Chain Store Guide’s Marketing 101 series is designed to assist our clients and subscribers in their marketing endeavours and maximize their success.

Whether using Waze as a GPS, Skype for a conference call, or Yelp to find the best restaurants in town, using social media has become an everyday occurrence. From its start in the early 90s with Geocities, social media platforms have grown into a multi-billion dollar industry with companies like Facebook generating over $40B. Social media isn’t only for teenagers obsessed with Snapchat filters or millennials posting images of their dinner plates; according to research, nearly 68% of adults have a Facebook profile with at least 33% using the website daily. YouTube has almost 1.5B users, Instagram falling just below that at 1B, and Twitter and LinkedIn both have just over 300M. Additionally, 77% of all businesses have at least one social account to help drive brand awareness through fun and entertaining campaigns.

What Does Social Media do for You?

With the end goal of getting your products and services in front of decision makers, the traditional method of using Chain Store Guide’s sales lead databases to contact companies will always give the best opportunity, but there are other approaches to assist your business. Increasing brand awareness with consumers and influencers is a great way to gain recognition. Shoppers spend 20%-40% more money in locations that use the brands they follow on social media.

Executives are aware of these stats and often search online networks to find the latest trending brands. While there isn’t a quantifiable metric to assess if a brand is trending, it typically refers to a post “gone viral.” Engaging, entertaining, emotional, and drama filled posts are often reposted continuously to the point where the original posts gain popularity with the general public and become a trend. Unique or memorable hashtags enhance the chances of a post trending and will likely be noticed by influencers, buyers, and other decision makers.

Stores like Macy’s have been known to reach out to trending brands to offer shelf space in their stores. Ulta Beauty, a company known for changing out its product lines to stay current, wants to know its products resonate with its clientele. Wendy’s became famous for its critical posts adding entertainment and drama to generate awareness and keep viewers engaged. Even manufacturers of equipment that will never be bought by a consumer can benefit from gaining exposure; having an online presence helps give your company a competitive edge.

How Do You Gain Brand Awareness?

For B2B companies creating a social media campaign is slightly different than retail and food services that are B2C. For instance, a company that sells industrial fryers to fast-food restaurants isn’t going to gain a lot of attention from online users by the traditional method of posting one or two status updates a day. Businesses must create a sensation that draws the online viewer in and keeps them interested. Companies bring people in who are like-minded, whether it is an environmental campaign, donating money to a specific charity or cause, or core beliefs. Wendy’s keeps people interested in “throwing shade” on just about everyone. It’s not a recommended path for an unknown brand, but it paid off for Wendy’s, and consumers and suppliers alike enjoy the witty remarks. Other companies post about their environmental impact, and low carbon footprint which pulls in a following, and then other companies create campaigns around charity events. Whichever way you decide to go for your social media campaign, dedication, and knowing your target audience will be critical.

In this day and age, where technology is at the forefront of everyone’s minds, staying relevant is imperative for success. Nearly 53% of executives turn to social media before making a purchasing decision for their company. With so many platform options, such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and YouTube readily available, choosing two, or three networks for your business is the smart way to stay ahead of the competition.