By Andrés Uribe, Expedition PR
If you’re starting a business in our current tech savvy world, you’ve undoubtedly been told by some ‘marketing genius’ that you should get a company Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Vine…etc. While this might sound like a great idea, which it is, this tip alone is about the equivalent of telling someone to ‘advertise’ their new business without answering questions like where, to whom, what message, when, for how long…etc. Now if your ‘marketing genius’ friend is really the guru they are playing to be, then ask them what you should do with these social media pages once you have claimed them. Hmmm, not so easy right?
Many companies jump on social media because they think it is a free way to promote their company. The truth is it takes time/resources to develop and execute a strategy tailored to your company’s business goals. While every company’s approach to social media might be a little different, there are several things that having a social media presence can be good for. Here are three things that your company can do on social media that will give you a leg up on the competition (or at least level the playing field, because chances are your competition is doing this as well):
Customer Support: As a business owner, you might not necessarily be very active on social media, so you might not have personally sought customer service in this fashion. But, according to a J.D Power and Associates study that polled 23,000 consumers, 67% of respondents said that they had used a company’s social media site for service related issues. The days when phoning into receive customer support are slowly dying. Even more interesting, 87% of the respondents said that their positive experience with online interaction with a brand had increased the likelihood that they’ll purchase from the brand, and that the responsiveness of the social media service representatives were a key factor to that satisfaction. Or to sum it up, set up a social media service center with responsive staff who will quickly answer customers service related questions and your customers will thank you for it by buying more.
Customer Insights: A big part of owning a successful business is offering great products and service. But how do you know if your products and services are great if you don’t ask the consumers what they think. In the past this was done by consumer surveys and solicited feedback. Today though, according to a Vocus survey, over 50% of consumers use social networks to provide product/service feedback, both positive and negative. Even more, 68% of consumers go to social networks to read these reviews. What this means is that you can no longer quietly collect customer feedback and make changes to your business accordingly. As a business, you need to use social media to monitor for, respond to, and then correct your business strategy based on customer feedback.
Advertise New Products/Services: Now this might seem the most obvious of them all, and probably the tip that your ‘marketing genius’ with the social media idea first suggested when you pressed for answers on what to do with your social media accounts. “Well go on there and tell people to buy your stuff.” Although it is true, according to a Social Quickstarter survey, that 77% of social media users read the posts, news feeds, and offers posted by brands, this does not justify an onslaught of new product offers and hard sales pitches.
You must first convince customers to follow you on social media to get this sort of attention, and that is not always an easy task. The best way to go about this is by providing customers with engaging content over your social media channels. Although it might not be in your company’s budget to pull off something like this, take a look at Red Bull’s Facebook page to get an idea of what an engaging social media strategy looks like. Through their killer content, Red Bull has managed to gain over 39 million likes on Facebook..and a whole lot of people who are thinking Red Bull every time they see a new post.
While these are the basic things your brand can be do with social media, don’t limit yourself. Get creative and find what works best for you and your company’s quest to 1up the competition through social media. And should you get lost along the way, take a look at Mashable.com, they always have great examples of what other brands are doing that’s working (and not working) over social media.