook. Inviting discussion on a particular page is another way to promote volunteering opportunities. Sign-up pages and applications can be added to a Facebook page for added convenience.

Facebook volunteer recruitment example

Wings of a Dove Domestic Violence Shelter uses the Facebook as a way to educate the audience on the importance of its case. It communicates its message, objectives and initiatives, while underscoring the importance of getting involved. The fan page discusses how volunteer lawyers are instrumental to the cause, and outlines how the funding is used to provide the training needed to help women in need of such assistance. The discussion topics within the Facebook page create the opportunity for the audience to become active in the discussion, effectively making them a part of the solution.

Businesses use of social media marketing

Business use social media marketing to maintain their corporate image in several ways. Some may use it for the purpose of generating anticipation for an important announcement. Others use it to monitor how receptive the audience is to a newly launched product or services. Others use social media to advertise promotional offers. Corporations can use social media platforms to their benefit in many different methods.

Product launch in Facebook

Businesses coordinate product launches in Facebook in several ways. Some use the Facebook fan page as a landing page or mini-website, where product details and other information is provided directly on the page. Some use the Facebook fan page as a means to redirect traffic to an actual website, as is the case with Volkswagen.

Product launch method in Facebook

Participation in discussions that focus on a subject of interest is one way to execute a product launch in Facebook. Creating a page to act as a landing page is an entirely different approach. A developer can customize the page to boost the appeal of the page and add the necessary applications to make it engaging and user-friendly.

How Volkswagen used Facebook in product launch

Businesses like Volkswagen utilize their international Facebook fan page to launch products. It launched the Polo GTI completely through the Facebook fan page with the goal of targeting a younger demographic. This will become a major product launch trend, and it appears that companies will continue to follow the trend. As companies experiment with this approach to product launches, social media marketing experts are sure to continue the exploration of formulas that could perfect the experimental approach.

Product launch in Twitter

Businesses have been using social media marketing platform Twitter to launch products for years. Some user the status updates to direct traffic to a site. It can also be used to drive traffic to an interactive Youtube channel, where individuals can subscribe to a channel and remain updated on the latest developments for an anticipated product. Others use the Twitter to direct traffic to a blog in order to gather more information of the product. On the blog, the specifics on a product or service can be explained in further detail.

Product launch method in Twitter

It is possible to use Twitter to build buzz by tweeting important developments. Providing an insider perspective on a product in the works can makes a customer feel as though they are a part of something big. Personalizing the product launch via Twitter is one way to go about a product launch. Some businesses build up anticipation around a time when a new product announcement will be made regarding a product. Videos, trailers, blog posts and consistent teasers in Twitter are focused on the anticipated launch of a new product.

How Cisco used Twitter for a product launch

Cisco used Twitter and social media in 2008 to generate interests in its products. The technical company, which is an industry leader in networking, leveraged the platform to actually cut expenses associated with the typical product launch. The results were phenomenal, the brand ended up saving hundreds of thousands of dollars for the launch of the Aggregated Services Router. Cisco was able to connect with millions of followers on Twitter and cut product launch costs using social media marketing.

Social media and customer feedback for businesses

Social media marketing is used to gain consumer feedback on a service or product offered. In social media, the ability to transmit negative remarks about a poor customer experience has contributed to the expanded use of social media for handling customer complaints. Many companies use the social media platform to gain feedback on the customer experience.

Customer feedback through Twitter

Social media marketing and Twitter is used by companies to gather feedback on the customer experience in several ways. Some use it to monitor quietly what others have to say about a brand, product or customer experience. Others engage the vocal users to gather specifics on the circumstances surrounding a poor customer experience. In general, social media is used to monitor feedback in a qualitative research type of way.

Customer feedback method

A customer service team can be put in place to monitor tweets, and those tweets can be added to a corporate forum to be addressed. From then on, status updates can be provided via Twitter. Another approach is to address the complaint directly in the open, and supply resources in the form of a link, page, or tutorial to help a customer navigate the issue. Through private direct messages, specific information on a customer issue can be addressed and resolved using Twitter in a more private manner. Approaching the customer with a request for a follow provides a means for the company and the individual to further discuss an unfavorable customer experience, making it easier to eliminate the issue altogether.

Promotional offer and Twitter with Dell

Dell was able to drive sales through the use of an innovative coupon mechanism. The followers of the brand on Twitter were able to generate millions in sales. The coupon was designed solely for the purpose to be offered to the Twitter followers using the TwitQpon.

Marketing in Facebook

Facebook is used by companies to gather customer feedback in several ways. Visitors are encouraged to offer feedback about a product by questions presented to them in the status update stream. Individuals are also encouraged to “like” the page if they enjoyed a particular product or service. Discussions on issues customers have with a product or service can also be addresses through the social media account on Facebook.

