Cindy Crawford has the day off. Justin Timberlake will be safe. Bob Dylan won’t urge us to stay forever young. The Doritos crystal ball says that Pepsi will be taking a different approach this year.
One of the biggest days in advertising, where television spots run in the millions for big players like Budweiser, Coke and GoDaddy, will have less competition this year. For the first time in 23 years Pepsi will not be advertising during the Super Bowl.
Pepsi is turning to the internet with their Refresh Project in which consumers can suggest ways that Pepsi can improve their community. In this cause marketing campaign, consumers will vote where Pepsi will donate $20 million.
This is quite a statement for a marketing behemoth to rely on an online conversation with their customers to grow their market share. So if the big guys can do it, how can a company like yours use social media to grow your business?
Integrate social media.
Let’s make things clear. Don’t abandon all of your current marketing tactics for the internet. Rest assured Pepsi is still using traditional marketing to get your business. Social media should be used as a way to have a conversation with your customers and offer customer service. Through these channels, your loyal customers can create a viral up swell of brand awareness that will eventually lead to sales.
Traditional advertising like television and direct mail is where you should use a direct sales approach. But don’t forget to ask prospects and customers to join your online communities like Facebook and Twitter in all of your marketing efforts to build the numbers involved in the online conversation.
Dedicate time to your profiles.
Social media is inexpensive but it does cost you time. If you create a profile on a social media site, get followers and never communicate with them, this is doing nothing for your company. You need to get involved so assign someone the task of communicating at a minimum of once per week. Before jumping in, understand your goal for social media and your target audience. Are you addressing customer service issues, providing educational material or sharing special offers occasionally?
Respond. Respond. Respond.
Whether you receive good news or bad from a social media site, you need to respond in a timely manner. Don’t ignore or alter the bad news. Address it as you would if they called in and show your fans that you care. It’s important to remain authentic in all your actions. Additionally, you may want to consider setting up a Google Alerts—a free service of Google to let you know when something shows up in their search engine—for your company name so you can keep an eye on what’s being said anywhere online about you.
By the way, voting opens today at www.refresheverything.com so lend your voice to Pepsi to make a difference in our community.