Social media can make or break a business. Do it right and you could quickly find yourself with a loyal following of dedicated customers. Do it wrong and you could find your reputation quickly slipping. Both complaints about and praise for your company will appear on the internet – it’s the job of a social media team to deal with any negative comments and to accentuate the good ones.
The key to social media marketing is that you need to engage an audience. Just dropping into a Facebook or Twitter every now and again isn’t enough; neither is posting only about your products without attempting to answer questions posed by users. You also have to consider who it is you’re actually marketing to. If your products are aimed at teenagers, they might prefer a more casual and friendly approach. But if you’re a company providing, say, healthcare, your audience will want to know that you take your work seriously.
Popularity is important but it has to be earned- companies have been known to buy followers and Likes on Facebook, but ultimately this means nothing without interaction with real people. One dedicated blogger who genuinely likes your company’s products means more than a thousand bought Likes – and is cheaper, too. These loyal customers are out there: you just have to find them. Use your company’s Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr etc to follow back the people who are following you. This helps build relationships, and gives you a base of customers who are constantly informed about and engaged with your company – money can’t buy things like these.
Don’t try and use all social media at once! Aside from anything else, customers might end up feeling like they’re being spammed. Don’t try and take over Facebook, Pinterest, YouTube and Tumblr, because they’re all different platforms with different utilities and userbases. Pick the right media for your company. For example, a fashion company will easily be able to utilise Instagram to show off pictures of its latest designs, whereas a company that sells books will be able to use blogging platforms to post reviews of the books they sell. However, try to remain creative while using Instagram. For companies associated with travelling and holidays (hotels, tours, etc), a whole subset of social media – the travel review site – has sprung up to allow customers to post reviews of their holidays and the customer service they received while there. Tripadvisor.com is one of these. Although companies have been known to try and get negative reviews of their businesses removed from there, don’t do this! It hurts your credibility in the long term. Instead, talk to any customers who have posted bad reviews, apologise and try to make it up to them. Other potential customers will notice this, and respond in kind.
Really, the key to marketing via social media is to make it clear that there are peoplebehind the company’s advertising. This is why things like blogging, podcasting, and video blogging can be so useful – they give a company a human face and voice.
Video blogging is underrated but it can be an incredibly useful tool, especially for things like the real estate business where visuals are key. Showing people images of your company and what you do (as opposed to stock images or stock footage) builds your credibility as well as potentially making life easier for your customers. Personalised videos designed to get your customers talking can also be a huge boon to your company – and not necessarily cost a lot of money, either. Videos of staff at a particular company dancing or singing have been known to go viral on YouTube and across the wider internet, providing that company with a lot of free advertising.
Pictures can be very engaging but often videos can be even more so – if a picture says a thousand words, even a short video must say a million or 1.8 million to be exact. They also lower bounce rate since customers spend more time watching them, boosting up your SEO ranking. Which, in turn, will attract even more customers! This is just one of the benefits that video may have for your business.
With so much of the world online and checking Facebook and Twitter every day, the power of social media is something you can’t afford to ignore. But it can be done, and it can take your company to new heights for very little cost.