Monday, March 17, 2014

What Social Media Is Best for Promo Products Distributors?


No Time to Stay Up with All Social Media? How to Set Priorities

How are you doing on the Vine?  How about Instagram?  The teens are all about SnapChat. Of course, you thought you were modern, because you have a Pinterest page.  Is Facebook old hat?  Left in the dust?  Where does all of this leave blogging, YouTube, Linkedin, Google+, and Twitter?

My position with Bike 'N Safety Promos is that of marketing consultant.  My daily job and that of my staff is to maximize the use of all marketing resources to optimize the spending of time and money for the largest possible ROI.  I don't just do this form Bike 'N Safety Promos, but for many other companies in various industries.

Our knowledge base is limited, like any person or company, but I will give you a snapshot of what we do know, and how I would prioritize my time investment (in order) were I advising you on social media:

YouTube - I would have a minimum of 50 YouTube videos, and I would be adding five per month.  These could demonstrations on specific products that you sell a lot of or want to sell a lot of.  They could be marketing advice that relates to the use of promotional products, specialties, etc.  They could be industry specific how to videos for events, awards, or promotional approaches. 

Time investment is about 10 hours to learn how to create, edit, and upload a video.  Then maybe 2 hours per video.  If you value your time at $30 an hour, that would mean new videos cost around $60.  One new client and you make it back in a huge way.  These videos will be producing results far into the future.

Blogging - Posting two to three times per week.  Add to the possible lists of subjects for videos, detailed graphs, charts, infograms; content from other blogs, news articles, industry information; posting of all the videos you create and others you find that would be valuable to your client, including product videos from manufacturers.

Time investment is about 10 - 20 hours to learn the ropes of blogging.  Average post should be 700 words, so figure about 1 - 2 hours per post.  Like videos, the content stays live on Google search for years into the future.  For many posts, you might just take a picture of the new product, write a brief description of the benefits (or copy from manufacturer's website), suggest a few uses, and you're done.

Linkedin - Of the supposedly interactive social media options available, I believe this is the best, short term and long term.  Corporate leadership is on Linkedin.  They get Linkedin.  And the basics are pretty straight forward.  The opportunities to connect are limitless and getting better all the time.  Any time you create a new video or blog post, you should do an update on Linkedin to inform your connections.

Time investment is about 15 - 20 hours to really get a great profile set up and take advantage of all the potential groups.  You also want others to give you testimonials, so you will need to write some for others.  Then another 40 hours to create 1000 connections.  These you can do while watching TV.  Once you have 1000 connections, your time commitment will be updating three or so times per week, and any involvement in groups.  You can use Linkedin for recruiting and prospecting.  This may be the most powerful aspect.  The time commitment here is unknown, but it is very likely the ROI will be more than you can imagine.

Facebook - We are not big fans of FB, and do not set up or manage FB for our clients.  The only positive use we can see for our clients who use FB is that they can create a community of "fans" who may be more likely to use you in the future.  Ads, prospecting, etc., we can't find a great ROI.

Twitter - As a way to actually connect and communicate, we definitely don't get it.  As a way to tease folks to your blog, YouTube videos, website or other media, it is invaluable.  We typically send out 48 such Tweets per day using HootSuite.  We have no interest in getting followers.  We are merely trying to reach those who use various Twitter search products.  This approach has led to tripling or more the number of visitors to our blogs.  Most of our clients now have 100-200 page views per day.

Time investment.  It will take you two hours to figure out Hootsuite.  Then it will take 2-3 hours to set up a spread sheet with 50 tweets to upload into the automator.  Then every few days you will need to refresh the system, which takes only 5 minutes or so.

Pinterest - We spent about two years trying to get Pinterest results.  Our conclusion is that it is necessary to run contests, promotions, and sales to actually get a return on the effort.  Pinterest can be a huge time suck without these additional efforts.  We continue to believe that Pinterest could be a good resource, maybe even a great one, but currently the time investment was too large and the ROI too tentative compared to other proven approaches.

Google+ - Currently it our thinking that you need to be on Google+, if only to broadcast to the Public that you have a new blog post, change in your website, event coming up, new Video, Vine, or other new content.  It is also fun to create Meme's with creative sayings or even sales content.  Investment might be 20 minutes a week.  No serious expectations for ROI right now.

SnapChat - We have clients who are successfully using Instagram.  Mostly to feed pictures to other media.  We are not using Vine, but do believe there is potential in using very short visual media for some opportunities in other media, like Google+ and Twitter.  We can't imagine any use for SnapChat, yet.

We would love to hear from you about your thoughts on all of these.  Have you had a major success that others could learn from?

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