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Marketing on a tight budget

How social media can be used on a professional but inexpensive basis by an organisation to raise awareness, engage with customers and build community.
© University of Southampton 2017

Traditionally, marketing communications consisted of a single message sent to as many people as possible (the higher the number of viewers, the greater the cost of the advertisement) in the hope that a small percentage of them would actually buy the product – this is known as ‘the marketing funnel’.

Social media marketing works in reverse – by sending an initial message at negligible cost to a core group of supporters who spread the word through their networks via re-tweets, comments, likes, favourites etc. More and more potential customers therefore get to hear about the brand from personal contacts that they know and trust. This is known as ‘flipping the funnel’.

The inter-connected nature of social media means that it is easy to share marketing messages, then listen and respond to customer feedback – often on a one to one basis – and all in public view. This means that other customers can see if someone else has raised a complaint and how well (or badly) it was dealt with.

Social media now have a role to play in a wide range of marketing activities, for example:

  • Engaging with prospects and customers in real time to build relationships and encourage recommendations
  • Showcasing relevant content to raise brand awareness, encourage interaction and build community
  • Resolving customer service issues quickly and publicly
  • Effective, real time internal communications across the enterprise and hierarchies
  • Tracking trends and testing the “zeitgeist”
  • Crowdsourcing of new product development or market research
  • Networking to source expertise or business partners
  • Improving search engine visibility of a website through regular supply of new and engaging content
Can you think of a good example of a successful social media marketing campaign? What in particular made it stand out for you?
© University of Southampton 2017
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