General Mills Tackles Social Media – How Social Media Helps Market Products

The term “social media” has caught the internet, news media and other networks by storm over the last few years. What exactly is it? Social media started out as a way for people to connect with their friends, family and other people on the Internet in one central place. Websites such as Facebook, MySpace and Twitter give people the opportunity to share information, photos, news and other things with the people that they know. After only a short period of time, businesses realized that they could use social media as well to market products, services, websites or other relevant information. These days, you can find just about any large company, small business, news outlet and other media companies using social media and social networking to market their company, products or services. One of these such companies is General Mills and how they use it really goes to show how effective it can be.

Recently, General Mills rolled out a line of cookie, brownie and cake mixes that are gluten free. Food products that are gluten free are said to be healthier because some people have food allergies or sensitivities to products that contain gluten. Gluten is composed with different grains and some people cannot tolerate them. Since General Mills had this product that they wanted to market to people who were looking for gluten free cookie, cake and brownie mixes, they needed a way to get the word out fast. In order to spread the work quickly and effectively, they turned to social media.

One of the ways that General Mills has marketed to people is by sending out samples of their gluten free products to popular bloggers on the Internet. In turn, the bloggers write reviews or make posts about the products on their websites and that generates sales for General Mills. Here are a few reasons why this method of marketing is smart and effective:

  • The Internet is present in just about every area of the world, which makes it easy to access. By marketing online, companies are reaching more people than ever before.
  • Using social networking websites can easily create a fan base and following, especially for companies like General Mills that have been in business for several years and already have well known products.
  • Having a Facebook, Myspace or Twitter page is completely free. Even if free samples are provided to bloggers, it is very cheap compared to expensive television, radio and billboard ads.
  • It reaches more markets than traditional advertising.

Gluten free products are more expensive than the products that contain the grain combination, but for people who cannot tolerate it, it is money that they seem willing to pay. Social media is a market niche that seems to continuously growing and it is not letting up.

Effecting Planning of Exhibitions: An Advertising Tool in Marketing the Designer and His Products

Exhibition is the public display of artefacts such as manufactured goods, food, artefacts etc. in order to attract viewers and buyers. An effective exhibition should be well planned and organized. It is also noteworthy that only excellent works that merits appreciation and shows artists’ exceptional skills should be exhibited.

The organization of an exhibition is very relevant. Its importance cannot be over-emphasized. Some of the purposes of organizing and mounting of an exhibition are outlined below:

1. It showcases the designs and works of an artist: An exhibition mounted by an artist helps him to show the entire world what he/she is able to do. This invariably would help him to gain customers who may be interested in the purchase of any of his works or designs.

2. It offers an avenue for the sale of products: An exhibition gives the artist the platform to explain the concepts and ideas behind his artistic creations and this would move viewers to purchase some of his mounted works.

3. It promotes the manufacturer: An exhibition affords people the opportunity to know the manufacturer. This promotes and makes him popular or known.

4. It promotes competition and creativity in the industry: When an exhibition is mounted by the artist, other artists come to view his artistic creations. These artists are inspired by the works seen and are challenged to produce works that surpasses those they have seen. This ensures the development of new ideas and new products in the industry.

5. It entertains all in attendance: People who come for the exhibition are entertained after viewing the varied products of the artist. They gain new experiences of artistic productions and this greatly entertains them. Also, it may help them to get new friends and interact with people of different backgrounds. The side attractions such as the music played at the occasion all adds an entertainment flavor to the entire programme.

Exhibitions are broadly classified into two. These are General exhibitions and specialized exhibitions. General Exhibition is whereby varieties of items are displayed to the general public. It attracts all kinds of exhibits or works. It should be noted that several products are exhibited during general exhibitions. Several products such as Bags, belts, shoes etc. are exhibited at the same time. It can be called a Bazaar or Fair.

