What is social marketing?
When we talk about social marketing what it is we’re referring to is a strategy that sets out to change people's behaviour in a positive way. It involves using a number of different marketing techniques and approaches in which to do this and is a very effective tool. The aim of social marketing is to bring about a ‘social good’ opposed to reaping any commercial benefits.
Social marketing and the cycling industry go very well together for many reasons. Firstly, cycling is a great way to get fit. It’s also one of the easiest forms of exercise for people to squeeze into their busy schedules. Many people choose to cycle to work as ‘it kills two birds with one stone’, so to speak. Not only can they beat the traffic, avoid the congestion and get to work early every day, they also get to burn calories while doing so. For the consumer, that’s definitely a double bonus.
Secondly, cycling is good for the environment too. Thankfully, there are a lot of people out there that really care about the environment and choose to cycle to work as a way of doing their part in trying to protect it. Even one less car on the road is a lungful less harmful toxins breathed in. Thirdly, taking up cycling as a form of commuting or even as an alternative to the gym will save them a lot of money in the long run. Running a vehicle these days is expensive. Not only is there the initial cost, but then there’s the licence, insurance, petrol and general running costs to contend with. You don't get any of that with a bike.
One last reason that seems to be up there on the list of why people cycle, is to save time. The number of people in the world is increasing and, with that, so is the number of cars on the road. If you live in a city and work around five miles from your house, the chances are you will get there much quicker if you cycle. This is purely down to the amount of traffic on the roads and the amount of congestion that’s caused by it. Cycling to work cuts out all the drama of sitting there waiting in traffic and is much easier to reroute if need be.
These are some of the main reasons as to why people take up cycling. Whichever way you look at it, cycling relates to a social aspect of some form. Now, it’s just a case of using these social aspects to tap into consumer behaviour in order to market your products effectively.
How can I use social marketing benefit my cycling business?
As mentioned earlier, social marketing and cycling go hand in hand and really a lot of the work is already done for you. Let’s take a look back at the main reasons as to why people cycle: to get/keep fit, to protect the environment, to save money and to save time. Now that you know some of the main reasons as to why people cycle, you can use these to help promote your own cycling business through such areas as community-based social marketing, social media like Twitter, or a social marketing campaign, to promote social responsibility. Timing is also a crucial factor. If you are going to upload a social video on social media, then it makes perfect sense to start during a key cycling event like the Tour de France or a British cycling event. Through content marketing, you could push the latest road bike, mountain bike or other bicycle and promote your small business.
Promoting good health: A lot of people choose cycling as their preferred form of exercise. It’s fun, low impact and, most importantly, it tones muscles and burns calories. This is an easy aspect to focus one as part of your marketing campaign as people tend to feel very passionate about losing weight and keeping fit. Develop a marketing campaign that incorporates how cycling can make a person feel good about themselves and will also help them maintain a healthy lifestyle. Good health and happiness are two of the most basic things that we as humans yearn for. So, using these to get your customer’s attention is a great way to then promote your cycle products as a perfect solution.
Protecting the environment: People are very passionate when it comes to saving the planet and choosing to cycle rather use a vehicle to get around is a great way to help. Promoting the fact that cycling is so eco-friendly is a good way to link the two together and get people thinking more seriously about doing it. All across the globe, there’s a big push towards reversing the damage that climate change has caused over the years and reminding people of this may encourage them to ditch the gas guzzling car and pick up a green bike instead.
Cycling to save money: Everyone likes to save money. Cycling to work rather than driving a car will save people a lot of hard-earned cash over the years in petrol, repair bills and insurance. By setting up a marketing campaign that promotes the fact that people will save a considerable amount of money in just one year of switching from a car to cycle for their commute, works really well. Which one would you rather pay: £100 for a new tire for your car or £10 for a new tire for your bike? Often, this is enough to at least get people to think more seriously about cycling.
Cycling to save time: Time is so precious, yet in today’s modern society, people seem so busy all the time. Cycling to work can help people save time and focusing your marketing campaign around that is one way to draw in extra customers. It clearly won’t work for everyone. If for instance, a person lives 50 miles from work, cycling every day just isn't feasible. But for those that do live within ‘cycling distance’, this is a really good selling point. By choosing to cycle to work opposed to driving could potentially save them hours. That’s hours of their precious time saved where they’re now free to do something more exciting with.