Social media has been around in one form or another since 1997 when Six Degrees provided online profiles and allowed users to invite friends. I may have had a profile. I remember using ICQ and AIM to communicate, way before WhatsApp, Twitter and Facebook. I won’t go into bulletin boards and 1200-bits/s (600 baud) modems at the risk of reanimating my inner geek superpower. This post is to remind all my marketing and demand generation colleagues, that even after 20 years of social media, social marketing is still super powerful. Today marketers use social marketing platforms, like Sprinklr, Spredfast and Oracle Social Marketing, to plan, listen and respond to their audience as well as execute outbound campaigns. These are great for marketers with budgets but what about the mom/pop shop, start-up or non-profit?
I rediscovered my superpowers recently volunteering for the Overland Emergency Response Network aka OERNet. OERNet educates and organizes local overlanders to act to support first responders. Yes, social media marketing is not new or new to me but the results we achieved with just a little work and zero budget shocked everyone. Within 2-3 months, OERNet went from 22 Facebook Followers to over 1000. Five hundred prospective volunteers signed up for regional Groups. We were able to start volunteer operations in 5 states. Our initial success attracted great companies like, 5.11, Warn Industries, MES Inc, Mountain Khakis, Factor 55, Warrior Products, Overland Expo and Kong Coolers to support our cause. Our meet/greets attracted so many overland vehicles that we are looking for a much bigger location to host the event. We used Facebook to start/plan/execute a hurricane relief supply drive that resulted in 15 pallets of donations and a convoy to Houston. Now that is powerful!
I could ramble on but let me provide just one more number, EIGHTY-FIVE!!! OERNet partnered with WARN to provide a free winch recovery seminar for over 100 people. We limited registrants to an overbooked 120 and filled the space to capacity. With some clever social media marketing, we got an attendance rate of 85%! Yes, 85% on a free onsite event. I wish I could convert at that rate on all my campaigns!
After two decades, social media is a normal part of our daily lives. Social media marketing is no longer new and cool but don’t be distracted by the latest shiny tool, like artificial intelligence or predictive. Social marketing still has a key place in any marketing plan. No budget, no problem, superpowers are free.