Social Media Marketing for the Real World

By: Jack Winston

Applying digital marketing in the real world is a bit trickier than it is in the virtual B2C or B2B worlds. Real world marketers – that is, marketers who are building brands and generating demand for products and services sold in real world locations – have traditionally placed more emphasis on traditional advertising and push marketing strategies like direct mail and coupon campaigns.

Virtual B2C marketers are mastering the art of managing large portfolios of keywords that fuel highly profitable paid search programs. B2B marketers are deploying sophisticated inbound lead generation programs that are transforming go-to-market strategies and re-setting the standard for cost per lead. Real world marketers have yet to find their digital groove. They have, for the most part, put up their websites, started asking for email addresses at point of sale, and established Facebook pages, but have yet to figure out how to systematically drive growth using these channels. The group discounting fad (e.g., Groupon) was originally championed as a game changing tool for local businesses, but with questionable economics and an emphasis on supporting national brands, these services have left the real world marketer behind.

So what is behind the near-compulsion real world businesses feel for establishing a social media presence? The MerchantCircle reported that while nearly 70% of all local businesses had some presence on Facebook, they are investing more in search and email marketing than in social media marketing. And of that, only a small fraction are taking advantage of engaging with customers at the real world point of sale with location based services or mobile marketing programs tied to social media platforms.

Social media marketing and location based services offer the real world marketer unique advantages that other digital channels cannot:

  1. Data: Businesses can learn a lot about their customers by looking at the profiles of their fan base. Data from geo-location based check-ins give tremendous amounts of data on customer traffic patterns.
  2. Word of Mouth Advertising: Every time a customer Likes your business or Checks-in, they broadcast their thoughts to their friends (on average, Facebook users have 130 friends)
  3. Customer Engagement: Extending the customer – business relationship beyond the point of purchase opens up entirely new opportunities for brand building.
  4. New promotion channels: Social media and location-aware applications in particular open up new channels for promotions – both new customer acquisition and loyalty rewards programs.

Real world businesses can maximize the value of their social media marketing program when they drive enough customer participation that they can reach a representative portion of their customer base. Increasing participation only happens by making the experience easy and engaging. Most businesses’ social media marketing programs (and in particular location-based programs) are pretty weak and not surprisingly, their customer participation is not representative of their customer base.

Increasing participation in on-location social media is a focus of Bozuko and we are really looking forward to telling you more about what we can do for your business.

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