It's no secret that some of the world's biggest brands and businesses have invested significantly in their social media presence and platforms. But if you're thinking of using social media effectively (and you should be!) you need to think a lot further than simply reaching or obtaining more potential customers. There are a few things you need to consider if you're using social media for your business.
You're business needs social media to be able to work out where it sits within the online business world. All social media platforms represent a huge opportunity for your business to listen to what the general public, your customers and your competitors talk about within your industry. What they're interested in, what they talk about, what they like, what they dislike. We firmly believe that active listening is the biggest single advantage that your business needs social media for and strongly encourage all our clients to spend at least a week just listening before even considering what to post on their platforms.
In this internet age of instant gratification, if anyone wants an answer they Google it. If they want to get in touch with your business they look for your website and social media channels first. Why? Because the days of call-centres are numbered, because no-one has time to wait for a postal reply, an email reply or to sit on hold in a queue waiting for the next available agent whilst being constantly reminded that their call is important. Instead, customers simply reach for their smartphones and fire off a tweet with their customer service issue. Your business needs social media to be able to answer them, educate them, apologise where necessary and still go the extra mile to delight them, before they become some other business' customer. The principles of great customer service remain unchanged, but the delivery platform is now instant.
People don't respond well to what they feel are 'faceless' corporate entities as we're born with an in-built need to identify other people and give things a face for us to relate to. Why are the big brands so successful on social media? Because they've developed an online personality which is a friendly extension of their brand. Your business needs social media to show the online world who you are, what you do and more importantly, why you do it. Human beings have an amazing oral tradition of story-telling, which is why customers heavily buy into why your business does what it does, perhaps even more than they're interested in what you do. Social media gives them an opportunity to reach out and be a part of your story, but when they do, it must be a real person reaching back and talking to them.
When your business has an online presence and social media channels, you've allowed it to be found by everyone in the online community. As a result you've agreed to a certain level of transparency in your social media communications and it's important to remember that this is a two-way street. For the customer, transparency is all about vindication. When customers are upset, they want to be heard, and posting on social media is the perfect way to be heard. By allowing your customers to make their complaints or questions public in this way, you’re giving them an immediate outlet. They feel in control, and appreciate the urgency companies feel to respond when the issue is made public. For your business, transparency means that other potential customers get to see how well you handle the situation.
More interactions on social media means you have more opportunities to point back to your own brand. Your customers will mention your brand in their posts, making you visible to all their contacts. Even if they come to you with a concern or an issue, you’ll get brand visibility and an opportunity to show off your ability to quickly and effectively and correct the problem. When relevant, you can also post links to your site for more information. No matter how you handle questions and comments, you’ll be encouraging more activity and more brand mentions, which can help your SEO rankings.
Still not convinced that your business needs social media? We'd be happy to buy you a coffee and talk to you personally about your business and why it needs social media, just get in touch.