Certainly the buzz word of the last several months has been Social Media Marketing. This has also lead to the increase of the feeling of uncertainty and discomfort of companies about how to use the new techniques available for their own profit. The sections on social media devoted to online marketing sometime attract thousands of responses to posts. This is precisely what the biggest stress is caused by – the huge amount of information which marketers have to digest in a matter of minutes, and once they have they need to restart the process since the info is likely to be outdated already. That stress and constant pressure causes companies to panic about social media and not invest their time wisely.
Thus, as many others, I would try to outline how to build your company´s social media marketing plan without additional frustration, stress and growing workload, while winning new clients, driving more traffic to your web and creating a better relationship between you and your customers.
So, how can this be achieved, especially considering that the number of social networks is growing daily and their market segmentation and specification require your special attention. The basic rule of thumb works here – Obama used it and he won tens of millions of dollars for his election campaign – if your clients are congregating on a certain social media platform it is mandatory that your company, too, to join so that it can have and easy one on one manner to interact with the customers. There is no need to invent the wheel, just be ready to run fast and to follow it – companies should be joining social media once it is clear that they are being discussed in this space. Thereof, here it is very important to note, that while there is no need to create 500 different profiles, it is nevertheless mandatory to monitor the 500 social media for any discussions regarding your products or services.
Once the meeting point of your customers to discuss your brand has been established, marketers are faced with the tricky decision of whether to engage in the ongoing conversation. Although, the first reaction would be to rush in, some experts put it so: “not being invited to a party but showing up with a gift; it doesn’t make it any better”. Instead companies should slowly introduce important information into smaller bits which would be more easily acceptable for the public. Moreover, like this, they would give food to their brand advocates and loyal customers to promote the information autonomously, instead or sounding like a corporate talk.
Yet, as in every business, what matters most in the final reports are the quantitative measures. Thus, knowing how to manage social media with style is only half of the story. The rest is how to calculate the return of investment of spending time, money and probably additional people to craft and execute a social media strategy. One of the reasons why many people would be tempted by it, yet its profitability for your specific need depends on what you expect from it. Most companies put it in the wrong spreadsheet, you cannot think of it as a marketing tool because it is not a sales channel and it is not going to add up with a proper ROI, social media gurus say.
Yet, once moving away from marketing and into the customer service area of your business, the benefits from social media become much more easily quantifiable. An example could be: If we estimate that an incoming customer service phone call costs your company 25 euro. Yet, nowadays social media gives you the possibility to address such problems via Twitter, Facebook, blogs and other online tools. Thus, the company could reduce the volume of customer service inquiries that come later. A business which puts a heavy effort on maintaining strong online presence to handle custmers through social media might expect to receive significantly less customer service phone calls over the course of a year, which then in turn could easily be converted into a specific and scalable ROI. As a customer service tool social media had become incredibly effective and efficient.
These are the three general tips on how to approach social media:
- Utilize the platforms that your clients are comfortable with rather then try to change their habits
- Constanty monitor what the people are saying about you but be careful when and how you join the conversation
- When you join a conversation, try to inspire your brand advocates to talk instead of you – make videos, images, articles easily shareable