Diverse Business Show Blog Talk Radio

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Is Social Media Really Worth the Time?

Case studies for considering social media by Tiffany Odutoye

If you still haven’t jumped into the social media bandwagon, which of these is your excuse?

You don’t know much about the power of social media?
You are much too busy with other stuff? Or
You have NO idea of what to do and where to start?

Whatever your problem, we have compiled a few case studies for considering social media. We hope this will show you what you are missing if you are not into social media marketing, right now and here.

Case study #1: Make YOUR brand of coffee from Starbucks:

In March, 2009 Starbucks celebrated the first birthday of mystarbucksidea.com, their first ever and wildly successful blog. Look at the amazing numbers they generated from this new venture.
-         3 million+ unique visitors (as of Nov, 2008)
-         70,000 ideas (as of March, 2009)
-         2 million+ comments (as of Jan, 2009)

Starbucks has a profile on Twitter with an unbelievable following of over 120,000 people!

All this is less than a year! Which paid ad campaign can bring you this kind of publicity?

Mystarbucksidea simply asks people what their mega Starbucks idea is. Starbucks coffee cubes? A customer card? Online coffee orders? Wikis? Whatever it is, just let ‘em know.

The user has to register to post ideas. The company keeps track of these ideas. There’s a voting facility and people can track the status of their ideas. The best ideas get implemented.

This is the perfect example of the power of democracy in business. Mystarbucks is the personification of the company’s insistence that the perfect cup of coffee is all about *YOU*. This platform is the company’s way of telling its customers that it cares about offering people the kind of coffee experience they want.

The success of their blog has several lessons for social media enthusiasts. Starbucks was able to make Starbucksidea something a lot more than a fancy suggestion box. They do this by:
-         Taking action: By allowing users to see the status of their ideas and informing them of the ideas that are being implemented, the company is following through with its promises.
-         Exciting users constantly: User interest is constantly piqued through discussions, Twitter posts and ads placed in stores. Thus, they maintain a constant buzz.
-         Preparing a comprehensive social media strategy: Starbucks unleashed several social media strategies, like their highly popular video at YouTube to encourage people to vote on Nov 4th. This gives them the right public image.

Important lesson:
-         People like to do business with people they ‘like’. ‘Knowing’ is not enough any more.
Heightened likeability = more sales.

Case Study #2: “Execute on Extraordinary Experiences Everyday!”

This is the mantra of the FreshBooks community.

FreshBooks started their online invoicing project in 2004. As of April 2009, more than 800,000 people use FreshBooks to receive, send, print and pay invoices.

According to Mike McDerment, the CEO of FreshBooks, a fantastic product and a great customer community has helped FreshBooks maintain its rapid growth even in the face of the economic downturn.

FreshBooks believes in ‘Executing’ fresh ideas so that people KNOW that things are getting done, and that their think tank is delivering real- time, tangible results.

The ‘Extraordinary’ experience is exceeding the expectations of customers in numerous little ways. One such step is the company taking their customers to dinner. Another example is how the company has a real person responding to enquiries from their website. Not something you’d normally expect. Customers are happy to connect with the people they are buying from.

FreshBooks offers their customers the ultimate ‘Experience’ when using their services. So, their software and their service personnel are friendly, helpful faces that relate with consumers on a personal level.

Finally, the company recreates these refreshing experiences ‘Everyday’ – a simple strategy that keeps customers happy everyday and every time they call.

FreshBooks has been using a number of social media tools to extend their community. It has a good online following at Twitter. This is the place where the company seeks to hold contests, follow up with customer service. Ultimately, their forums, blog and Twitter allow the company to convey the company’s message that “the currency of our business is relationships”.

What a powerful way of putting it into perspective!

Important Lesson:
-         When customers enjoy a positive experience each time they come to you, they endorse you automatically. Your customer base expands on autopilot.

Case Study #3: What women want

When they were thinking of launching a service for working mothers and mothers who wanted to return to the work force, Bradi Nathan and Terry Starr decided to get the answers from the mothers themselves. They conducted a survey on Facebook, asking their friends to forward it to more friends. This was how MyWorkButterfly or as they like to call it ‘Facebook for Moms’ was born. The website was launched in January 2009 - only 4 months ago, and they already claim to have more than 2,000 members and 40,000+ hits every month!

Not bad for a maiden venture.

Important Lesson:
-         The best way to know what your customers want is to ask them; the best way to cultivate your customers is to deliver it to them!

Some of the important lessons that we can learn from case studies like these are:
-         Social media opens the door to a huge and expanding marketplace.
-         Social media is the best way to take your brand/product to your customers
-         Social media allows you to open the doors to meaningful, two-way communication

A well built social network is an excellent channel for business and brand promotion. That is why so many people are obsessed with the idea of growing their social network.

However, planning and strategizing is as important to social media as it is to traditional marketing. 

-         Social media is effective only if it is targeted and constructive, so you must have an action plan before you dive into it
-         Different combinations of tools work for different businesses. Choose yours wisely
-         Consistency is key
-         Transparency is a must
-         Take meaningful, follow up action so that visitors are motivated to respond to your call of action

As an enthusiastic entrepreneur puts it, “it might look as if we’re wasting time chatting up strangers on Facebook and Twitter. But, all the while, we are developing precious contacts, and you never know which one of these contacts, or all of them, opens the doors to business opportunities.”

So, if you are not making use of social media to connect with your community, you are forfeiting an important marketing strategy.

Resource Box:

Tiffany Odutoye, Expert Idea Generator, Virtual Business Owner, Speaker and Coach with a passion for Social Media. 

Publisher of the book: "Now What Do I Do-An Entrepreneur's Guide to Getting to the Next Step with Social Media" - Learn more at http://www.talksocialnetworking.com http://www.virtualpartner.biz and http://www.nowwhatdoido.info.

Listen to internet radio with Diverse Business on Blog Talk Radio

1 comment:

  1. Social Media Optimization is the best option for Social Networking. Social Media is the way of interacting to different people and their business concepts and strategies also.
    working capital finance