Facebook customer feedback method

Facebook customer feedback mechanisms can be provided through several tools within Facebook. A testimonials application can be used to solicit feedback from customers. Encouraging Facebook users to “like” a page is another way to boost the popularity of a page, which can lead to additional customer feedback. Contacting the customer directly through private messages is a way to get a better feel for the customer’s experience. In the updates, a stream of updates can include ways for customers to provide feedback. Survey tools are also available in Facebook for businesses that want a more streamlined approach to gathering customer feedback.

Facebook, Choice Hotels and customer feedback

Choice Hotels once struggled with the ability to coordinate the feedback it received from customers. The large brand had thousands of locations and brands throughout the US, so the need for a structured format to organize customer feedback was the biggest challenge. The reviews and feedback provided by customers is delivered manually through the Facebook page, making it easier to assess the quality of the customer experience.

Innovative ways to use Twitter

There are other ways social media marketing in Twitter can be done. Businesses and organizations alike are experimenting now more than ever with Twitter to truly harness the potential of the social media.

Twitter and promotional offers

Some internet marketers have managed to use Twitter as a way to create promotional offers for followers. Some businesses are able to use it to offer promotional codes to followers. By tweeting the promotional offer links for a website or special offer codes, businesses can generate sales. Upcoming promotional information on an offer advertised through tweeting helps some businesses improve customer loyalty and generate sales.

Twitter to start conversation

Twitter can also be used by a business to start a conversation. By tweeting with certain keywords or joining in on a conversation, the business can get a pulse for what customers think about a certain type of product or service. By interacting with consumers, a business can follow the conversation on products or services being offered to an audience. In fact, some companies use it to follow competitor feedback to identify ideas and areas for improvement.

Twitter to build communities

Twitter can also be used to build a community. The businesses use the Twitter to target individuals interested in a topic. Some businesses follow those who tweet frequently about a topic, while others may simply talk to those who mention certain keywords. Most businesses have a coordinated approach to targeting certain customer profiles to draw them away from the open spaces to an isolated community. Building a relationship with the audience through engagement helps businesses invite good candidates to a forum, discussion, emailing
list, or subscriber for the purpose of building a community.

Twitter for testimonials

Some businesses use the Twitter to tweet testimonials and customer feedback. When customers post feedback to forums or websites, the business can use those tweets to promote products and services. The tweeted testimonials are used to attract potential followers, and advertise the benefits of purchasing the products and services the people have received well.

Twitter for lists

Using the Twitter lists features help businesses compile conversations on a topic. Businesses can use these lists to attract followers interested in the particular subject. If the list is of value, the Twitter followers will regularly utilize the lists, and the company responsible for keeping it updated to gain credibility. The lists provide incentives for followers to regularly tune in.

Twitter and employee recruiting

Some businesses have learned to use Twitter and social media for recruitment initiatives. Some recruiters follow keywords to identify candidates with a potential skill set. If the keyword is mentioned, a recruiter may reach out to the person or tweet them a link to a current job opening. Other recruiters simply use automation tools to fill their timeline of updates with jobs openings. Recruitment for businesses looking to hire can be done through Twitter.

Twitter blog posts

Companies that maintain a regular blog may use Twitter to alert followers that there has been a change or update to a blog. The information on the blog and the title of the posts are tweeted to followers. The keywords in the title alone can be an effective way to cultivate followers for a blog using Twitter. Some businesses tease the updates in their timelines and others look out for fellow colleagues by regularly retweeting (republishing) those tweets to their followers.

Twitter and problem-solving

Businesses have been able to use Twitter with great success for problem-solving. This is especially the case with telecommunications companies and technical companies. Some technical professionals struggling with a problem may tweet to followers a question or scenario. They may apply a hashtag to invite others to join the conversation. In response, people may tweet a solution directly at the person who initiated the inquiry. Some may simply retweet the question to other followers to broaden the reach to potential experts capable of answering the question.

Twitter and customer service

Companies use Twitter for customer service in one of several ways. Some businesses have a team dedicated to following a discussion on a product or service. Others use Twitter as a way to troubleshoot customer problems and guide them to a resolution. Telecommunications service providers use Twitter to update followers on important software updates or report on the status of area outages. As a problem-solving tool, Twitter can be used in a variety of ways. From a customer service perspective, issues and concerns can be handled in the interactive social media platform in a highly effective way.

