Effectively Managing Social Media
When developing your companies social media strategy, the first thing you need to determine is your company philosophy (for lack of a better term) for its use. Many old school marketers (as well as self-styled social media mavens) push the idea of social media simply as an additional channel for positioning a brand but it can be so much more. Don’t get me wrong, this type of social media marketing has its uses and on its own can yield the awareness and support you seek but it should not be the end all be all of your strategy. It should be but a part of a more comprehensive immersion that can affect the company at a cellular level (and no I don’t mean phone).
Think globally, act socially.
Think of social media as an extension of your company rather than simply another way to advertise. Social media puts you in direct contact (most of the time) with your most involved consumers and this is contact that should not be wasted. Take the opportunity to not only talk about your new products and how wonderful your company clearly is but to get direct feedback from those active customers. Social networks like Facebook and Twitter can create focus groups for you without all the mess of standing about in malls handing out surveys. You can talk directly to the people in the best position to tell you something about you, that you don’t know (or may not want to hear). The point is this type of feedback, if taken in the spirit it is given, can help drive product advancements, fix problems you didn’t know you had and open your eyes to new markets you had not specifically started to tap with your conventional marketing efforts. In short, social media can help your company evolve to the next level if you are only willing to put in the time to see where your consumers are pointing.
No matter what business you are in, you can always benefit from interaction with your customer base. Explore this new channel to its fullest extent. Don’t limit yourself to just another advertising channel that may or may not bear any fruit. Build a cohesive strategy that combines keeping top of mind with the valuable interactions that this medium allows. Get your customers (and prospects for that matter) involved in your business. Ask questions and make serious use of the answers you receive.
Customer involvement is the key.
Whether it is simply getting the opinions of your new unwitting focus group participants on new product options using a survey or more involved personal interaction with a select few customers that seem to speak well for the larger group (good or bad), once you get those individuals involved, they will begin to have a vested interest in the company’s success that will manifest itself with evangelism to everyone they know.
The bottom line is the depth of connections that result from properly handled social media can lead to exponential growth in your target markets in both sales and goodwill. So take the time up front to fully consider your plan and make sure that whatever you decide to do includes a combination of awareness and interaction. It may take more time to maintain than simply doing some old school marketing but in the long run your business will be better for the effort.