Written by: John Anderson, Director
Let’s go back in time. Using CMTC’s Product Innovation Process, you develop and introduce a product in the year 10 B.S.M (Before Social Media)...
You develop a marketing plan.
You design really great looking slip-sheets, including photos.
If you are really ambitious and tech savvy, you create DVD’s of your processes to show customers.
You send the design to the printer and wait a few weeks for the high quality output to arrive at your office.
You distribute the marketing materials to your sales staff. Boy, you wish that they were all located at your office; it would really save on postage!
Sales staff distributes the printed materials to your customers.
Your customers are completely sold on your new product. Only three to six months elapsed from product conception to the first sale!
Now, let’s transport ourselves back to the present. You are introducing the same product, but it is A.S.M. (After Social Media).
You still develop a marketing plan.
You take great photos and videos and post them to your website, Facebook, Twitter and whatever other social media sites your customers view. This process takes minutes or hours.
You create some follow up tweets or Facebook posts asking for followers and likes about your new product. As a bonus, a few of your customers even post great reviews of your service online.
Orders for your new product start arriving in days. The first purchase orders arrive in a matter of days or weeks after product conception.
While this may be an exaggeration, the time to a market using social media as your primary method of marketing is greatly shorter than traditional print marketing. There is no doubt that the advent of the internet and sites like Twitter and Facebook have revolutionized product development and introduction to the market.
So, the decision to use Facebook or Twitter to market your products seems simple, right? There are, in fact, both pros and cons associated with using social media that need to be considered before you make the leap.
- Instant updates are available on your company and products.
- Social media allows you to reach a very large audience quickly.
- Posting videos and pictures online is a less expensive option than print marketing.
- There is a short learning curve for Twitter, Facebook and other social media.
- Positive feedback is available for everyone to see, and more quickly brings new customers to your site.
- While “millennials” (men and women college age to those in their mid-40’s) are extremely proficient at using social media, anyone older may not be nearly as comfortable.
- If your product isn’t represented the way you intended in social media posts, it has already reached a lot of people, and it is hard to undo what has been distributed.
- Some customers are just more comfortable holding a piece of paper showing your product.
- Negative feedback on your product or company is available for everyone to see. Bad news spreads more quickly than good news and damage can be done quickly.
So, is social media good or bad?
It can be a great addition to your marketing approach, but keep the following tips in mind if you decide to enter the brave new world of social media, or want to expand your presence.
- Posts to social media should be consistently distributed. Don’t tweet once on Twitter and wait months to send out a second tweet. People will not follow you if you don’t consistently and rather frequently send updates.
- Don’t post too frequently, though. Wait, didn’t we just say “rather frequently”? While updates should occur 2-5 times per week to keep your audience’s attention, promoting your company or product 10 times a day on social media will wear people out and they will stop following you. Monitor your number of followers or likes. If the numbers start dropping, check how often updates are being made.
- It’s not all about you! While you are using social media to market your products or services, mix observations, quotes or information about associated companies or customers in with tweets promoting your company and your offerings. If, for example, you are marketing your fabricating capabilities, maybe you can promote the National Tooling and Machining Association in some of your posts or tweets. One rule of thumb is that one of out of five tweets or posts should be about your company and products. Customers will appreciate this extra value added information.
- Know your audience. While this is important, it is especially crucial to know your audience when you are marketing in the world of social media. If your customer base is a mix of older and younger men and women, a mix of social media and traditional print marketing may be in order. Find out who comprises your customer base and their preferences by doing an email survey through sites like Survey Monkey.
When you are ready to enter the social media realm, or want to expand your presence, let the qualified staff at CMTC help. We can help you in any stage of product conception, production and marketing, including development of a marketing plan that includes the use of social media.