Social media is being used by companies large and small to connect to existing and new customers and increase business. The problem is that many companies don’t understand social media and how the game plan has changed from marketing of 10 or 15 years ago. First of all, building a presence isn’t enough. You need to work it. Posting once a month won’t do a thing. I came across a pizza place in Connecticut that put the Facebook logo on their boxes and encouraged customer to connect with them on it. The problem was that they hadn’t posted anything new in 8 months. The kid who volunteered to post left for college and the owner of the store “doesn’t know about this stuff”.
LESSON #1: Don’t offload the social media to a part-time high school kid. Educate yourself and if you are going to get into social media, GET INTO SOCIAL MEDIA!
Another company I know of uses Facebook extensively and when they offered “Promoted Posts”, they tried it and did not get the results they desired. They got a tremendous amount more views at the post, but interactions were flat. When I looked at what they promoted, it was clear why. It was a lunch special they were offering. Social media users do not want to be sold. Engage them. Inform them. Make them laugh. That is how you work social media. Never ask for the sale more than once a week.
LESSON #2: Old style hard sell is dead in social media. Engage your customer. Inform your customer. Make them come to you because they want to and then show them the offers.
You read all the time about companies using social media and figure you want to make more money, you shold be where you hear. So you open accounts on LinkedIn, Pinterest, Twitter, Facebook, Google +, StumbleUpon and Tumblr. You don’t do any research. But you HAVE to be on all those networks. Right? Of course not! Do you really have enough to say to have a Twitter presence? Do you know where your one tweet a day is going? Nowhere. It’s lost in the cacophony. Use Twitter if you are a celeb trying to stay relevent or a company that has enough to say to tweet 10-15 times a day. You can tweet specials, Amazon and JetBlue are amazing for doing this. Keep it short, keep it to a point and dont be afraid toask for re-tweets.
Lesson #3: Know what the social networks are and what is relevant to your business
Lastly, and yes, this is a bit self-serving, get some professional help. If you have someone in your organization that can do the posting, wonderful. Just don’t make it the intern or high school part timer who doesn’t have the worldly smarts yet. This is your face to the world, act like it. Get professional help. Get it for yourself and anyone else you trust to handle this critical part of your marketing. YOU need to know where you should be, how often you need to be there and who is going to be the customer you find there.
Social media has changed the way consumers interact with businesses. It has changed the way we buy, suggest and recommend. Businesses need to understand the change and move with it or get left behind.