There has been a major surge in the prominence of social media within the last few years. Just a few weeks ago, we saw how social sites such as Twitter, completely changed the face of the Olympic games. Now, we are seeing how social sites are changing the face of the Presidential Election. How does this evolution in the way people communicate, connect or advertise translate to your business.
Whether you are a small start up, or a Fortune 500 company, customer advocacy is what you are looking for. You want people to know your product, believe in your service and advocate for you. Word of mouth is powerful, and through social media, you are able to maximize this word of mouth tactic. The difficult thing is measuring your effect. There are countless sites trying to help companies or individuals discover the perfect times to post for maximum reach, analytics on your social data etc…but what does it all really mean? The focus should most importantly be on the value of exchange.
According to Lee Odden, ”Traditional models of ROI (input-output) can miss the point of how much impact integrated search, social and content marketing can have on the overall customer relationship.” Consumers want to be connected. They don’t just want to be sold something, they want to be involved with the products or services they believe in. Social media has given brands the opportunity to engage in dialogue with a larger audience of their customers. Value of exchange is based on the relationship between consumers and brands. There is an opportunity to make the relationship more positive and intimate or negative and distant.
As much of a shock as this may be, social media isn’t about “me.” As soon as brands realize this, they will start engaging more consumers. Barry Wheeler reminds us that, ”Customers don’t ‘like’ your business or follow your tweets to hear continuous business talk about your product or services….Focus on what your customers think or want from the relationship.” Find out why customers have entered your social circle. Ask them questions and build upon your answers. Know all your different groups of customers and make sure you are using different social platforms to reach them all. (Mashable has a great article with an info-graphic on Social Networks).
Create a personality behind your brand on social networks. People want to feel like there is a person behind the brand, not just a company trying to sell their product or service. Carry social conversations about relevant topics. Wheeler continues to say that “Social engagement is about two-way dialogue and if you continually push your products and services on those in your social network you are breaking one of the fundamental rules.”
Remember that there is more to your brand than how may likes or follows you receive. Although sites like Google Analytics, Sprout Social or CrowdBooster can be extremely helpful, be careful not to look at analytics too often. It can easily discourage or over-excite you. A person’s activity and engagement on various social networks are unpredictable and the data will always change. Stay focused on connection and relationships.
image sources: davestrayer.com & onlinebusiness.com