The advice we often give our clients during a downturn is that they should keep investing in advertising, public relations and marketing promotion to maintain their corporate visibility. The main reason is that this will increase brand awareness as your competitors scale back, leading to a healthy uptick in sales when the market begins to grow again.
To be sure, there is truth in this advice and there have been many well-documented studies showing that consistent visibility in tough times leads to market share gains down the road. But this falls flat when companies are struggling to keep the lights on. And even though things have improved somewhat, the recession is far from over (unfortunately). In this reality, managers are more likely to be interested in investing in marketing activities that lead to sales today, not some fuzzy hope for the future.
Given this reality, the best communications strategies are those that deliver measurable results in the short-term while also helping to elevate the company’s visibility for long-term gain. With those goals in mind, one of the best approaches available to companies pulls together the strategic and high-value content of public relations and merges it with social media.
During the past 18 months, the media landscape has changed dramatically with the rise of user-generated content. Social networks (Facebook), web-based video (YouTube), and blogging and micro-blogging (Twitter) platforms have enthralled and empowered individuals. Anyone can go online as both a consumer and publisher of media.
For business, social media is emerging as a channel to reach prospects, partners, investors, employees and market influencers in a measurable, targeted fashion. In a down economy, the business case for a company to fund an investment in social media is clear and compelling:
- Generates leads from prospects who have self-identified as being interested in your goods and services
- Helps to supports your sales cycle and cross-sell activities
- Improves search engine optimization (SEO) results (leading to more leads)
- Increases the success of co-marketing and partner programs
- Strengthens customer relationships
- Creates broader awareness in your brand while defining your position in the market
- Allows you to quickly pursue new markets and opportunities
In tomorrow’s post, we’ll take a look at how compelling content can make your social media outreach programs come alive.
Author: Megan McKenzie
Megan McKenzie provides strategic leadership to McKenzie Worldwide and the agency’s work with technology companies in enterprise, consumer, wireless, networking, & cybersecurity.