A recent beer pairing dinner I attended reminded my about a recent social media channel strategy I developed! What does a nice cold beer paired with an entree have to do with social media channel strategy? I asked myself that same question in between the 3rd and 4th course at a pairing dinner at one of my favorite craft-beer joints, Pinocchio’s Beer Garden in Media, PA! You see, in between each incredible course at Pinocchio’s, Belgian and German beers were paired with German-inspired baked goods and tasty locally made cheese by Susan Miller of Birchrun Hill Farms,there was a clear explanation about the role that each beer played with the food! Our hosts explained:
- How each meal or baked good was prepared
- How each cheese was made
- Why each beer was the perfect pairing for the cheese and baked good
There was a certain expectation of each beer, whether it is sour, crisp or heavy, in the way that it complemented the food. Nice! I am not a sour beer fan, but, when paired with the food, I was sold! Now I know how to drink more sensibly within each ‘food group’! Pairing social media channels to do certain marketing jobs also makes sense, like the beer pairing does; whether you are a big brand or small business! This approach is important for you to know because:
- Strengths. Using social media channels to their strengths will help you reach the most customers and engage with them in the best way to buy from you
- Content. Determining channel roles ensures you are developing the best content tailored for the best channel. Remember, you cannot use the same content on Twitter as you do on Facebook, even if it is the same customer!
- Results. You will be able to truly measure the impact of a marketing campaign if you are “using the right tool for the job”.
When serving up a marketing campaign, I tend to pair social media channels with these business goals:
Course #1 – Twitter is paired with the need to broadcast the message. In fact, a recent Vocus study reports that 29% small businesses who felt that social media “helped a great deal” not that it allows them to promote products to people that they have not been able to reach; especially when there have been last-minute deals and events that other marketing outlets could help connect.
- Create buzz around an event or sale. Twitter is a great way to create buzz and extend awareness since messages can be found whether or not customers follow you, as long as you use the right words.
- Connect with bloggers (e.g., Mommy bloggers) and influencers to help amplify a promotional message. Bloggers, thought leaders and influencers are a great springboard for your buzz and awareness, since they can reach customers with which you are not currently connecting!
- Promote content on blogs. Blogs are a great collection of content to point to with your tweeting, since it’s a nice soft sell that first serves the needs of the customers and then the needs of your business!
Course #2 – Facebook is paired with sharing company and community news. Building an engaged community on Facebook is often times tough since Facebook only lets about 20% of your newsfeed to organically break through. So you need some creative and strategic ideas to make your Facebook marketing work for you.
- Run contests. Contests are a great way to build buzz and gain incremental followers!
- Customer service. All brands, large and small, use Facebook as a customer service tool to answer questions. However, many times it the customer who chooses to use this channel as a way to look for customer service, while the business has no intention to pay attention and have a conversation. Bad move!
- Business details (e.g., hours, news, etc.). Since many brands have abandoned web sites for Facebooks and many customers never check out a web site for details (remember, social media is on the CUSTOMER’S terms), you need to include hours and when you are open. By the look of this page, Rita’s says that they are open, even though I rode by the other day and saw that they were closed for the season!
Course #3 – LinkedIn is paired with validating team and ownership expertise. Whatever way you look at it, over 60% of small businesses are using LinkedIn to establish their credibility, find customers and generate sales (2012 Vocus study).
- Make sure you and your team’s profiles are perfect and professional for those that check you out. The first place that many contacts go after meeting you is LinkedIn, so make sure your profile is spectacular!
- Take advantage of the great LinkedIn applications. Depending on your business make sure to take advantage of the great applications like Slideshare, WordPress and Box.in to list supporting marketing materials that will help further establish your credibility.
- Be an expert! Establish yourself as an expert in a relevant LinkedIn Group and on LinkedIn’s Answers.
Course #4 – YouTube is paired with customer support. With 41% of small businesses using YouTube and is the fourth-rated social media channel for usefulness. Next to Google, YouTube is the second most popular search engine. Your small business should be leveraging it to drive engagement and provide customer support! To show what this “how-to” effect works for big brands, Zappos increased their sales conversion between 6-30% based on this type of video customer support
- Educate Customers. Educate with an instructional video on how to use a product. See how Ace Hardware extends their in-store brand image to the web for that 2AM customer support!
- Demonstrate how a product works. When in doubt on how to prepare some of the great food I buy at Wegmans, I go to their YouTube channel! However, not a visit to my favorite Collegeville Deli that I think, gosh, they should create their own videos to show people to how to create awesome Italian dishes with their deep selection or products.
- Entertain. YouTube is a great channel to help humanize your brand, in addition to providing how-to help and customer service! Done correctly, an entertaining clip can help drive traffic your YouTube channel and then help inform customers how to use your products or services!
Course #5 – Blogging is paired with casting a wide net to be help found. Blogs, when used correctly with relevant keywords and optimal formatting, can help you be found by those searching for a solution to a pain point. The recent Vocus study also states that the 77% of the small businesses that said social media helped “somewhat” and a “great deal” noted that it allowed them to address the needs and concerns of customers. Blogging addresses this ability to have that conversation with customers!
- Articulate instructions and ideas for your products and services. Wegmans, although it is a big brand, is one of my favorite stores and does a tremendous job at using their blog to make everyone’s life easier by showing how to do things. Simple things like cook a turkey (is it really THAT simple?) is some great advice to pass on around the holidays.
- Help you understand when you cannot do things yourself. Sometimes instead of a blog that shows you how to do something yourself (e.g., the Wegman’s blog) the best point that you can demonstrate is that you cannot and should not do something. That content can also be worth its weight in gold!
If you need questions answered about additional “courses” and what social media channel pairs well with it, please connect with me @Gerry Moran or moran.gerry@gmail. I’d love to help!
Now, like any good beer (at least in my book), a wonderful libation can go with any meal. So, social media channels can do double- or triple-duty, or in some cases, do completely out-of-character-duty. However, if you approach your social media strategy by assigning key and primary roles for individual channels then you can develop relevant content to do a specific job. This social media channel role assignment will set you up for success for your small-, mid- AND large-sized business!