Twitter, Facebook, YouTube—you’ve heard of these social media Web sites, and there’s dozens more—but the question is, are they the right marketing channel for your business? The answer is, yes, they may be. Social media sites can play an important role in your marketing mix. They provide yet another way to reach and interact with your customers and prospects, and they offer a few unique benefits. Continue reading to learn about a few of the ways social media marketing can benefit your business.
Social Media Can Help You…
1) Understand Your Customers
Social media isn’t just about talking—or tweeting, or posting. Social media tools are great for listening—they can help you understand your customers better. You can use a variety of social media sites to uncover what customers are talking about. Check out Twitter to keep your finger on the pulse of your industry. What are the hot topics relating to your industry, product, or service that people are tweeting about? Use the search tool to look for keywords relating to your business and see what people are talking about. Set up a page on Facebook and use it as a platform to start a discussion. Check out Honda Motor Company’s Facebook Page. You’ll see all sorts of comments—yes, both positive and negative—about their newest model, the Crosstour. Companies can use this type of feedback to better meet the needs of their customers. Even better? Responding to these comments, when appropriate, tells your customers that you’re listening and that you value their comments. Social media provides an excellent platform for getting the feedback you’re looking for from your customers.
2) Provide Better Customer Service
It’s called “social media monitoring” and lots of companies are doing it. By checking social media sites for complaints and issues, they can respond quickly and publicly. Some larger companies are devoting portions of their customer service departments solely to monitoring social media sites like Twitter, or are outsourcing this monitoring to other companies. In turn, customers are learning that they can get faster results by tweeting about a problem or incident than by calling customer service. For companies that have the resources to do this, it’s a great strategy. However, it isn’t necessarily a viable option for small- to medium-sized businesses. But, following complaints on Twitter can provide some benefits, even if it means only checking occasionally, perhaps once per day or a few times per week. It still allows you to respond publicly, and it helps you learn about problems or issues that you may be able to then circumvent for other customers. Addressing a complaint on Twitter not only shows the person with the complaint that your business cares about providing a good experience, it shows all of their friends or followers as well.
3) Find New Customers
Ah, the dreaded cold-call. It’s a long-time staple of new business development—and social media has just made it easier. Set up an account on LinkedIn and use it to research your prospects. Who do you know that knows your prospect as well? LinkedIn has an introduction feature designed to help facilitate online networking. Use LinkedIn to learn more about your prospects—previous jobs they’ve held, interests, clubs or groups that they are members of, whether they’re online or not, questions they’ve posted. Using LinkedIn to understand your prospects may just provide the information that you need to get in the door.
Another way social media makes finding new customers easier is by providing a wonderful channel for word of mouth—or, more appropriately, word of mouse. Social media sites make it easier than ever for customers to praise your products or services, only they’re not just telling one friend—they’re telling all of their friends, and all of their friends…and so on. It’s incredibly viral. Perhaps it’s a post on their Facebook wall or an enthusiastic tweet on Twitter, or maybe it’s even a short video they took of themselves using your product—regardless of the channel, these unsolicited endorsements are priceless.
Want to find other ways social media can help your business? Contact the AVS Group strategic marketing experts to find out how social media marketing might benefit your business. Click here to learn more about our social media marketing services.