I had the privilege of meeting a new friend last night and we sparked up a somewhat philosophical discussion about Social Media. We weren't on different sides of the topic; it was more that we both felt equally passionate about the need for companies to see the bigger picture.
Social Media is here and it's not going away. It will only get stronger, stranger, more complex and more interesting. It will be used (in 5 years) in ways that we can't even begin to dream up today. So, we all know we need to do it, but how and why? I recently had a client say, "well, I just need a FB and Twitter." My answer was yes, you do, but not just because your competitors have it. You need it because you are trying to expand and it's a marketing expansion tool (when used properly).You need Social Media to attract more business, engage with your customers and make them feel like they are buying from you because they trust, admire and respect your brand.
At that point, she bought in and was a believer. We took her distributor list and client list and threw them into http://www.flowtown.com/ just to see what was out there. We are now targeting those avenues and have created a communications strategy and marketing goals around connecting those people virtually and engaging them into her brand. For you Social Media wizards out there, this isn't rocket science (I didn't just impress you). But for that 70% of the rest of the world, you don't know where to start. It's not a bad thing, it just means you need to hire a Social Media marketer/strategist, set up properly, ensure it's strategic and then take it over when you are prepared. Not every Social Media strategy will begin this way, this was just appropriate for her business. But, you get the picture.....start somewhere.
Lastly, my friend and I spent a ton of time talking about engaging customers. This is the hardest part of Social Media by far. As a company, you have to decide what your voice is going to be to the world and how many of those voices you will allow. You must, I repeat must, engage customers immediately, if not within 24 hours of them reaching out to you. Even if their comments are silly and humorous, they are looking to engage.... that's the hook.Your Social Media team needs to be set up to handle those conversations and understand how to elevate as appropriate and/or forward to the correct business unit to keep business flowing for that particular consumer.
When starting you Social Media Strategy, please consider what "engaging" your particular customers looks like and what they would be looking to you to provide. What are all the ways that exist in which you can add value to their lives and also do you have the right people in the right roles to accurately follow through on those conversations. Last, but not even close to least, track your ROI. Track your Social Media to ensure that it's working to not only open up communications, but to enhance the experience that the consumer has with your organization. This will result in stronger relationships and stronger brand thus meaning sales for you.
Hope you enjoyed! Stay tuned for more soon.
Thanks for your time!