Stay Idle, Or Go Viral

Viral marketing; a marketing technique in which brand awareness is increased through the network effect of the internet. Viral campaigns have become very popular in recent times, greatly due to the increase of internet activity. Thanks to the large number of internet users, as well as the large number of networking and sharing websites, popular campaigns will be known worldwide in just a couple of days.

This ability for users to share and connect with people offers a great marketing tool that  can significantly boost awareness of a brand, as well as product sales. Viral campaigns are targeted at individuals with high social networking potential, as these people have a higher probability to spread and share in a short period of time. Websites such as Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, and YouTube are great sharing tools for users and popular content can easily reach millions of people, and that means reaching millions of potential consumers.

Although, viral campaigns are not always successful and so it is not in anyone’s best interest to attempt to produce a viral campaign, it would be better to produce an advertisement and hope it goes viral. Even though viral campaigns can sometimes be hit or miss, there are many examples of very successful advertising campaigns that have gone viral and become very popular. One of the best and most recent examples of this is the Old Spice commercials. These were HUGELY successful and increased brand awareness significantly. In the sporting world, Sporting Portugal, a Portugese football club, had an interesting advertising campaign in which they created an interactive ad where the viewer entered their name and phone number and the manager in the ad would ring them up and request they buy a season ticket (all in time with the video). This a very interesting approach and proved to be quite successful.

Viral marketing shows just how great social medias are for promoting brand awareness and product purchase. With this new connection between everyone in the world, businesses are able to reach every corner of the globe. Social medias are certainly the future for marketing and advertisement.


Social Medias for Communication

A key element of a good business is it’s communication, whether it be between the employees, between the board and the CEO, or even between the company and it’s stakeholders. Without communication, every business would be doomed to failure. The introduction of email changed the way that businesses communicate, and now social medias look to do the same.

Social medias change all aspects of communication within a business, with many different types of social medias, and many different people to communicate with, it has made communication a much simpler task. Employees are now able to talk to each other through emails, Facebook, Twitter, Skype, and all of this is now accessible on the move. This offers businesses to be able to keep up with everything that is going on, even while on site, or even in a whole other country.

The best offering from the new social media communications, in my opinion, is the ability for better communication between a business and it’s stakeholders (e.g. a sport club and it’s fans). This communication allows the business to know what it’s stakeholders think of how they are doing and where they are going wrong, as well as what could be improved. The most important thing a business can do is keep it’s current customers and stakeholders happy so that they can continue to retain them.

However, even with all these new communication opportunities businesses need to be careful with what they communicate and how. Important confidential information should not be shared through the likes of Facebook and Twitter, and account safety is important in preventing any chance of this information leaking out to the public.

Overall, the new medias are fantastic for businesses, but as always with anything on the internet, safety is key.

Why Should Businesses Use Social Media?

It doesn’t matter whether your business is local, regional, nationwide, or global, it doesn’t even matter if you are currently selling anything online, if you don’t take advantage of the online market, many of your prospects and customers will not be able to find you or hear about you, and then they will not buy from you. 97% of consumers use the internet to research products or services in their local area, and 90% of them use search engines. By using any sort of social media, whether it is social networking, wikis, or even blogs, you are exposed to a very large group of potential customers.

There are 5 key reasons to utilise social media for a business:

1. Increase overall brand awareness.

This is one of the most common reasons for using social media in a business and is also the easiest to evaluate. This is usually achieved through increasing website or blog traffic, increasing the number of fans on a Facebook page, increasing the number of followers on Twitter, and increasing the number of video views on YouTube. Therefore exposing the brand to more people.

2. Using social media to generate leads.

This is achieved through offering downloadable content, hosting webinars (online seminars), speaking at events and offering them for on-demand viewing later, and utilizing email and newsletter subscriptions.

3. Using social media for customer retention.

In my opinion, this is the most important thing any business can do. Holding onto your current customers is just as important as gaining new ones. Your biggest revenue generator might be your existing customer base and it is important that you are aware of this and utilise it.

4. Using social media to increase sales conversions.

A successful social media campaign has to be able to show how the social media program actually relates to money being made. Social media can be used as a commerce tool and products can be advertised directly, but even an increase in awareness of the product through social media can lead to revenue.

