This might seem like the most ridiculous question you’ve faced all week, and you’d shout that the answer is rather obvious. You might be quite surprised to know that although the answer should be a resounding YES, many companies see it as a ‘nice to have’ and not essential to their overall business offering. Think about how many businesses you’ve searched for, whether they’re a potential client or someone to fix your leaking roof, and see that they have last updated the Facebook profile a year or more ago. I found a potential agency I was interested to list me, that had last tweeted 2 and a half years ago. They might be one of the top guns in the industry, but I can’t halt the judgment I’ve made about them based on their Twitter feed. They’ve had nothing interesting or informative or captivating to say as a brand for over 18 months? That can’t be true. This is 2015!
So you see, brands know that it’s essential, but they don’t want to invest in social media strategies, or the staff to manage them. Even if a small business owner Tweets every time he makes a cup of coffee or uses the bathroom, he’s exceeding what most out there are doing anyway. Big brands might have caught the wave, but the rest now need to catch a wake up.
According to Forbes online, 97% of marketers are making use of social media to perform their basic duties, but almost 90% of that same group don’t even know how best to do it. It’s a dynamic entity that shifts and grows at an alarming rate, but the best question to answer before the ‘how’ is the ‘why’.
Marketing is all about getting word out, and where an old style pamphlet or newspaper ad was the end of the line, social media is now the people behind the smartly worded advert, with a heart and soul who value what you have to say. The customer’s value has now shifted and not only did they just buy a product, they’ve become a spokesperson. It’s a connection on an emotional level. People trust word of mouth advertising and the company’s ability to make the customer smile, long after they’ve left their premises, is a win. Through social media, the company now has a face and a voice and a heart; and that’s a big deal. The time has come where a brand’s reputation can be made or broken, by a customer with a keyboard, and marketers know they need to engage, and do it regularly. It’s reputation management, and it’s also simple customer service.
Being on social media allows a company to receive feedback that can help to develop new products or services and even how to reshape and sharpen current systems. Take the holiday home rental website, Houstrip. At www.housetrip.com, you can book a place to stay based on time and place. That’s it. That’s all you need, but where’s the heart in that? Go to their facebook page, and you see holiday makers’ stunning pictures with comments, and photos of the meals they experienced while in a new place, along with recipes and comments of folks that share those experiences as well as their vacation stories and excitement. Now the brand has come alive!
Lastly, customers are more likely to ‘speak’ through their online comments than they would in a store, and in fact, few need an invitation to spend time on social media. Make sure you have a social media presence that will reach your customers on their favourite platform and make sure you engage with them. Make it simple to be directed to your website where the business can take place, and there you’ve completed the circle. Build those relationships and work hard to secure return customers; ones who carry their hearts on their sleeves for your brand and who are not afraid to boast about you.