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Make Social Media Work for Your Business

Would you trade your friends for a free burger? Or take a free trip to a mystery destination with someone you barely know? For Facebook users, these are real questions with real answers, thanks to innovative ad campaigns by Burger King and Scandinavian Airlines.

Check out this video. It refers to a Burger King ad campaign where Facebook users would receive a free whopper if they deleted 10 friends. It totally turned the Facebook philosophy on its head, garnering huge buzz in the process; so huge, in fact, that Facebook started limiting the “Remove Friend” functionality, eventually forcing Burger King to end the campaign. Of course, it caused even more of a stir in the Facebook community when the campaign was called off, guaranteeing that millions more people would learn about the ad. For Burger King, this strategy was an unqualified success.

Scandinavian Airlines decided to take a less disruptive but equally clever approach with their Goble of Fortune ad Campaign. They created a Facebook application where people spun a wheel to win a trip to a random destination with a random Facebook friend. For Facebook users who pile up “friends" they hardly know by the dozen, this could be a painful proposition—because they could very well be headed to a single’s resort . . . with their high school classmate’s father-in-law . . . who has bad breath . . . or never stops talking . . . or both . . . or something far worse . . .). The possibilities were endless (and hilarious), so even the people who didn’t win were entertained by the plight of the people who did.

These types of outside-the-box ad campaigns take full advantage of the unique marketing power of social media, and here’s the best part: you don’t need to be a multi-million dollar business in order to do it.

Over the past few years, Facebook has cemented its place as the number one social media site for users and marketers alike, and that spells LEADS for your business. . It’s your chance to put your name out there - to connect with your potential customers in a very personal way that’s not possible through traditional means of marketing. And the best part: it doesn’t’ require any fancy ad campaigns or pay-per-click marketing.

All you really need to do is combine the power of social media (like Facebook or Twitter) with proven methods for generating web traffic (like search engine optimization). The trick is to put together a campaign that makes people look twice--like they did when Burger King ended friendships by the thousands or when SAS united strangers on a flight to a mystery vacation.

Social media and online marketing offer so many marketing opportunities that there is simply no excuse for a cookie-cutter campaign (or for having no campaign at all). With a little imagination and some marketing know-how behind it, you can launch a marketing strategy that will bring a big increase in traffic with a small impact on your wallet.

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