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Social Media Marketing and being your customers Facebook Friend

The remarkable rise of social media over the last few years has forced many companies to take a good look at themselves and their products in order to find their voice in the cacophony of other brands as well as build their brand to stand out from the multitude of other online brands in the social sphere.

Initially it was just all about being seen and having presence along with everyone else who could suddenly be found online. But as with most capitalist venutures (or at the point when you need to justifyyour marketing spend) they will always reach a point when they have to show some form of ROI in order to justify their existence and the time invested in their upkeep. Social media suddenly went from being something most youngsters happily engaged in at a high level of proficiency, to a must have skill for young professionals wanting to make it in the world of marketing and sales.

Interestingly enough this niche has now evolved from something that the youngest person in the company got to do, simply because he/she was almost supposed to be “with it” just because of being younger, to something that is featured in degree programmes at University. Everyone is wanting a piece of it an desperately trying to find the secret path to success in Social Media.

But social media is nothing that new or revolutionary really. Its been around for ages in the form of word of mouth, one of the strongest marketing techniques available, social media just brought this online and to the finger tips of marketeers. The problem today is that many are using it in completely the wrong way.

Working with Social media means you are more than ever before entering the personal space of a person, and therefore you need to tread carefully. This is word of mouth, kind of, except that if it is not your followers who have initiated the contact, everything you send them is actually from a third party, but via their personal communication channel within the sphere of social media. As you can see, its a fine line to balance and get right so you do not look like a stalker.

As companies are spending more and more on social media marketing, how many are actually getting it right? With marketing spend on social network advertising increasing each year, how much of this money is actually being used at least somewhat wisely?

But lets be a bit radical and actually listen to what the users actually say.. Following a report done by eMarketer, most of them just want to keep up to date about good deals, i.e. they want to get something out of the relationship instead of just increasing the viewer numbers or friends of a brands social media site.

So what can companies then offer them in return for their friendship? In other words, how would you evaluate the friendship of your customers? And most importantly, how would you do it in the right way so that you are not spamming them, but actually spoiling them rather than annoying them?

When we take a closer look at what customers actually appreciate and what triggers them to befriend a company we get the answer. Receiving first hand news about promotions, discounts and free stuff top the list, basically feeling special and feeling like they are treated as unique and valuable to the company hits home with most users. They are providing you with their attention and loyalty and sharing their friends lists with you, you should at least carefully look over your company message to make it interesting and relevant to them and try to treat them as friends of the company, not just potential $$$

So what will you can get out of this relationship then? Something that is not easily measureable but worth its virtual weight in gold – You will get affinity to your brand and a public declaration (to all their friends) with their recognition of being a customer of YOUR company and being proud about it!

Social media marketing

Digging a bit deeper this pattern of thinking is reinforced by CMB Consumer Pulse, who in their research shows where this can all start paying off. Having a company or brand as a friend on Facebook or following it on Twitter will substantially increase the likelihood to get real word of mouth going and the possibility of an increased recommendation rate from your existing customers to their friends! And there is not much better than that in marketing..

Befriending companies or brands online

So what are you waiting for? You have all the tools you need available to you, its just silly to sit on your ass and not use them when the ROI can bring you all of this!

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