Aside from being at the forefront of technological innovations, what else does industrial titan General Electric excel at?
Believe it or not, it’s digital marketing. General Electric’s strategic approach to its online marketing campaigns are admired by both seasoned and rookie marketers alike. From participating on popular social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram, GE is also present on Vine and Tumblr.
The brand is exploring new frontiers with help from Wattpad creative writers as well. If that’s not enough, they have teamed up with National Geographic to bring TV audiences incredible glimpses of the future through their series, Breakthrough.
Of course, not all brands have the budget for six-hour series productions, nor the resources to be seen from LinkedIn to Medium. But General Electric has a thing or two to teach today’s digital marketers.
Reflect Your Vision in All Your Efforts
What makes GE’s content so endearing? Is it the stunning visuals? The hundreds of shares on social media? The answer: none of the above. If you observe the types of content that General Electric shares online, you’ll see that they are all about innovation, new technology, or looking at science with a new perspective. It’s GE’s vision for its company and for the world.
This is the main reason they stand out above their competition. In order to successfully market yourself online, you’ll need to first find WHAT you do that’s different. In the case of GE, they want to bring science closer to average folks. They want to make it fun, entertaining, yet educational. Thus, #6SecondScience campaign was born.
It’s one of their most successful online marketing ideas to date. It began with a quick science experiment on Vine, which rapidly became popular that the brand decided to create a social media contest out of it.
One small business that has recently been gaining plenty of buzz thanks to their unique branding strategy is condiment master, Sir Kensington’s. Founded by Scott Norton and Mark Ramadan in 2008, the brand promotes itself as a more refined alternative to mass-marketed products. Just how “refined” are they?
"A gentleman is someone who can play the accordion, but doesn't" -Tom Waits
— Sir Kensington's (@sirkensingtons) October 5, 2015
Check out their monocle-wearing logo, fancy Twitter quotes, and their vintage-inspired stories, and you’ll soon find a sophisticated food lover in you. One who shares Sir Kensington’s vision that good food doesn’t have to play by the rules.
Be The First To Try New Platforms
When it comes to profit, familiar is better. Trying out something new will no doubt eat up valuable resources and require fresh talent. Depending on your industry, trying something new is just a waste of time and money. In digital marketing however, it could spell the difference between staying relevant OR being forgotten. General Electric knows this. That’s why they are usually the first brand to begin a marketing campaign on a new social platform before their competitors.
Back when Snapchat was still gaining traction with brands, GE joined in the fun – just in time for the 45th anniversary of the moon landing. They created their first Snap on July 15, 2014, accompanied their announcement with a “special surprise” for fans. And in 2015, the industrial company had its very own geofilter to get young fans fired up and ready for their Holidays. The Snapchat feature, activated only with location services, will show a specific GE travel filter for photos so you can tell friends and family where you’re headed.
Thanks to everyone who used our Snapchat Travel Filter at the airport! Look for it again on Christmas Eve. ✈️ pic.twitter.com/VZRq9O8ovb
— General Electric (@generalelectric) December 1, 2015
The brand hopes to remain relevant to Snapchat’s young demographic because they are the “next generation of customers, investors, and employees”. Wise words indeed from a brand with vision.
Interested in knowing how Snapchat can help promote your business through geofilters? You can now create on-demand geofilters that showcases your logo, business name, or any other type of promotional content that you’re authorized to use. Make sure to register for an account first before you could try out this marketing strategy. This is great for local businesses who want to spread the word about their enterprise or event.
Relate Your Brand To Modern Ideas
One of the most challenging aspects of digital marketing is connecting your brand’s message to what people are talking about. This can be exceptionally tricky if you’re in niche markets such as construction and engineering. After all, who wants to chat about science, innovation, and manufacturing? Always on the forefront however, General Electric was able to rise up to the challenge and even succeeded in attracting people to their campaigns.
Their Pinterest profile is proof of what happens when creative digital marketing ideas meet trending topics. One of their most successful boards, “Hey Girl”, is a collection of romantic pickup lines from famous GE scientists and has almost 18,000 Followers.
