Making the Case for Social Media

“If you’re not on Twitter, you don’t exist,” commented one of my friends to another – a pretty bold statement, but is it valid?
Social media has saturated our lives with smartphones making it simple to check in, share a photo and update your status  wherever you are and at all hours of the day and night. When our moms are on Facebook in rapidly growing numbers (some reports say it’s as high as 79%) social media has become mainstream – in a big way. Some people may doubt the value of social media because, let’s face it, it’s kind of fun and maybe juvenile at times. Who doesn’t love a cute video of a cat playing a keyboard? But social media has only grown- Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest have 150 million users- and it’s a form of communication that won’t be fading anytime soon. That’s why I still have to scratch my head when potential clients doubt that joining a social network will do anything for their brand. Why would a company (and its brands) want to invest in social media, be where its consumers are and participate in a conversation? Here are a few reasons:

1.       Reach more of your consumers, for a fraction of the cost

Create points of engagement with your consumers. In addition to showing that there is a voice behind your corporation, you are creating goodwill  when you can quickly provide help with locating a product or answering a question. To know that a brand cares enough to respond will make their brand experience memorable – and they’re 48% more likely to tell a friend about their positive experience.
2.       Show you care

A side effect of brand pages on Facebook has been consumer complaints. While these complaints may seem threatening, they pose an opportunity for you to show that your brand is reliable and committed to providing a good product or experience. We recommend responding generally to acknowledge their concern and express your interest in learning more and resolving their issue. Instead of hashing out the issue on your public wall or feed, give them a phone number or email where they can explain their issue. Responding to acknowledge their complaint and show you are taking action to resolve it will benefit you greatly – and speaks volumes to the rest of the fan base.
3.       Listen to what your consumers want

Focus groups or traditional surveys can be costly. Posing questions to your fans or followers is a quick, easy way to gain insight into their preferences, shopping habits and values. This kind of real time polling allows you to tailor your marketing strategy to map to what your consumers are telling you and demonstrate that you are more in tune with your consumer.
4.       Feel the love

Once you’ve responded to complaints, started talking directly with your consumers and finding out what they want, you can enjoy the perks of social media: brand love and devotion. Sometimes it’s spontaneous and other times it’s prompted by a question or photo from you. Hearing appreciation and enthusiasm from your consumers is priceless. We love sharing these updates with clients; it reinforces our position as strategic communicators and provides our client with a win.

Maintaining a presence on social media channels can offer your consumers transparency and an opportunity to express their loyalty and satisfaction. It can give you invaluable insight into what your consumers want without conducting expensive focus groups or polls. Perhaps most importantly, you have a second chance to right a wrong by resolving a consumer complaint. This will give you credibility with consumers and make them more likely to speak positively about your brand. Lastly social media is fun. Show your brand’s personality and further it from a stodgy corporate image.

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