Business 2.0: Marketing with Social Media

November 1, 2009

I was recently in the local Verizon store upgrading my Blackberry, and while the salesperson was showing me the features on the latest Blackberry, a mature couple slid up next to us and listened to our conversation. After I made my choice and the salesperson went to grab the phone from the back, the couple asked me if I liked the phones and why did I choose that particular model.

I looked the couple over and the first question I asked was, “Are you on Facebook?” The lady’s face brightened and she said, “Yes, I am!” I told her that she could Facebook right from the Blackberry and it was really easy. I then asked the gentleman if he did any of his banking or investing online, and he answered, “Yes, I do. Can I do that on the phone?” I said, “Yes, you can!” So the nice couple each got a new Blackberry and were happily being trained as I walked out.

Social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, MySpace, Classmates, and others are exploding in popularity across many different age groups. My kids (16 and 14) communicate over Facebook everyday, and it is how most of their friends stay connected while not in school. I think it is second only to texting, and my kids Facebook more than they text!

I joined Facebook to reconnect with long-lost friends from high school. Many of them are still in my home town, but some are scattered all over the country. It has been great to reconnect and share what has been going on in each others’ lives over the last 30 years. We even used Facebook to organize and communicate our 30th high school reunion.

Social Media for Business

Many companies use Facebook and other media to communicate about their products. Some companies pay for advertising; some just create a free page or group and ask friends to join as “fans.” This can spread quickly, and it is common to have hundreds, thousands, tens of thousands, even millions of fans of one product or company. The companies include Harley-Davidson, Starbucks, Sub-Zero, Porsche, Reverend Marvin’s BBQ Sauce, and many, many others.

While Facebook is more of a “social” media, LinkedIn is a professional network designed to connect people across many different industries and 200 countries. You will find many of your colleagues from the insulation industry and NIA on LinkedIn, where they share information, ideas, and leads. LinkedIn estimates that a new member joins every second and that approximately half its members are from outside the United States.

Where do these media fit in for you, your company, and the insulation industry?

  • For you, it’s a fun and free way to connect with family and friends from all over the world using Facebook, Classmates, MySpace, etc.
  • For your company, you can create a free “fan” page to promote your company’s products and services, or you can pay to advertise and have sidebar ads that will drive customers to you.
  • For the insulation industry, these media could provide a way to spread the word about how important our industry is in saving energy, protecting the environment, providing more efficiently operating plants, preventing the spread of fires in buildings, and noise control.
  • For NIA, these media could also provide means to promote events, training classes, and the benefits of membership in the association.

The Future of Online Marketing

These social sites are here to stay and are growing in members every second. Facebook was formed in early 2004 and now has over 65 million members. LinkedIn was formed in 2003 and now has over 47 million members.

A primary rule of marketing is: be where your customers are. As more and more of your customers spend time on social media, you’ll need to be able to reach them there. You can build loyalty among your customers by making them feel part of your world—and vice versa. Spending a few minutes every day posting updates or reviewing comments can pay off in the long run.

Remember: it’s free and fun, so don’t miss out.