As the use of social media is vastly increasing, it is making more and more sense for companies to integrate it into their marketing strategies. You can take channels the consumer uses, and turn it into an opportunity to increase sales. Social media helps to bridge the gap between the company and customer. It allows you to communicate with each other, and is a new form of interaction.
When taking a multi-channel approach, there are several ways that you can combine social media with traditional marketing methods, here we take a look at a few of those.
How to Use Traditional Marketing within Social Media
One of the most popular methods is the use of the hashtag. When people use a specific hashtag, you can click and see what others are posting in regards to that topic. For example people use hashtags when expressing their opinions on a current news story, or ‘live-tweeting’ during television shows. You can also utilise hashtags to increase your sales. By introducing a new hashtag, you can set up contests and encourage customers to share images whilst using the hashtag. This is a good way to gain exposure and get your customers involved. Combining the online and the offline, several retailers are now including posters in their changing rooms, encouraging people to take ‘selfies’ and post them with hashtags. This allows them to see what customers think of their products, view how many people are using their hashtags and of course promote the products to a greater audience.
Social media is also changing customer services. More people are now contacting companies through social avenues to enquire about products and make complaints. Responses to emails often take a few days, so social media is a quicker way to receive a response. It can also be useful for PR purposes because you can control the way that your company is presented. However, when responding to complaints on social media, always be aware that your response will potentially be there for all to see.
Promotions and trends
Get inventive with the way you send out discount codes. Instead of just sending out discount codes to thousands of customers via email, consider taking an old-school customer service approach with the way you do things. If a customer mentions your brand on social media, why not provide them with a personal one-time use discount code? Not only will this catch their attention, it will make them feel incredibly special and provide them with a level of customer service often lost online. It doesn’t have to be just about discount though, when a customer is asking a question on social media, you should go out of your way to ensure that question is answered and that customer is happy.
Social media is also great for identifying current trends. For example on Instagram, there is a trend called ‘Throwback Thursday’, which involves people posting old pictures of themselves. Why not embrace this trend and post pictures of old products or pictures from when you first started out in business – or indeed anything they might engage your audience?
Social media allows you to directly communicate with individual customers. By doing so, you can provide a personalised service and build customer loyalty. For example, if you see a customer talking about a specific product, you can recommend something else that they may enjoy using. You can answer questions and make suggestions. By providing this service, it establishes trust and customers will then feel more inclined to buy from you.
Offering a localised service
If it’s going to be personal, it’s got to be local. Make use of location based social-media apps and set up a system which sends customers push notifications when they’re near your store. Combining traditional retail and mobile technology, these notifications will remind customers that you are nearby. To make it more personal, consider sending out offers that are based on past purchases.
Word of mouth reviews
With the existence of platforms like Twitter; no longer do you have to rely on customers singing your praises via face to face conversations as people now do this online too. Make good use of this by tracking mentions of your brand and retweeting the positive mentions for all to see. It’s a known fact that customers are more likely to trust the opinions of other customers, so make sure these opinions are visible.
Take in-store product demonstrations to the next level by filming the demonstrations and sharing them on YouTube. Doing this will allow your customers to see the products in action, provide an avenue for feedback and provides you with massive opportunities for exposure via sharing.
Integrating social media into traditional marketing allows you to cater for a larger audience at once. Multi-channel retailing is changing the way that people shop and is breaking the barrier between the company and customer.
See also: 2014 Social Media Marketing Trends