The Internet is packed with tips on how to use Twitter, how to supercharge LinkedIn, and how to get the most from Facebook. They’re all good articles. (In fact, I’ve written more than my fair share of them.) But sometimes before you get too deeply involved in tips and tactics, it helps to take a step back and look at the landscape.
That’s what I did recently when I was in the process of writing “How to Make Money with Social Media.” I found that I was getting too entrenched in the tactical side of the equation, so I decided to do an overview of the ways the Fortune 500 use social media to drive sales and revenue.
What follows are the 5 different ways businesses are currently using social media.
Branding. Some companies use social media strictly as a branding tool. Typically, this means running a YouTube campaign that (hopefully) gets a lot of buzz around the water cooler. In our opinion, using social media simply as a branding tool is a twentieth century mindset. If you really want to supercharge your social media campaigns, you’ll incorporate one or all of the next four highly measurable approaches.
eCommerce. If you can sell your product or service online, then you’ll want to drive people to a landing page on your website where they can buy your goods. How can you accomplish this? Just do what Dell does—they Tweet about special promotions available only to the people who follow them on Twitter. The promotional links are easily tracked so they can see how many people went to the landing page and how many converted from a prospect to a customer. They generate millions of dollars in revenue each quarter by using this method.
Research. Many companies are using social media as a tool to do research. Sometimes, this involves building a website to track the results. Starbucks has done this famously with their MyStarbucksIdea website. Other times, using social media as a research tool can be as simple as doing a poll on LinkedIn, SurveyMonkey, or via email.
Customer Retention. A good rule of thumb is that it costs three to ﬁve times as much to acquire a new customer than it does to keep an existing one. Given that, wouldn’t it be smart to use social media as a tool to keep customers loyal and engaged? That’s what Comcast and Southwest Airlines do—they communicate via Twitter, Facebook, and other social media platforms to help solve customer service issues.
Lead Generation. What do you do if you can’t sell your product or service online? Then you’ll want to do what many B2B companies do—that is, to use social media to drive prospects to a website where they can download a whitepaper, listen to a Podcast, or watch a video. Once you’ve captured the prospect’s contact information, you can re-market to them via email, direct mail, or any number of other methods.
Are there any I missed? Are there new ones on the horizon? Leave a comment if you’d like to add to the list — there are new ideas coming online all the time!
Jamie Turner is an author, speaker and consultant. He is also the Chief Content Officer at the 60 Second Marketer, the online magazine for BKV Digital and Direct Response. If you’re smart, you’ll stalk him on Twitter. He not only generates a ton of great content, he’s genuinely a really awesome guy. If you’d like to download a chapter from his book, visit his website and click “How to Make Money with Social Media.”
Cover image: Courtesy of Chris Ware, rejected by Fortune editors because of its ironic nature. Which makes me love it even more.