Done right, social media is a brilliant marketing tool for your business. But so many businesses get it wrong. They either dive right in and join Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn, start a blog and think that will be enough, or are so scared and confused by social media they don’t get involved at all.
The trouble with the first approach is that by the end of the first quarter you will have wasted a huge amount of human resource and have little to show for it. Not getting involved at all is means your company will miss out on the most important evolution in marketing since television advertising was born.
Find the right vehicle(s)
As with everything else in business, research is the key to getting the most out of your marketing budget. Find out where your customers hang out online. Are you a B2B, B2C, or both? Find out which blend of social media will work for you to reach your customers.
The top social media vehicles are Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and LinkedIn. But if your business is selling wedding planning services, you’ll want to be on Pinterest and Instagram to post pictures of your latest wedding plan at the Madinat complex. If your company is international, sending salesmen and executives all over the world, you may find FourSquare a brilliant way to connect with people when you land in New York or London.
Get the vehicles right and you are well on the way to building a successful online presence.
Engage your customers
Social media is a two way street. Back in the pre-internet days, companies relied on TV and print advertising, in-store promotions, conferences and business networking events to engage with customers. Now you can create a continuous dialogue with people through sharing both yours and their videos and pictures of products and events.
For example, if you run a competition the internet generation winner will often post a picture of their prize. So you share that picture. If you are running a promotion in store, finding out who people are and sharing pictures of them is almost expected. People like to share their experiences in life, and the commercial world is part of that experience.
Structure your customer service
A complaint can move quickly on the internet, which is why it’s important to get your customer service response outlined before you go online. This way, when a customer tweets they hated the way one of your shop assistants treated them, or how disappointed they are in a shoddy product, you can react quickly. Complaints aren’t a disaster. If you treat the customer fairly, find out what has gone wrong, and fix the problem quickly (and even offer a voucher as compensation), you’ll not just make them happy, they’ll be more likely to stick with you in the future. Conversely, if a customer has said something nice, do share it!
Don’t stress about going viral
Don’t worry about going viral. Your business will survive without ten million people hits on your YouTube channel. Viral videos happen two ways. One is the spontaneous one, where someone makes a video that is so funny it becomes an instant hit. The other is achieved through spending a lot of money and time working with a marketing agency.
The point of making a video or taking a photo is to spread it to your fan base. Share it around on whichever social media vehicles you use. It may not go viral, but it should be interesting to customers. Done right, you’ll get some people sharing it through their preferred social media, and that’s the goal. So don’t sweat the viral challenge, just get the basics right for your particular audience.
Find out more about how to use Social Media more effectively for your Dubai business here: http://www.ismdubai.com/courses/digital-marketing/index.php