In Is Social Media Right or My Business? Part I, we talked about what to think about before jumping into social media for your business and some general guidelines for the common social networks. In Part II, we will look at common industries and how they are using social media and online marketing.
The key is that social media is not just an ecommerce or “fun” business trend. Social media is another channel of communication and businesses are using this channel strategically to support their overall marketing goals. Social media is here to stay, and if it’s not being widely used among your regional competitors currently, chances are it will soon be a part of their online marketing. St. Louis businesses are quickly growing their social media efforts, so if you are in the St. Louis area (or any city for that matter), we recommend putting your social media strategy in place to stay in line or ahead of your competition.
Below is a breakdown of some key industries. Feel free to add your own thoughts in the comments below for any industries that are not covered here.
Arts & Entertainment
The use of social media among those in the Arts & Entertainment industry is very high – generally because a common target market for this industry is a younger demographic. Movie studios have already embraced social media heavily through online marketing promotions and specific tie-ins with social media platforms. The Arts & Entertainment industry routinely uses emerging media as part of their overall strategy, since their subject matter is often easily adaptable to the newer channels. For instance, the movie The Last Exorcism recently received a lot of buzz for using (and scaring people on) Chatroulette.
Independent artists, art galleries and musicians have also found a great deal of success in communicating with their fans through social media. The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art has nearly 90K followers on Twitter and use YouTube to share community events.
Community, Government & Education
Government organizations often face challenges in reaching and communicating with the community, especially as traditional channels such as newspapers and newsletters are disregarded. Focusing on the places where the community migrates and is ready to engage (think Twitter and Facebook) provide a unique opportunity. Facebooks fastest growing segment is Women over 55, meaning connecting with residents of a community online is become more viable each and every day.
Check out this article about cities using Twitter as a communication, profiling Mesa, Arizona and Killeen, Texas. These cities using Twitter to communicate quickly and directly with residents.
Service & Retail
Using social media as an online marketing strategy has significant benefits in the service and retail industries. Social media can be used to educate consumers on new product offerings, discounts, product news, customer support and, in many cases, can be used to facilitate interaction between consumers to help spread awareness of the brand.
Zappos is well-respected for their use of social media for educating customers on product specials, as well as using social channels as a customer support platform. State Farm, an insurance provider, uses social media to communicate with their clients on a daily basis.
Health & Medicine
The mix of social media and medicine is hotly debated topic, because unlike most industries, the health services field carries the ongoing high risk of exposing confidential information. However, strategically executed social media can effectively share research and development progress, facility and product improvements, and general health and wellness updates.
For example, the St. Louis Children’s Hospital uses three Twitter accounts: @STLChildrens shares general Hospital updates, doctors’ blog posts and other helpful tips, @STL_Kids is run by nurses and gives out advice pertaining to kids’ health and @Childrens_Jobs posts the latest job openings and HR updates.
Industrial & Manufacturing
Some industrial and manufacturing companies consider social media channels low-priority when it comes to online marketing strategies. However, many companies are finding a great deal of success through the use of LinkedIn. LinkedIn allows companies to find new employees, partnerships, and share industry related information. YouTube can also be an effective means for educating distributors on product features and training.
A presentation on Social Media for Manufacturing outlines how social media can be leveraged in this industry.
Not-For-Profit & Organizations
Social media is a very effective way for Non-Profits to reach both existing supporters and to recruit new supporters. By providing a constant update of related news and events, social media allows you to keep in touch with supporters in a less-intrusive manner than traditional methods. In addition, through the proper execution of a social sharing campaign, a non-profit can leverage its existing supporters to spread the word about the program to help recruit new supporters.
Checkout this article, a guide for Not-For-Profits, before starting your social media campaign.
Using social media to promote your restaurant is a great way to connect with both new and long-term customers. By promoting your social media platforms in your restaurant and throughout your website, you give customers the opportunity to stay up-to-date on specials and events. Also, through a social media marketing campaign, you can effectively use your customers to help spread the word about their experience and upcoming events. Location-based social networks, such as foursquare and the newly launched Facebook Places, also allow users to “check-in” to your restaurant and publish this check-in to their social media accounts. Businesses using foursquare can also create specials for customers that unlock when they check-in.
Whatever industry you are in, social media is a learning process for every organization. Finding the right resources, sending out the right message, and doing so on a consistent basis takes a concentrated, and sometimes trial-based, effort to get right. But with the right strategy it can prove beneficial for nearly every type of business.