Friday 25 January 2013

Why Your Social Campaigns Need Promotional Products

By Lorna Walkden | Ellenell

Social media has seen unprecedented growth in a short lifespan. For many businesses, a presence on sites such as Facebook and Twitter is now a necessity. Consumers often visit a social media page more frequently than the company website itself, and this has a vast influence on branding, public perception, and direct business growth.

But where do promotional products fit in? Social media is a great way to deliver information quickly and to a wide audience and is self-perpetuating as posts are liked, shared, or retweeted. But with such a bombardment of information, how much is really noted or remembered? Promotional products can help to make this activity more memorable by providing something tactile in return for ‘Likes’ and ‘Re-Tweets’.

In its simplest form, this relationship can simply see promotional products being offered as a thank you for ‘following’ a given social site. But, it can also be used to obtain marketing data, such as an email address or phone number. For example, a company can use Facebook as a point of contact for consumers to register their details in exchange for a free gift such as a pen or a branded bag. This has a twofold benefit; whilst brand exposure is created by the distribution of giveaways, the company is also adding valuable information to its customer database.

Creating a particular buzz or vibe around a business can greatly enhance its brand image – an activity that is so well suited to social media. When combined with promotional products, it can be even more powerful. There are many ways to do this, but one idea is to create an online competition where the first person to re-tweet a post (or picture) receives a branded gift.

For businesses with a ‘bricks and mortar’ presence, promotional gifts can be used one step further - as an incentive to drive footfall. For example, Facebook followers could be incentivized to ‘check in’ to their local store, in return for free merchandise. Social sites such as FourSquare can also be used for this purpose, helping to generate a local buzz. For this kind of activity, it is worth investing in some high-quality merchandise – such as a branded leather iPad case – to create demand and interest.

The visual nature of social media, in particular photo and video sharing, is one of its key benefits – underlined by the growth of sites such as Pinterest. Companies can look into creating profiles on image-sharing networks to promote photographs of their services and products. However, an often underutilized area is their use in branding campaigns. Promotional products are arguably one of the most effective tools for this purpose since a photograph of someone using or wearing a branded product can help to promote both a company and its logo.

Businesses can take advantage of this by finding brand advocates, who are willing to endorse a brand or company. Then, it is simply a case of sending these advocates free company merchandise to promote via social channels!

In these ways, promotional products can support and enhance social media campaigns within businesses, offering something more tangible to the virtual world. Despite being a technological society, we all still benefit from the simple and traditional approach, as it has an undeniable impact on the consumer and a real effect on the psyche, that simply cannot be replicated by using online marketing alone.

Lorna Walkden is part of the marketing team at Ellenell, a promotional products company based in London.

Contact your local Promotional Products Specialist for more trends.

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