It should come as no surprise to seasoned marketers that the best results are achieved if they deliver messages when, where and how their audience will be most receptive. Today, your customers are taking to social media sites in ever-increasing numbers. They expect to find that your brand has an active social presence, and they want to connect with your brand on these channels.
Whether your goal is to increase brand awareness, engage existing customers or influence the public's perception of your company, you can benefit from an effective strategy for connecting with current and potential customers on social-media sites. The following tips can help you accomplish that:
- Make sure your social media strategy is comprehensive, spanning multiple platforms. The most widely used platforms are Twitter and Facebook, so be sure to include those in your strategy. However, depending on your specific goals, you might consider adding platforms that cater to particular audiences. For instance, if you are seeking an audience of primarily professionals with decision-making powers, add LinkedIn. If your goal is to increase sharing and views of your videos, YouTube might be helpful. You can also include platforms that target specific countries or industries. Systematically tracking the platforms on which your brand or company is discussed can help you determine which sites will provide you with the best results.
- Do not relinquish control of the content that is posted on your behalf. It is common for companies to give control to advertising partners or other providers. Although outsourcing some of your social-asset management can be effective, you should always retain full editorial rights and ultimate control of everything posted for your company.
- Make communication a two-way street. If you just use social platforms to dispense information or deliver marketing messages, you may not realize the results you would want. Allowing your customers to communicate with you on the social-media sites is a better approach. There are a number of tactics you can use to foster two-way communication, such as allowing visitors to post questions or reviews, setting up dedicated pages for customer service or inviting customers to share photos of themselves with your products. Many people are leery of allowing customers to post to their social media pages and worry that some customers will post something negative. This is a potential risk, but if you monitor your sites regularly and react quickly to address the complaint, you can use such posts as an opportunity to demonstrate your responsiveness and willingness to address issues.
- Establish targets and key performance indicators. You cannot improve what you never measure. Your KPIs should include measurements to compare your share of the conversations to your competitors, as well as the ratio of negative and positive posts for your brand versus your competitors. Other measurements you might want to track include the number of new followers per month or the average time between a customer's comment and your response.
If you include these practices in your social-media strategy, you should reap benefits. Although precise results will vary, you can expect to see improvements in the following areas:
- Customer Service: Reductions in the time span between a customer making you aware of an issue and your response can lead to increased customer satisfaction as well as an enhanced public image.
- Sales: Social-media platforms are excellent ways to generate leads, and your active engagement can help convert leads to sales while providing customers with an opportunity to become brand advocates.
- Efficiency: You can reach larger numbers of prospects and customers more economically than traditional media.
Social media is the wave of the future. Your customers are there, and they are waiting for you.