5. Using social media to measure and monitor effectiveness.

Social media is a great way to receive customer feedback on every aspect of your business, from the actual product being sold, to the quality of service. Communication between the consumer and the business is important to keep up a good quality product/service and therefore retain customers.

Social media, when used correctly, is a great tool for all different types of businesses. It doesn’t matter whether you are a new business, or an old business, a small business, or a big business, social media is a great opportunity.

Last of all, I leave you with this short YouTube video. This video shows exactly the sort of opportunities that social media creates. Please feel free to leave a comment on your opinion or let me know what you think!

To Tweet, Or Not To Tweet

Twitter is currently the second most popular social networking site in the world. Seated just behind Facebook in popularity, Twitter receives an estimated unique monthly visitor number of 250 million people (Facebook receives 750 million). This makes Twitter one of the best ways to connect with people through social media. Although I have never used Twitter in my life, I constantly hear about news, events, and controversial things said by famous tweeters, which shows just how quickly things said on Twitter spread across the rest of the web.

One of the reasons why Twitter is such a good resource for businesses to use is the constant connection that is provided by the network. Twitter is a website that users usually like to keep up to date with and it can be constantly used whether at home, work, or travelling. Access to Twitter through cellphones has made this social media easily accessible anywhere in the world.
A 2009 article from The Dominion Post, a local Wellington newspaper, talks about the constant connection Twitter provides and even gives a few examples of business in Wellington that used Twitter as it was just emerging onto the scene. One business used Twitter to offer a coffee special and managed to sell more coffees than it had in the previous three weeks. Although there are examples like this, it is difficult to measure the actual benefits from Twitter, although it does provide plenty of exposure for businesses.

There are four ways that companies have been found to use twitter for business. These are; direct, indirect, internal, and inbound signaling.
The direct approach – this approach is the most common use, in which the business uses Twitter for marketing and public relations.
The indirect approach – this approach lets employees use Twitter, and “as the employees use Twitter to enhance their own personal reputations, the company’s reputation is also enhanced by proxy”.
The internal approach – this approach is used for sharing ideas and communicating about projects within the business, although this is not recommended due to the fact that most of this information is usually confidential.
The inbound signaling approach –  this approach is about “listening” to what is being said on Twitter about the business rather than actually using it to communicate.
This article also recommends making sure employees understand the limits of what is acceptable for posting and encourages having a defined public web participation policy within the company. This is very important for a business, as it will make sure that the image being sent out by their employees is the desired one.

Twitter in the sporting world is very popular and many sporting stars have a Twitter account, letting you know about everything that is going on in their life as well as their opinions on current news and events. Twitter is the easiest fan-star communication system in the world so far, and provides great feedback and exposure to sports clubs, as well as individuals.
Due to Twitter’s popularity, the social media can make someone famous overnight. A great example of this is the recent explosion in popularity of Jeremy Lin of the New York Knicks. #Linsanity became a trending topic on Twitter for a week as Lin turned in some brilliant performances. The popularity of Lin was reported to have lead to an increase in New York Knicks games broadcast in Taiwan, China, and the Philippines (obviously leading to a boost in income and exposure for the Knicks).

But is Twitter use worthwhile for both sports players and businessmen? All big names on Twitter are virtually a click away from destroying their image. This article asks the question, “is Twitter worth it?”. One poorly worded tweet could cause a big problem for any representative of a business or sporting club. Is this a risk worth taking due to the many positives of Twitter? There are also many stars that don’t have Twitter accounts that are doing great with their fans (such as Peyton Manning, and Lionel Messi).

I believe Twitter is a great social media for instant exposure and provides great communication between the business and it’s stakeholders. Although there are problems that may occur, enforcing proper use of the site should prevent these problems. Making sure that individuals don’t cause any harm towards the business is something that must be constantly monitored and avoided to provide good marketing.

What is your opinion on the use of Twitter in businesses or sport? Feel free to leave a comment and let me know your opinion!

What’s It All About?

My name is Alex Phillis, I am an Australian who is currently living in Palmerston North, New Zealand where I attend Massey University and this is a blog I have started up for my assignment in my 157.240 Social Media Networks for Business class. I have a love for sport as well as the business behind it and so a lot of what I write about may be related to sport in one way or another. I look forward to the experience of writing a blog and enjoy any feedback and comments from all who read this.

I will have a new post about my opinion on the use of social media in sport for marketing in the next day or so.