Facebook. Twitter. MySpace. Today is the “golden age,” the renaissance, the awakening, of social media sites. From Facebook to Twitter, not only is the user population exploding, but businesses of all sizes from the “David” (small) to the “Goliath” (large) are seizing the opportunity to reel in the masses and promote themselves.
One of the largest social media sites on the scene, Facebook, currently has over 250 million active users, with 120 million of them logging on at least once per day. These numbers are gargantuan compared to the early 2000’s, or the “dark ages” when I myself joined the elite Facebook clique. A select few of my former high school buddies had the special privilege to be part of this newfound type of social media. Since then the small town group has expanded into an extremely large community where now thousands of my tiny Texas high school comrades are members. It is only coincidental that the fast growing demographic of new Facebook users is the over 35 crowd. And that is just one example on how the dark ages of social media experienced an awakening of sorts and transformed itself from one little weed in your lawn, to your lawn being all weeds.
Looking back 1 to 2 years, I didn’t even know what a “tweet” was. Fast forward to today and Twitter is the new rage of social media, and businesses from small to large, are spreading their wings on Twitter by storm. Why you might ask? 752% is why. That is the amount of growth that Twitter has experienced in the last year. Twitter allows a business to not only communicate effectively with its customer base through tweets, but also allows sales, specials, and promotions to be advertised. Think of it as the free version of non-traditional advertising. Particularly the struggling airlines (lower your fares!) and local businesses have established their little places of happiness on Twitter, targeting leisure travelers and the local foodie crowd.
Communicating with your constituency is an advantage that conglomerates on Twitter have. Particularly, both United Airlines and Alaska Airlines frequently advertise fare specials and communicate with their fliers through Twitter. United has “TWARES,” fares available only to their 18,000 loyal followers, most recently advertising a cheap fare between the Gateway City and the lovely Windy City. Alaska Airlines most recently advertised a fare sale between Portland and Southern Alaska, which I wish was still going on, as the heat is unbearable in Portland this week. Keep your reputation and feelings towards your business above the clouds by communicating directly with your customer base, which in this day and economy is more important than just selling products.
Local businesses in Portland have carved their space onto Twitter as well. Burgerville, a restaurant chain in Washington and Oregon, that has the best onion rings ever, recently used Twitter to promote its new mobile cart the “Nomad.” The location of the “Nomad” was publicized via Twitter to the masses, generating large interest in the Burgerville brand. Fortunately the “Nomad” parked itself only a few blocks away from our local Formic offices here in Portland. We all enjoyed fries, burgers, and Oregon raspberry lemonade, which are not usually readily available for our lunchtime cravings.
What’s the moral of the story? The answer is that any business, from a small mom and pop shop to a multi-billion dollar worldwide corporation, can benefit from the use of social media sites. Use it to reach out to your local consumer base to advertise specials for free without selling your soul to traditional forms of print and television advertising. Make yourself known! Crush your competitors (not literally) and take the upper hand in these tough economic times by reaching out to your constituents!
If you’re interested in cost effective online marketing and overtaking your competitors by setting up a social media campaign, our team has a plan for you.