Get off the stage and into the crowd
There has been a fundamental shift in marketing. We are all watching less television and reading fewer newspapers; combine this with the fact that as consumers we have become less trusting of advertising, direct mail and PR and its easy to see why traditional channels are no longer delivering the results they once did.
Word of mouth is still the most powerful of motivators with 71% of consumers saying they are more comfortable with a product or service if it has been recommended by a friend than compared to their own past experience (63%) or the influence of advertising (15%)*
Social Media is seemingly ubiquitous with companies scrambling to open Twitter accounts and Facebook pages in order to ‘connect’ with their audiences. The reality is, however, that many don’t understand how to successfully harness these channels let alone measure their effectiveness – so their efforts can be disappointing or, in the worst cases, damaging to their brand.
Organisations enter into Social Media because they feel “It’s so big we need to do something” but responsibility is often delegated down to junior members of staff who don’t have the authority or brand awareness to fully develop these channels. A Social Media programme is an important brand touchpoint and must support your marketing, PR, customer service and sales activity. Success should be measured not only in social media metrics (likes/fans/subscribers/followers) but in real business benefits.
So how do you get it right? Like most things success comes from the result of good planning. First you must decide what your goals are.
Do you need to:
– Generate sales/leads
– Reduce spending
– Increase awareness
– Offer added value
– Drive web traffic
– Extend your reach
– or anything else?
Once you have decided upon your goals these can then drive your activity and content. Be aware that social media users are savvy. This is not a place for direct selling. This is a place to connect and engage. You’re not on stage anymore, you are in the crowd. As people connect with you directly so it is up to you to respond in an appropriate manner. Handling all comments, positive and negative, in the same way with a tone of voice that is right for your brand.
There are three typical levels of engagement:
– Listen (Learn from your customers and adapt accordingly)
– Engage (Enter into a dialogue and grow your own community)
– Optimize (Deliver innovation and build loyalty)
Leading companies like Dell Computers have moved on from the hype of the individual Social Media tools to focus on the behaviors of their customers. This means they can drive innovation in order to generate revenue growth. See video.
Whatever your thoughts on Social Media it is fair to say the time for waiting is over, you need to figure out where these channels fit into your organisation, now. The rate of change and adoption by consumers, buyers and the competition is happening so fast, that coming into the world of Social Media late, could put you at a disadvantage.
*Source Media Lab