The other day I joined a Webinar on “Winning Back the Customer: Why Social Media Matters in a Down Economy”. I found it very interesting and wanted to share a few pointers they made. Due to our economic status, it’s not uncommon to find businesses prioritizing their budget expenses.
Contrary to myths, people are not spending less and are not opting for a cheaper brand of a specific product or service. What they are doing is prioritizing. This means people are weighing their purchases across categories, so it’s no longer Starbucks vs. home made coffee but it’s Starbucks vs. going to the movies tonight. For businesses this is not good news because it is no longer competition between brands but competition between unrelated brands.
In recessions, people are trying to figure out what is best for them. They are trying to understand what relates best to their lives at this point. This is where businesses need to up their game and start using social media to show their customers how their product or service fits into their customer’s lives.
Most businesses are beginning to panic and are pulling out of services they feel won’t be helpful in the long run. Some think shifting all expenses to online marketing and opting out of social media will help their business. Others are opting for the opposite and are putting as much money towards social media as possible. What is causing businesses to sway? Social Media is a fairly new concept in online marketing. Not only is it new but it takes a long time to start up and needs a fair amount of dedication to ensure its success. So, is it worth the risk when money is so scarce?
Here are some views as to why you should be investing in social media:
- You an’t afford to sit out: social media is not going to stop or slow down for a recession. People are not going to stop using social media tools and the Internet. Therefore you must be there to protect your brand and to create a face for your company. What better way than to interact with people on their grounds than by being part of social media networks. Lost time is lost opportunity.
- True Loyalty is recession proof: social media helps build brand trust because it allows people to learn about brands and connect with other people. Writing blogs, articles and participating in social media networks gives your company credibility and likeability. $148 billion was spent on advertising last year and only 14% of people polled said they trusted advertising. Half was spent on social media and 78% of people polled said they trust social media. 36% of consumers say they think more positively about a company that has a blog.
- Put consumers to use: Using your valuable customers as a voice to your company will help build trust in your community. Listen to recommendations and interact with your customers through competitions or give-aways. This will build customer loyalty and give relevance to your brand.
- Flabby ads: Integrating paid ads and social media can pack a powerful punch. Social networking improves search engine optimization, which in turn enhances the performance of paid search. Social media adds bulk to your brand and gives people interesting information that they can pass along to other people. Each interaction you have is an impression of your company.
Free is good: Here are some free things that social media provides:
- Friending: talking to people
- Social networking seeding: exposing your business
- SEO lift: immediate affects on your traffic flow to your site
- Listening: to your customers and what they want and expect of you.