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When I was growing up, my brother and I built a lemonade stand out of leftover lumber and opted to sell Kool-Aid instead of the traditional drink made from lemons. Our goal was to earn enough money for a new bike that we would share and to accomplish this before the end of the summer.
During the peak summer season, the neighborhood was filled with kids on skateboards, scooters and bikes. Our street was the playground and so, as smart entrepreneurs, we plopped a sandwich board sign at either end directing potential buyers to our central location.
Day one was a grand success but as the days passed our sales dropped precipitously. Were the signs not big enough? Did we set up too far back off the sidewalk? Were we charging too much for a paper cup filled with our product? In the afternoon on day five we decided to take turns manning the booth while the other joined our friends at various games up and down the street.
On Sunday afternoon, after the first week, our Mom asked "how is your Kool-Aid stand working out?" Forlornly, I replied that it didn't look like we were going to be able to buy a bike after all. My brother turned to me and declared that it was because I was making the Kool-Aid too sweet. When I asked how he knew this, he replied that he overheard the kids complaining about it when he was playing kick the can with them on Saturday afternoon.
That following day I followed the recipe on the package exactly and when it was my turn to play, I let everyone know that we had a new recipe and a free sample for anyone who wanted to try it. Sure enough, our sales jumped back to where they were and by the end of the summer my brother and I had a brand new bike that we fought over throughout the fall season that year.
The moral of the story is that we would never have found out why our sales were so lousy nor would we have been able to let our customers know that we fixed the problem if we hadn't socialized with them and listened to what they had to say.
The same holds true in today's marketing and shows the importance of employing a social media marketing strategy that keeps an eye on the pulse of your customers. Here are some points to consider if you're hesitant about taking that first step.
You cannot afford to not spend money on social media. It provides the perfect venue to spread the word about current and new products and is available at a relatively low cost.
Social media listening is just as important as talking. If my brother hadn't listened to what the other kids were saying about my lousy recipe, we would have ended up throwing in the towel.
Speaking knowledgeably in social media creates trust and loyalty in your product. By letting your customers know that you understand what they're looking for and how you're going to provide it instills confidence in your products.
Being aware of issues today, means quick marketing solutions tomorrow. This is how Coke realized that their new white cans looked too much like Diet Coke and were able to remedy the problem before they ended up with warehouses filled with the newly designed cans or even worse, lost customers.
So consider Social Media as you move ahead with your marketing plan in the future and hopefully, as you see improvements in your ROI, you won't have to share your bike with your brother.