On the contrary, specialized exhibition involves the display of a specific kind of product or artifact. For instance, when only bags are exhibited, we can say it is a specialized exhibition. However, varieties of the same product thus, bags are exhibited.

It should be noted that either of these types of exhibition can be organized at various levels such as Individual exhibition, Group exhibition, Institutional exhibition, Community exhibition, District exhibition, Regional exhibition, National exhibition and International exhibition.

An effective exhibition should be well thought of or planned before it is organized. Several factors come to the fore in the planning of an exhibition.

1. Type of exhibition- The artist or organizers of the exhibition should seriously consider the type of exhibition that they want to mount whether a specialized or generalized exhibition. If the exhibition is organized by a different body, the artist should make the necessary inquiry through trade publications, newspapers, internet etc. to know precisely the type of exhibition to be organized. This would help him to prepare accordingly.

2. What to exhibit-The artist should deeply consider the kinds of exhibit to mount. He should consider the theme of the exhibition, the background of the potential viewers such as their age group, sex, levels of education and even their income levels. This would aid him in knowing the kind of artefacts to exhibit.

3. Where to exhibit- The place or venue for the exhibition should be carefully considered. Its location should be at the heart or centre of his most expected guests or the target group. The venue must be easy to locate. The premises should be spacious, clean, well ventilated and well lit.

4. Cost involved- The cost to be incurred for the organization of the entire exhibition should be carefully rolled out. The cost of publicity, side attractions/ programmes, preparation of the venue etc. must be well planned.

5. Publicity- This refers to the means by which the organisers want to broadcast or make known the exhibition to the general public. The best and most effective means of publicity should be adopted and implemented. Should it be done through posters, banners, flyers, signposts, open air announcement, brochures or the internet? The organizers should think about it critically.

6. Expected number of guests/visitors- The number of people to be expected at the exhibition grounds should be well thought of. This would help the organizers to plan the exhibition well. It would enable them to choose the right venue in terms of size, the number of seating etc. for the exhibition.

7. Duration/Time- The length of time for the exhibition should be planned well. Will the exhibition last for a day, days etc. The time for the start of the programme and the time it would end should be thought of carefully and communicated with the expected guests prior to the programme.

8. Security- The organizers should beef up the security at the exhibition grounds to protect the exhibitors, invitees and the exhibits. This would make all in attendance very secured.

9. Visitor’s book- This is a special book that is made available to all the invited guests to write down their names, contacts, comments and experiences. This would enable artists to contact prospective buyers of their products and in the planning of future exhibitions.

10. General layout- The entire arrangement of the exhibits, seating etc. should be artistic and nice. There shouldn’t be any room for crowdedness and congestion. The place should be comely and refreshing.

Exhibitions are the enticements that draw people to the products and services offered by a business. Therefore it must be carefully planned. This would ensure that the products manufactured by individuals, groups or enterprises will have mass sales and sensitization among the populace.

Introduce Yourself to Your Product

Think for a moment, who is your competition? You are selling to people who can choose from a large number of sites selling the same thing.

If your attitude is, as long as you advertise it is not necessary for you to understand the features of the product you are selling. After all people go to your website and can see your product. Why would you need to know all about the merchandise. This attitude needs to change if you want to be in business. People want to know that you understand the features of the product and can help them if it becomes necessary. They are more likely to buy when they know there are people they can talk to, That gives them confidence.

To instill even more confidence is to have guarantees for your product. Use well known companies to back your business practices. Having the BBB logo on your website creates a site people feel secure buying products.

When shopping for price people shop at the local Walmart or KMart stores. They may buy clothes or pots and pans. Although people know that they could get a better deal on speakers and other electronics, they shop at specialty stores. The price is twice as much but they have good customer knowledge and people know it. There customer service is specialized to their specific product. Which the discount stores can’t do because they have a generalized product line.

Stand above the competition. Become an authority. Be someone your customers can go to
for advise. Marketing needs to go hand in hand with product knowledge.