Another brand that refuses to fall behind on trends is hemp-clothing maker, Jungmaven. Founder Robert Jungmann’s ultimate goal is to get everyone on a hemp tee by 2020 to help mitigate climate change. To make his goal a reality, he makes sure the Jungmaven line is just as competitive when it comes to style.
Their Instagram account is filled with inspiring and trendy images that are an obvious hit with their 7,000 Followers.
Today’s consumers are smart. They have the Web and social media at their fingertips. They are no longer easily swayed by TV ads, Facebook promotions, or BuzzFeed videos (entertaining as they may be). Today’s consumers want to be a part of something BIG. Millennials in particular, are highly concerned about social impacts and becoming change agents.
If you want to achieve big things, you need to think BIG – and pair up with someone big, too. That’s why GE teamed up with National Geographic to give an old message a new twist. The special series, “Breakthrough”, is all about cutting-edge innovations that explore how far we can go to pushing the boundaries of science.
But what if you don’t have the budget to have your own series? As attested by wool company, Duckworth, businesses don’t need to go after expensive TV channels in order to accomplish BIG things. The Montana-based wool clothing brand is slowly establishing itself in the niche of outdoor clothing thanks to news features with select publications such as Powder, Backpacker, and Men’s Journal.
These publications not only showcase their products, but also tell their company’s story, which is important if Duckworth wants to connect with their customers on a personal level.
It’s definitely tempting to want to go viral. After all, you’re guaranteed hundreds if not thousands of hits overnight. Plenty of digital marketers even plan their strategies based on viral success stories like Dove’s “Real Beauty Sketches” or Lay’s “Do Us a Flavor”. While these brands have definitely won in the arena of online marketing, the REAL question afterwards becomes: now what?
A viral digital marketing campaign is awesome, especially if you’re a small firm who wants to compete with the big boys in your industry. However, businesses should also think about long-term marketing. How will your strategy hold up in five or ten years from now? Are the things you’re doing now aimed at ensuring consumer loyalty? Is your marketing plan designed to withstand changes in technology and the Web?
That’s why GE has diversified their marketing tactics to reach more of the younger generation, which they consider to be their company’s future. They’re not just inspiring buyers: they are also attracting potential investors and employees. According to CMO Linda Boff in an interview with Adweek, General Electric had always been about stories of bringing people passionate about science together. Unlike viral sensations, stories stick.
If you look closely, you’ll see that their online marketing content is ripe with stories: even their photos have a tale to tell.
Right now, GE is also investing in creative writers on Wattpad to put a new spin into their old Science comic books. General Electric’s official Wattpad account currently has more than 30,000 Followers, and their featured story “Our Place in Space” has been read more than 16,000 times.
Another long-term strategy that GE is implementing is customer reviews. They are today’s version of word-of-mouth advertising. Not only are they a powerful tool when it comes to local SEO, customer reviews are great social proof that your products and/or services are better than competitors.
Customers who visit the GE appliance website can leave testimonies about the electronics they bought. If they have issues or concerns, a GE representative is also standing by to provide assistance.
In an overly competitive world of electronics, perhaps one of the best things that could separate you from your rivals is excellent customer service – told through stellar reviews. That’s how ABT Electronics in Glenview, IL has remained in business for more than 80 years. If you take a look at their Facebook account, you can see a separate tab for reviews alone.
Their account on Yelp also boasts of good reviews from new and repeat customers.
Thanks to this strategy – as well as their exceptional attention to customer service – they have managed to remain strong despite the growing preference for tech giants like Best Buy.
Remember: viral hits are just that – viral hits. General Electric and ABT Electronics have proven that by combining digital marketing tactics with good old-fashioned concepts, you can be competitive for the long haul.
General Electric is not the only brand in the market today that utilizes clever digital marketing techniques. You too, can play it smart by observing what they do best and then adopting them into your own campaign. You don’t have to spend millions on partnerships or ads: it’s all about having a clear picture of where you want to be.
About the Author: SEO consultant Al Gomez is the man behind SEOExpertPage.com, Dlinkers and UnliDeals, a company dedicated to complete digital marketing services. With more than nine years of experience, he enjoys supporting smartpreneurs like himself achieve online success. Chat with him on Twitter at @alseoblog.