Apr 122013

This is a guest post by Eric Pangburn at Snitch IM.

The beauty of the Internet is that it allows you to make a significant amount of noise without necessarily having to spend a lot of money. Well, that’s the idea at least.

Let’s face it: much of the Internet has been built on the premise of gaining a lot without too much time, money or effort in return.

Downloadable music and movies, an immense wealth of information, and easy access to pretty much anyone anywhere on the planet–all these perks have given rise to the prevailing notion that the Internet is a vast grab bag of goodies just ripe for the picking.

But is it the same way with creating a social media buzz? Can you really carve out a niche in an online world already populated by some pretty heavy media hitters, and not break the bank? As it turns out, it just might be possible, but it will take some savvy social skills on your part.

Build a memory

By now most of us already know about the immense power of social media and how it can bring together like-minded, and even seemingly divergent, groups of people. What I don’t see as often as I would like are online marketers who leverage this powerful force for the purposes of building a relationship between their brands and their followers.

Forging a lasting and memorable relationship with your followers can really boost your exposure.

An example is Wow Bao, which is a chain of restaurants in Chicago that specializes in Asian steamed buns. With a mixture of online business savvy and traditional ingenuity, the company’s president Geoff Alexander has managed to convert customers into something of ambassadors for the brand.

Of course, social media is just like any other resource in the sense that you really do have to put something into it in order to get something back. But as Wow Bao’s example shows, this doesn’t have to be a whole lot. As MKG’s director Dave Brown says with regard to social media: “the little things are the big things.”

Engage with your followers beyond merely offering them a product or a service. Give them a sense that you care what they think about your company or blog, and they will be more than followers: they will actually work to promote your brand!

Be one with the crowd

You really do have to get into the minds of your followers in order to find out what makes them tick. Making announcements is fine, but what would then make your company any different from all the other company’s on the Internet using social media as little more than a bulletin board?

Nowadays, there is a virtually limitless array of tasks you can perform using social media. The best methods always take the audience into consideration and give them a “voice”, so to speak. For instance, you can use Facebook as a billboard of sorts and use Twitter as your sounding board.

Don’t neglect the opportunity to give your followers an inside glimpse into the workings of your company as well. People love “behind-the-scenes” looks into companies they are following, and this will allow you to give them a better idea of the message behind your brand. It will also help inspire user confidence in your products and services and further cement your brand into their collective consciousness.

Use the force, Luke

Twitter is a particularly powerful resource that still remains underutilized, amazingly enough. Marketers from decades ago would kill to have something like this! Imagine the potential of providing your audience with moment-by-moment updates on important events, along with images and video, and you have an idea of what Twitter can do for your brand. If you aren’t currently using Twitter, you are definitely missing out.

Videos are also potentially powerful tools, and YouTube is an especially useful platform. Nowadays, it seems that almost any video has a good chance of going viral, so why not yours? In fact, the process can just as easily work the other way around, as when Red Mango launched a marketing campaign inspired by a totally unrelated video that had already gone viral.

What kicked things off was the Crazy Nasty Honey Badger video, which had already amassed over 56 million views on YouTube. Red Mango founder Dan Kim saw an opportunity to tag along on the huge popularity of the video with and launched its own brand of honey yogurt called “Honey Badger.” Unsurprisingly, the flavor was a huge hit and customers buoyed by the tie between the video and the yogurt helped promote the product even more on the Internet.

It doesn’t end there. Red Mango then released a new video spoofing the original Honey Badger video, and spread it around on their social media sites. As you may have guessed, this helped propel the brand even further, making for a powerful conclusion to a campaign that began with a viral video.

So what can you draw from all this? Simply put, social media is a powerful marketing and promotional tool that you can use in numerous imaginative ways. Some of these ways may not have occurred to you at first, so don’t be afraid to think outside the box. If you have any more ideas on how to use the vast potential of social media for marketing, feel free to share them.

Image credit: webtreats

About the Author: Sophie Lizard

Sophie Lizard helps blogs & businesses to become visible, connect with their audience, and avoid looking like idiots online. Find more of her shit at BeAFreelanceBlogger.com or tweet @sophielizard.

  One Response to “Social Media: How To Make A Champagne Splash On A Beer Budget”

  1. When social media first came on the scene for small businesses, its potential for connecting companies with customers couldn’t have been more exciting — and this second generation of networks brings back a bit of that thrill.