[tweetmeme]How should you use social media for your business?
A young company called IdeaPaint offers an excellent example of how to effectively use social media to spread the word about the business, engage customers, generate leads and increase sales.
IdeaPaint is a startup based in Ashland, Massachusetts that sells innovative single-coat, roller-applied paint that turn surfaces into a high-performance dry-erase writing surface. Through their product, walls and desks can be turned into dry erase boards, perfect for schools, work and even at home.
As a young company, they need to reach target audiences at the lowest cost possible, and social media has given them the opportunity to generate that buzz that they need. No fancy (and expensive) apps for them – just using the various social media platform to talk to their customers.
Here is how this startup is extensively using social media to generate lead and traffic for its business. Learn from their social media strategies:
IdeaPaint’s blog is their hub of social media activity. They publish videos, images and stories of how their clients are using IdeaPaint. They use the blog to showcase benefits experienced by their customers: the product’s ease of use, savings it generates for customers and how it is an effective tool for fostering collaboration and boosting creativity.
The company encourages its customers to send in videos and pictures of how they are using IdeaPaint to create and collaborate. On a recent post, they highlighted how an architectural design firm Gensler is using “IdeaPaint wall for mind-mapping, design planning and group brainstorming.”
Schools being a major target market for IdeaPaint, they recently blogged about how an Alaskan school district that used IdeaPaint and saved 66% “in purchase, installation, upkeep, and replacement costs.” Two schools in the district have switched from traditional chalkboard to IdeaPaint, and the blog talked about the benefits the customer experienced after the switch.
Through specific examples and testimonials from customers, the company is able to communicate that their product works and customers are highly satisfied with the product. These blog postings build the company’s credibility as potential customers see how the product is used from third parties, and not just company PR spin.
As of this writing, the IdeaPaint Facebook page has 3,992 fans. They use Facebook to listen to, respond to, and interact with the community that content engages. They are very active in answering questions from users such as:
“I’m thinking of using this in my classroom, and I was wondering if I can remove the paint after it has been applied. My classroom has slate blackboards, they are very old. What do you think?”
“Very cool product. Would love to try it for our office. Here’s a question: Can we paint over if we move? Will it be obvious?”
They also use Facebook to share their blog posts, as well as press and writeups the company has received. They also use it to get feedback on the usefulness of their instructions video. They even ask their users how they learned about IdeaPaint, which is always great information from marketing perspective.
Twitter is another social media hub that IdeaPaint uses to engage with its customers and share company news. With 2,228 Twitter followers, @IdeaPaint shares blog posts and examples of how their products are used.
They also search for brand mentions, and respond to the questions and comments of Twitter users. More importantly, they are using Twitter to convert users into customers. IdeaPaint is always on the lookout for folks expressing interest in using their product, taking it as an opportunity to generate sales. They even offer free samples to those who express interest and plans of using their product.
Take this exchange for example where a Twitter user expressed interest in painting a wall in his home office with IdeaPaint:
IdeaPaint picked up the tweet, and offered the user a free dry sample of the product:
IdeaPaint uses YouTube primarily to educate video viewers of the benefits and usage of their product. They have posted 27 videos so far, with their HELP – IdeaPaint Installation Video generating pageviews of 33,362!
They use Flickr http://www.flickr.com/photos/ideapaint/ to post pictures of how to use their product. They also use it to showcase customer photo submissions of how they use the product. They divide their Flickr into different collections based on how the product is used: work, home, school, awesome installations of customers, cool companies who’re using IdeaPaint, events they have participated in, as well as videos.
Below is a video of IdeaPaint explaining their social media strategy produced for Mashable.com