Have you ever wondered how large brands such as Popchips, Virgin America, Kraft, etc. have maintained a steady conversation flow on their social media accounts? There is more to social media conversations than posting on the whim. Although posting on the whim is within the rulebook, there is a deeper strategy to the daily tweets or posts that your favorite brands make. The best thing about this is that you can take this social media marketing strategy right out of the playbook of these large brands so that you can adopt these for your small business social media strategy.
What is the secret? A social media calendar of course! It looks something like the following (this example could be for a local catering company)
The conversation calendar is simple in form: assign a post type (i.e.: Image, Recipe, Trivia, Poll, Fact, etc.) to each day and build a monthly calendar in advance. By doing so, you will be preventing any lapse in social media conversations because you will no longer need to think of ways to generate engagement on the whim. Furthermore, by utilizing a conversation calendar, you will now be able to divide your social media week by topic and therefore, always finding something to speak to. For the days that you might not have a branded message that you would like to share for the daily post topic, you can use an un-branded message to keep your compelling conversations on-going.
Conversation calendars are used by all social media agencies that work with large brands – it is a way for these agencies to stay focused, provide on-going, compelling, and engaging content, and a way to measure and refine the daily post type based on measuring the reactions after making certain types of posts.
A little over a month ago, I wrote an article that discussed the “Social Media Marketing Fallacy“. It is very easy as a small business owner to get caught up in the latest marketing bubbles. I truly believe that Social Media Marketing is a marketing bubble because many create social media accounts to develop a social media marketing strategy, even though it might not make sense to be on certain social platforms. If you are doing social media marketing correctly, the rewards could be great but if you are are using social media incorrectly, you are just wasting your time. Here are some things to consider in your small business social media marketing strategy so that you are using social media correctly:
What consumers are using what platforms?
The latest marketing bubble is Pinterest. Many are recommending that small business owners create a Pinterest account to hop on this bandwagon. However, sites like Pinterest might not make sense for all small businesses. The Pinterest consumer is mostly females and moms that like digital scrap booking. If you own a roofing company or a men’s store, Pinterest might not make sense for you. The same holds true for any social media platform – Twitter users are different from Facebook users, who are also different from YouTube users. Find the platform that is right for you before proliferating your small business social media accounts and wasting your time!
What platforms enable you to achieve your social media objectives?
Pinterest is more for sharing visual appeal, Facebook is for interacting, Twitter is for updating, etc. If you have no images to show, then Pinterest clearly won’t be beneficial for your small business. If your goal is to simply send updates to your consumers then Twitter and Facebook would be best. However, if you do not have the manpower to monitor the Facebook conversations, then perhaps you should steer clear of having a Facebook account. One of the worst things for your business is to have consumers ask questions on your Facebook wall and not receive a response! Whatever platform(s) you choose to use, you need to own the conversation!
Food Trucks and Touch Screens?
Burger King is creating a good amount of marketing buzz around their new menu and the experience that consumers will have. They have redeveloped their menu, which is somewhat reminiscent of McDonald’s to be more health conscious by adding salad and wraps options. They will somehow be incorporating a touchscreen into their point of sale and using food trucks to get their product out to the masses.
What is their marketing strategy here? Here are some takeaways from the whole concept.
Track your sales. For a big company to shift like this means that their stores aren’t performing as well as they hoped. John and I are adamant about tracking sales dollars and quantities and as Burger King probably has been losing share to competitors, they hope to get it back with this new product launch. Track your sales so you can make marketing programs to tackle a downturn.
Get people in your door. Any type of retailer knows that if they can get you in their door and on their grounds, they can probably sell you something you did not want to buy, eat, or have. Give them a reason to come by – like Taco Bell and the Locos taco, Burger King hopes to create a new customer experience.
Test your product. With the food truck, Burger King plans on sampling the new product to the masses before they actually release to stores. How can you do the same? Test your market before you assume that everyone will love your product or service. You might be liked be everybody because you smile, but that does not mean you know what everyone likes to smile about.
There are many articles, books, writings, etc. that speak to what you are supposed to do when marketing a product – whether a new product or an existing one. I decided to compile a list of my own for what not to do when launching new products because, frankly, there are too many dos out there and not enough don’ts.
So here it is, my list of do nots:
- Do not have inconsistent messaging across your brand
- Do not have a bad price/value relationship – evaluate what your competition is offering and at what price point they are selling as a benchmark
- Do not launch a product with negative profit, unless it will serve as a loss leader
- Do not arbitrarily set your price – evaluate your competition and price gaps to make a good pricing decision
- Do not advertise your new product for the sake of advertising. Make sure that you are communicating your selling points only. Too many messages makes the advertisement in effective
- Do not launch a product that doesn’t fit within your small business marketing strategy
- Do not forget about tracking the sales performance of your new item
- Do not forget about going after low hanging fruit opportunities. The low hanging fruit opportunities in aggregate will equal a big win
- Do not position your product for any consumer that is willing to purchase your item, like most small businesses do. Have a targeted marketing strategy to increase the effectiveness of your marketing. In marketing, a small net will catch more fish.
- Do not forget to tell consumers that your product exists. All new product launches must be supported with small business marketing support
- Do not discontinue your item if sales are slow initially. It takes time to generate sufficient awareness, trial, and repeat purchases
- Do not discount your consumers. If you learn their decision tree for purchasing, you have a high likelihood of selling more if you market to the points on the decision tree
- Do not forget to track your sales during promotional offerings. Tracking will allow you to determine what promotional pricing provides the highest ROI for you
- Do not place your item on shelves that do not make sense (such as a child’s product being sold at a height that is above children); do not sell your item in stores where your targeted consumer does not shop
- Do not develop packaging without evaluating what you will be shelved with. You want to differentiate yourself as much as possible on shelf so that consumers will easily spot you or be visually be gravitated toward you
- Do not forget to bundle your new item with other complementary items that you might have to sell as a package deal
- Do not have an idle social networking account. Use your social media to run polls and interact with your consumers. At the very least, when you run a poll you will find out something about your consumer!