Most business owners are familiar with the 4 P's: Product, Place, Price, and Promotion. The 4 P's are widely used to define a company's "marketing mix," a general phrase used to describe the different kinds of choices organizations have to make in the whole process of bringing a product or service to market. The three basic objectives of promotion are to 1) present information to consumers as well as others, 2) increase demand for a product (or service), 3) differentiate a product.¹ If managed properly, companies can use social media to accomplish all three objectives more efficiently and less expensively than any other means available.
Traditionally, marketers have used a variety of media to promote their product, such as advertisement, special events, endorsements, and newspapers. They also try to incentivize would-be purchasers with discounts, free items, or a contest to increase the sales of a given product. These efforts are considered proven and indispensable aspects of the promotions mix.²
Thanks to the Internet, social media channels have centrality and reach; businesses can now accomplish all of these promotions efforts more efficiently, saving time and money. They can control company messaging by effectively interacting with and quickly responding to the needs of their consumer base. Also, given the proliferation of marketing automation software businesses can analyze social media campaigns to figure out what's working and what isn't, and adjust their promotions efforts accordingly.
WHY IT WORKS
There are four broad reasons why social media-as-promotion is effective for businesses:
- Amplified Messaging- Reach out to a massive audience to tell your story; educate consumers about your product on your terms; go viral with promotions; increase demand for your product or service.
- Deeper Engagement- Connect to prospects and form deeper relationships with customers; personalize your brand; show your company's human side.
- Efficient Brand Management- Nimbly manage your online reputation- address customer concerns and respond to user feedback; promote new marketing campaigns; define and redefine your messaging based on user feedback.
- Real-Time Analytics- Track user responses to your promotional efforts; aggregate data to figure out what's working and what isn't; analyze successes and failures.
If your business isn't using social media-as-promotion, I strongly suggest you look into it. Chances are your competition already has.
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