In 2012, social media is king – or so we’re told constantly by hundreds of sources. And, it’s true to a large degree – nearly all of your top customers are online, and they have a plethora of tools available to them for comparison shopping, evaluating you and your competitors, and socializing. You’ve probably already weighed the benefits of creating social media profiles for your business. If you’ve decided that now is the time for your business to get social, you need a roadmap for integrating social media marketing into your existing marketing campaigns and customer relations strategies.
5. Be Aware that What You Say is Public
A lot of companies find this out the hard way. One sure way to end up with a lot of bad press is to blindly hand over the reins to an intern or other unqualified candidate. Many companies, including Chrysler, have been in firestorms because of social media gaffes. Your brand reputation takes years or even decades to build, don’t lose control of it in a few seconds.
4. Be Interactive
Some businesses create social media accounts and then let them lie dormant. Others have used them only as a one-way communications tool – pushing out advertising messages, but not listening for what customers are saying back to them. The best use of social media is by companies who embrace the interaction that can occur with customers on social media. They’ve made it part of how they do business. Take Morton’s Steakhouse for example. Peter Shankman, a high profile social networker, was boarding a plane when he really felt a craving for a steak. He jokingly sent a Tweet to @mortons to meet him at his gate with a steak. A few hours later, there was a steak waiting for him. Morton’s didn’t just talk online, they listened – and that earned them great publicity and a loyal – authoritative – customer. Other companies, like UPS, have moved some customer service tasks to Twitter. What will your company be known for on social media?
3. Set Realistic Goals
Not every business is Coca-Cola or Apple, and your ‘yardsticks’ should reflect that. Many companies believe in numbers when it comes to social media, and that means measuring statistics such as Twitter followers – which can be devoid of meaning. While there is no set metric for success, keep expectations reasonable. While you probably can’t topple the giants, you can find out where you fit in and own that space. There’s no need to amass mind boggling numbers – you want quality, not quantity, real customers and prospects, not tire kickers.
2. Let Multiple Departments get a Word in
Your company is made up of many departments with unique abilities, and each can add to the usefulness of your social media accounts. If you let only one person or department handle your social media presence, you may miss out on great opportunities. Even something as simple as a blog post by each department would give visitors interesting insight into the inner workings of your company.
1. Be Social
Being social is the most important part of social media. It’s hard for people to see large companies in a personal light. But by engaging with people online, you can create a personality for your businesses, instead of being a sterile company that sells a product or service.
Many customers are eager to take advantage of services that have moved to social media. Use customer surveys to find out if your company could benefit from social media. Taking your products and services to the people is a basic business concept, and recent statistics show that that there are almost 1.5 billion people using Twitter and Facebook alone. Find out what they want, and then show them what your business has to offer.