Social Network Marketing Is About Brand Building, Not Bringin' in the Benjamins


105467“What can social network marketing do for me?”

We get asked that question a lot.

In fact, as early as last week, during our social media seminar, we were asked why social networking is important and how it can help individual companies.

A few years ago there were few answers to these questions. The buzz was there – that social networking was the be-all-end-all to every industry – but no one had solid results on how social network marketing helped or hurt a company’s bottom line.

Today the story is very different. As more and more businesses add social media to their marketing programs, the more available real results have become. Perhaps not in terms of actual financial figures, but rest assured that social network marketing is working in other ways to help companies keep a hold on their customers.

A new survey from Anderson Analytics, disseminated by eMarketer, reports that social networks are being used by companies for branding, improving customer loyalty, lead generation, direct marketing and e-commerce.

And now for the best news you’ve heard in a while … it’s working!

redlobster

According to the survey, which was conducted this past May, 52% of social network users had become a fan or follower of a company or brand, while 46% had said something good about a brand or company on a social networking Web site, which eMarketer points out, is double the percentage who had said something negative (23%).

Think about that. 200 million people (and counting) use Facebook. And if this survey is accurate, 100 million people have become “fans” or followers of their favorite brands.

That’s a lot of loyalty!

It’s about time, too.

I, for one, am ecstatic to see brands finally rounding third when it comes to using Facebook, Twitter and other applications to their advantage.

For instance, just the other day, I was on Facebook and on my Home section was a video posted by Red Lobster, known far and wide to be my fave restaurant (don’t judge!). Not only was I compelled to motor down to Times Square to indulge in a gluttonous love affair with Endless Shrimp, but before I left I had shared the Endless Shrimp promo video with my own network of friends, updated my status to declare my penchant for cheap seafood (and Cheddar Bay Biscuits), and I left a comment on the Red Lobster fan page about how I – and no one else – was their #1 fan.

If they got all of that from me, just imagine what they got from the rest of their nearly 10,000 Facebook fans.

That’s sort of the point of all this, isn’t it? Companies may not be able to measure how much money social network marketing is bringing in (but you can bet it is bringing it in), but they can measure the level of loyalty people have based on the conversations they’re now part of online. People like that. They like to feel like they’re part of the process.

And they’re proving it by connecting to brands in ways none of us ever thought possible.

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