It’s a rule of thumb that most people will accept advice about a purchase from people they know and sometimes from people they don’t know. People seem to trust word of mouth advertising because they feel the person giving the advice has no ulterior motives. There’s a trust factor. For some, Twitter has become the new word of mouth.
I recently read an article in the New York Times about a man named Curtis who has a crème brûlée cart in San Francisco. He noticed that he was getting more new customers and found that his satisfied customers had been tweeting about him on Twitter. Seeing that Twitter was a business benefit, Curtis signed up for a Twitter account and now tweets to his followers about his cart location and the crème brûlée flavors of the day. For Curtis, Twitter spread the word about the crème brûlée quicker than he ever could have. More importantly, he had happy tweeters who were singing his praises.
Twitter can be a great business tool for small businesses who want to get their name out without spending a lot on advertising. Businesses can communicate their thoughts and ideas with consumers. Similarly, consumers can ask questions and share their feelings on your product or service. The real money maker comes into play, when your satisfied customers share their experience with others. Anyone can blow their own horn; it’s another thing when others speak highly of your business or service.
Twitter, is a great way to efficiently advertise your business without using traditional advertising methods. If you haven’t tried Twitter, go ahead. Just make sure your business is selling a quality product or service. Your business may find that just like Curtis, new customers are standing in your line.
There have been many discussions about Social Media networks and their role in online advertising. I subscribe to at least 5 different industry newsletters and not a day goes by that one of the main stories does not revolve around Social Media. It is a unique and changing landscape and what we see today could be very different than how Social Media works in the future. One thing is very clear, at least to me, and that is the ability to identify and interact with “like-minded” people throughout the social networks.
One of the big advantages of Social Media marketing is how customer behavior can be gleaned from the networks. People everyday are creating new social network profiles, on Facebook for example, and putting out information that businesses would have paid top dollar for in lead generation lists just a few years ago. If you are a painting supplies company, wouldn’t you like to know who the people are that announce they like to paint? If you sell sporting goods, do you think it would be advantageous to know where the people are who mention they love playing sports? If you could interact with individuals who have hobbies and interests relative to your products or services you have an advantage in creating a new customer.
People do not like to be sold…but they do like to buy. That is an important thing to remember when participating in or advertising within the social networks. You can align yourself with like minded people and become an advocate, or even a go-to source for information related to their interests. Given their interests are in line with your product or service, you can build trust that ultimately leads to a sale. The key to remember is you are not there to “sell” them, you are there to interact and grow a following that relies on your expertise. The time will come when they are ready to make a purchase related to their interests and you will be top of mind in their decision process.
The great thing about this fairly simple concept is how easy it is to find the people who are interested in your products or services. They mention it all time, both in their online social media profiles and their online dialogue with friends (think Twitter search). All you need to do is get started, identify the channels you want to participate in and “search” for like minded people. They are not trying to hide, in fact, they make it very easy to identify what they like because they announce it almost every day!