These days, social media isn’t just for tagging your friends after a good night out. It’s the perfect marketplace for your business, where smart advertising can be free and real-time likes are often translated into online transactions. Uniquely, social media campaigns are also the one arena where businesses can stand on an equal footing, and where huge advertising budgets aren’t always translated into huge followings.
If you aren’t convinced that an ordinary kitchen-table business can compete with a high-street-brand-turned-internet-store, let me prove otherwise. You see, when it comes to social media campaigns for business, it’s not what you’re marketing that matters, it’s how you market it that counts.
When Social Media Campaigns Fall Flat
It’s easy to be skeptical when you haven’t seen success. A few years back I worked freelance for a luxury hotel OTA based in the UK. It was big business and the advertising budget was impressive. As part of our social media outreach plan we decided to jump on the Facebook bandwagon and give away a £1000 voucher to be redeemed against a stay in a luxury hotel. Since we had hotels in every corner of the world, we decided to go global. Our competition was posed online with gusto (as well as a strapping headline) and we sat back to wait for the ‘likes’ to roll in.
Our starting point was an existing database of 1,672 followers. Not great, but surely enough to get us going? On day one, the ‘likes’ trickled in slowly. Our following grew to the lofty heights of 1721 – hardly enough to warrant breaking out the champers. Day two came and went in similar fashion, while days three through six barely nudged above another fifty in total. When the competition eventually closed on day seven, our Facebook readership had hit 1,936. We had earned a grand total of 264 followers. Did that justify a voucher valued £1000? Possibly not.
A few years later I went to work freelance for a British self-catering company that was trying to break into the Scottish market. By this time I’d learnt a thing or two about social media marketing (I’d even graduated to tweeting). Their Facebook followers were pitifully low in numbers, and their Twitter account was in extended hibernation by the time I took it over. To generate interest I chose to host a competition and create a little buzz. One week later, and with a newfound understanding of exactly how social media for business works, I’d managed to flog three organic chocolate bars for the grand total of almost 600 new followers, proving that prizes don’t need to be big if you market the right way.
You see, what I’d learned was that social media campaigns for business don’t market themselves. There’s no good adding a competition to Facebook and expecting it to grow alone. It needs to be marketed, nurtured. Without the right attention you may as well not bother because you certainly won’t get the right return.
What Happens When Social Media Campaigns for Business Work
While not every campaign takes off like a packet of Mentos in a bucket of Coke, these days I have a fair idea of how well they will work before they get posted, and so far they’ve all been a measurable success. It’s not about being a Facebook genius, either. In fact, aside from work, I barely tag, like or share a thing on my personal profile. It’s about having the right avenues for promotion, knowing when to post, and remembering to engage afterwards.
So what happens when social media campaigns for business work? And I mean really work? Let me tell you about one of our latest social media campaigns on behalf of The Dunstane, a pretty boutique hotel in Edinburgh’s Haymarket and one of our existing clients.
We ran a two week competition to give away an overnight stay for two people, dinner included. We also threw in a box of artisan chocolates from a local company to make it really sweet (pardon the pun). One carefully timed launch date later, a touch of PPC during the inevitable ‘mid-point lull’ and plenty of behind the scenes advertising and we finished on a high; Facebook follower growth of 148%, Twitter followers up by 150%, social media revenue increase of a magnificent 249% and, my personal favourite, referrals from Facebook to the website of an utterly ridiculous 27,125%!
Still think social media campaigns for business are a waste of time? Don’t take our word for it. You can view more results from our work with The Dunstane or get in touch by saying email@example.com.