Innovative approach for using Facebook

Facebook and promotional offers

Facebook can be used by businesses as an additional advertising resource. A company can purchase advertising space, which can be display conveniently in the sidebar of a Facebook page. Fans or friends of the brand can receive updated information on the promotional offers available. On the fan page, or through the actual account, promotional codes can be added as an update to the page. Friends and fans can see the promotional information as the pages are updated. Taking a personal approach to advertising is also an option for businesses; messages can be sent to an inbox about upcoming sales or promotional offers.

Facebook to start conversation

The discussion settings in Facebook provide an invaluable platform to launch conversations. A simple question can be presented to those monitoring the page in an informal manner using a basic update. An alternative method is also available; businesses can start mini-discussions that act as forums to encourage participation by fans of the page. The informal approach to soliciting feedback provides away for companies to reach an audience outside of the website alone.

Facebook to build communities

Facebook is used to build communities by some businesses. Community pages serve as a knowledgebase for users. Businesses can create the pages around services and products they offer. The focus of the page isn’t so much about marketing products or services; it’s more about informing the audience to attract fans to the page on a regular basis. A quality community page is focused on content and branded around a subject. The benefit to these pages is that they have a higher search engine visibility. Companies looking for a way to increase exposure through the provision of useful and meaningful content use the Community Pages to grow an audience.

Facebook for testimonials

Facebook offers testimonial tools that could be beneficial for businesses. Some businesses utilize the testimonial application to incorporate testimonials into their timeline. Any time a testimonial is created by an individual, alerts are sent to the accounts. The testimonials are displayed directly within the page to the viewers.

Facebook and employee recruiting

Facebook is often used by businesses as recruitment tool. Some HR departments for businesses set up a page dedicated completely to the recruitment of job candidates. The information about the company and benefit information is included on the page. Job openings with the descriptions provided are also included on the recruitment page. The layout is structured similarly to an HR page found on an actual website. Once the links for the opening are clicked by the user, a more detailed job description is provided to the user, and the option to submit an application is provided. Should a person find that the position is a good fit for another person; a share button is present, allowing one to forward the job opening to a colleague.

Facebook blog posts

Businesses can use the Facebook page to republish blog posts. The updates published to the page can be automated. In addition to the links to blog posts, conversation is also incorporated into the updates. Some businesses even use the page to post other content relating to the subject matter to supplement the blog posts and materials. Engaging the fans of the page through conversation and blog posts has helped companies cultivate an organic following.

Facebook and problem-solving

Facebook is also used in problem-solving manners. It can be done through an actual fan page or a community page. Some companies have used the Facebook page to offer advice to an audience. A company that focuses on food products can use the page to offer advice to the target niche. A clothing brand could use the page as a means to create a body acceptance or health awareness page for their desired audience. Using Facebook for the purpose of problem-solving can be used in a variety of methods. Some use it to offer general advice on a subject matter that may be of benefit to an audience. It can also be used to help customers resolve technical problems, and provide tutorials.

Facebook and customer service

Some companies use the Facebook page to answer customer frustrations. Often customers use the microblogging tools as a means to prevent frustrations from a customer experience. Facebook helps a customer easily tackle and resolve customer complaints quickly. The ability to respond to customer frustrations promptly makes it possible for businesses to reduce the likelihood of a complaint hitting a major forum. Even posts made anonymously within Facebook can be used to advantage of business, as businesses are able to update the audience with steps being taken to resolve issue. Acknowledging that there is a problem that frustrates customer is only one aspect of customer service in Facebook. It can also be used to update the audience on the steps taken to resolve the matter. It is highly effective as an issues tracking mechanism for companies.

Conclusion

Facebook and Twitter can be used by businesses and nonprofits for a variety of purposes. Social media can be leveraged to help make a difference, serving as an awareness platform for nonprofits. In business, the social media tools can be used to cultivate relationships and for advertising purposes.

The use of both social media tools can also be used as a means to increase awareness by educating the public on an importance cause. Soliciting donations and volunteer recruitment efforts can be handled through Twitter and Facebook. By engaging the audience effectively through information, and offering the various ways to contribute to a cause, nonprofits can accomplish community outreach efforts and objectives in a powerful and cost-effective way.

The ability to provide a sounding board for frustrated customers provides a company with feedback and resolve customer grievances. An audience can be created through the use of social media. By following the trends and discussions through the social media platforms, a company can learn more about the consumer behavior, while keeping a close eye on the needs and attitudes of an audience. Keeping track of the competition, or learning from others, are both creative approaches to using social media to the advantage of a company.

From networking opportunities to building communities, social media platforms Twitter and Facebook can create the ultimate opportunity to reach a wider audience in unconventional methods. The social media strategy, if properly tailored, can boost any entity’s social media influence. Social media influence is about engaging the customer by creating a memorable experience. The proper social media strategy can help build communities, shape discussions, and meet challenges for a nonprofit or brand.

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