Guess what puts the ‘social’ in social media? Yep – it’s the majority of your existing customers and an awful lot of your potential customers all having conversations with each other about things that are relevant to your industry, your product and your service. They may even be talking about you. They may even want to talk TO you.
In the last 10 years the way people use the Internet to communicate has changed a lot. We used to pin our websites to the wall, broadcast our proposition, fill out our keyword tags, nurture our Pay Per Click campaigns and hope for the best along with some added value from our conversion strategies and our various in and out house agencies experts. We ticked along, sometimes very nicely.
But now it’s not just us talking to them; it’s everybody talking to everybody, all the time, around the clock. Facebook is clocking over 720 million users EVERY DAY. Twitter is adding around 300k users EVERY DAY. Between 20111 – 2013 Linkedin grew 105%. Social is not a fad and the user base in growing exponentially.
OK, it’s important but do you NEED to be involved?
How important is your customer service? I’d say critical. What happens if you don’t listen to your customers needs when they’re reaching out to you whilst a competitor does. Are you likely to lose that customer? And might you not also lose potential customers that are influenced by that customer’s positive experience with your competition? Of course. The social media landscape is a series of quite often need based conversations between your customers and your potential customers. To ignore that need, to be oblivious to their calls for help, information, entertainment or guidance is an opportunity for your competitor to step in and steal your thunder.
But to be INVOLVED in those conversations, to help, inform, entertain and be a genuine and authentic voice (the voice of your company) is an opportunity to find and grow an audience. More than that, it is an opportunity to influence those who your potential customers trust and are guided by (we call this influencer outreach). It’s an opportunity to send your messages and your brand far and wide to people who need what you do, to make real connections that will lead to more traffic to your website, more fans, more brand reach, just more of everything good.
What is the overall goal of social media marketing for your company?
Social isn’t about direct sales conversions, it’s about filling the funnel that leads to your bottom line. It is about communication, listening, engaging and growing an audience that will not just be people who love your brand and want to learn more, but brand advocates – people who will share their great experience of you with their networks, who will turn up the volume on your message and your brand and amplify your efforts.
Social media isn’t a ‘bolt-on’ to the rest of your digital marketing, it supports your SEO and all your other channels. Sure, a blind hit and hope approach won’t fire up the metrics you need to be measuring, you need to have a plan, you need to produce good content and you need to put a strategy in place to be successful. But is it worth it? The honest answer is that by ignoring social you are not only ignoring your potential customers, you are missing opportunities that your competitors won’t. It’s definitely not as hard as you think either; it’s not about ‘how many tweets’ or ‘how often you post’ it’s about high quality, targeted scheduling supported by great content and an eye for relationship building and opportunity.
The landscape has changed because your customers ask questions, review products, ask for advice and entertain themselves differently today than they used to. If you aren’t in that conversation, how can you help?
Photo Credit: image from HTSABO