Use social networks to drive sales gains

Peter Field

As we enter recession, marketing budgets are being cut and a massive increase in price promotion is taking place, neither of which will achieve the intended goal of improving profitability. A better approach is to look for ways of achieving additional campaign impact at relatively low cost, such as using social networks.

Many campaigns have benefited accidentally from social networks as consumers have picked up interesting ideas and shared them among their friends. Happy accidents are nice when they happen, but in the current climate we need to work the social network circuit more actively. So in this article I will examine campaigns that set out deliberately to use social networks to enhance reach and impact.

Clearly, their power is as facilitators of buzz – and readers of this column will already have seen a lot of evidence of the power of buzz-generating communications ('fame' campaigns). So social networks ought to offer a powerful role in promoting brands, if used wisely. Happily, in the WARC archive, there are a growing number of case studies of success using social networks that we can learn from.