February 28, 2013
Many businesses have fallen into the trap of wandering blindly into the social media arena without any understanding of why they are doing it. The result for most has been no result at all. It’s a frustrating position to be in and certainly a costly one in terms of time and money.
For any business’ social media activities to be properly leveraged i.e. become a means of generating revenue rather than a cost and a wasted resource, it needs a strategic social media plan which integrates into its overall corporate marketing plan and business objectives.
A strategic social media plan requires you to establish your objectives before entering the fray.
A few key questions to answer include:
1) What are you trying to achieve?
2) Why are you trying to do this?
3) Who are you trying to reach?
4) What do you want them to do?
Some benefits of using social media STRATEGICALLY include:
Collecting in-depth customer information
Find about more about your customers. Directly from them. Thereby potentially avoiding the need for costly and often flawed customer surveys and questionnaires.
Integration of social feedback into organisational decision making
Once you know what your customers want, grow your business by meeting those needs. Crowd sourcing is the current trend by organisations of online interaction, dialogue, and collaboration with their users to achieve their business goals. Strategic use of social media can enable your business to develop your service offerings in line with the needs of your customers.
Connecting with customers in a meaningful way to develop relationships based on trust
Use social media strategically by adding value to your customer in every conversation. They will begin to engage with you and come to see you as a trusted resource.
Brand building and brand loyalty – turning loyal customers into evangelists
Customers will be loyal to businesses that understand their needs, and social media used strategically offers a way for your customers to show their loyalty by becoming evangelists for your brand and recommending you to their network.
Leveraging word of mouth to drive traffic
Word of mouth has been shown to be the most powerful forms of promotion because it is considered to be the most credible form of marketing. Word of mouth cannot be bought; it can only be earned by doing what you do well. Social media provides your business with a platform on which your loyal customers can share their positive recommendations, ultimately referring traffic your way.
Improving customer service through customer feedback
Real time customer feedback is available on social media and many businesses remain afraid of the implications of this. Whether good or bad, what matters most is how your business responds to your customers’ feedback.
Yup. It is possible to see a tangible return on investment from your social media activities. Use it as a platform to sell your goods and services if your market is ready for it. Dell estimated that it generated $1 million in revenue from its activities on Twitter in its first year of selling directly on the network.
Ultimately strategic social media can transform your business, increasing the value of every part of your organization that affects customers.
It has the potential to improve your business’ communication strategy, contribute to the development of its service offerings, streamline its customer service, and boosts its sales……..if used strategically.