3 Ways to Use Social Media for Marketing for Businesses & Nonprofits

1. The Role of Social Media for Marketing

facebook website screenshot [Photo by Spencer E Holtaway] (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Identifying the role of social media for marketing has proved challenging for quite a few organizations. Social media provides a set of low-cost technical tools that enable social interaction.

Social media allows marketers to communicate with customers, peers and prospects in a more personalized way,and it can be used to engage consumers with the brand on an emotional level. One of the pitfalls to using social media for marketing, however, is that it is a time-intensive process that requires daily attention to successfully build and keep momentum.

Some people think of social media as most useful for small organizations, but in fact some of the largest groups and companies have already recognized its potential and embraced it as a marketing channel. These include the World Vision charity, which has posted a series of online videos to YouTube and used Facebook to operate a fan page.

2. Social Media Marketing Campaign Examples

Twitter website screenshot [Photo by Spencer E Holtaway] (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Successful social media marketing campaign examples come from a variety of industries and utilize many different approaches.

For example, one of the most successful recent campaigns called “Give Me My Chuck” used social media to pressure a major network (NBC) into continuing with the third season broadcast of the show Chuck. Sea World’s Whale is another unique, integrated social media campaign that goes beyond the standard “Big 3” venues of Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. Threadless, a designer clothing company, also operated a successful campaign to build brand love with a great message broadcast to a variety of social media channels. Dunkin Donut’s also used Facebook effectively to promote a new line of drinks through a special Coolatta fan page. The company even gave out free beverages via a Twitter contest.

3. Scott Monty’s Social Media Marketing Blog

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Scott Monty runs a social media marketing blog, with articles on cutting edge topics in social networking and marketing. For example, a recent post on the blog is called The Magic Number, and it is a discussion of the ideal number of social media platforms that marketers can utilize before they become overwhelmed.

Monty refers to the “the big 3” sites of the social marketing world as Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. He humorously refers to LinkedIn as “the business meeting”, Facebook as the “hallway conversation” and Twitter as the “cocktail party.” Now that Google+ is on the scene, he admits to feeling overwhelmed and unable to keep up a consistent level of activity on all four. Another blog post on Monty’s site is on the “gamification” of news, and how Google is pursuing a gamification project called Google News Badges.