According to N.K. Weinreich, the idea of marketing on a personal level began decades ago. It started as a change of strategy: causing consumers to believe a product or service was necessary to them rather than convincing them to buy. Such consumers felt that they had to have a product to enjoy their lives fully, so no pushy sales tactics were required.
Today, something similar happens with the use of social media as a marketing tool. Though there have been high-tech advances in what firms can do, thanks to the internet, the same idea prevails. It can still be made to seem personal, as though an email is addressed directly to a single customer rather than to tens of thousands with a single press of the ‘send’ button.
What this does is encourages customers to feel a sense of belonging, and even ownership, in a business. They become a part of a larger network, one that is both social and commercial. With this shift in roles, they will often ‘like’ a company online and recommend it to their friends, sometimes for promised rewards, at other times because they want to see a firm succeed. Although the scope of online campaigns can be huge, much success is gained in these small circles. The difference is that, with the power of the worldwide web at their disposal, marketers can target thousands of small groups at one time.
Lots of established companies now have links on their websites to social networks including Facebook and Twitter. They do this because, to survive in the online age, they have to if they are going to compete. Social networking can be as effective as traditional forms of advertising, or more so while also costing less.
This means that, for a smaller outlay, firms are able to make bigger gains if they handle their opportunity right. For instance, some companies suggest targeting a particular group rather than trying to appeal to everyone. It is also common for firms that are less comfortable with the technology to hire an outside firm to help them use social media to their advantage.
There are many approaches, including the short term campaign. This one focuses on a competition or special offer with a time limit. Graphics and video clips are employed to make full use of that short space of time to make the greatest possible visual impact.
Another approach is to connect in simple, intimate ways, as though speaking to customers individually. Some restaurants do this, writing little blurbs every day to tell people what is on the menu or what live act is playing that night.
When using social marketing, it becomes apparent to some business people that they cannot write in a way that is enticing any more than they could post vivid graphics and links to endorsement apps and blogs on their Facebook page. In this case, the business person will hire someone who knows what the firm wants, but who also has a gift for putting this into words that work.