You hear the highlights and the horror stories of companies launching social campaigns on a weekly basis. But who’s the favourite on Facebook? Who’s found treasure on Twitter? We look at the industries that have successfully incorporated social into their sales strategy
It’s distorted business, marketing and advertising beyond any 20th century understandings we previously had of the terms. Of course, we are talking about the impact of social media and despite it often being very confusing, there is no way any company can avoid it these days. It can give companies huge advertising opportunities, providing they can adapt and manage it effectively.
It can be a fine line to tread between a campaign that produces unharnessed sales figures; and one that creates an online PR disaster, resulting in several people losing their jobs. Whoever decided to launch McDonald Stories (#McDStories) must have surely known it could spell trouble. A foray into storytelling marketing is usually a lot more beneficial if it comes from the company itself, rather than from angry customers.
For retailers, Facebook is now an integral part of business. Around 85% of all orders that come from social media are placed through the site – with some industries, such as photography, receiving as much as 98% of their total orders through it (source: Shopify). Inevitably in retail, not all paying customers are going to be happy, but if a store can adequately handle public online complaints, the benefits far outweigh the bother.
Twitter and Facebook are now experimenting with an ecommerce platform that will take another step forward to unlocking the selling power of their sites, without having to navigate away. Using hassle-free payment processors – such as Stripe – will give retailers even more opportunities to develop a successful omni-channel approach.
Despite Twitter’s ‘buy button’ potentially being the answer to quicker transactions, the original concept of ‘micro-blogging’ is already proving to be a valuable medium for other industries; such as Travel and Leisure.
Engaging with customers and travel bloggers is a seamless process for Travel companies on Twitter and it offers the chance of incredible exposure, mainly through reviews. News of a good experience can be very influential for travel customers looking to get away, and a retweet can immediately reach thousands of followers.
For Business to Business professionals, LinkedIn remains top of the pile. It is a place where companies can connect and interact outside of allotted meetings. Financial and Insurance industries benefit a lot from this platform as trust can be built between boardrooms, which always helps to move a deal along.
How long it takes before YouTube replaces the modern day TV is debatable – some may say it already has. For advertisers, it is a medium that performs a similar function and reaches similar numbers. There are approximately 24.7m households (source: Ofcom) in the UK that own a TV, compared with around 40m unique monthly users on YouTube (source: Statista). This means smaller companies can benefit from lower advertising costs on the video site, when taking out a TV advert just wouldn’t be an option. Ambitious new start-ups can even try hacking into the viral nature of YouTube videos, which has the potential to create a success story overnight.
A mobile future
The next generation of social networks are already taking hold and companies are hastily trying to adopt them into their commercial ventures. The only difference now is that they are more likely to be Apps than websites. On April Fool’s Day 2014 a developer released ‘Yo’, an App with one solitary function: to send the word ‘Yo’ to friends.
Such a limited App probably wouldn’t expect to reach number 3 in the iOS download chart; nor would it expect to be used as a successful vote estimator for this week’s midterm elections – but bizarrely it did. As it is often used by young people, USA Today was able to gather more accurate information on voting habits than by using traditional opinion polls.
The unpredictable nature of social media means it is hard for companies to keep up. But for those that do – like USA Today – the benefits can be thoroughly worthwhile.
Do you feel your industry has benefited from Social Media? Or has it made marketing your business more tricky? Feel free to leave your thoughts below