I hear this from my clients all the time.
They’ve been heavily influenced by their friends and family and the media in their preconceptions about social media.
They think about all those pictures of meals or embarrassing selfies posted by their immediate circle or of celebrities with millions of followers who post vapid content that somehow seems to make the evening news.
Yes, that does happen on social media. (No, those are not my clients.)
But, what I want to talk about in this article is how social media can be used for business.
There are three primary uses for social media in business:
- Customer support
Countless books and web content have been written on these topics. So, I’ll cover them briefly here and return in future articles to discuss in greater detail. (How’s that for a teaser!)
Branding is all about how the market perceives you and how you present yourself to it. This is where trust and reputation are built. For many, this is the opportunity to present themselves as subject matter experts (SME). Knowledge is shared here, questions answered, and relationships begin.
Branding can be accomplished in social media by publishing relevant content that adds value to your communities, participating in the discussions around your area of expertise, and giving freely of yourself.
Selling is pitching the deal, closing it, and then delivering the deal with the end result of a delighted customer and depositing their check in your bank account. Pitching is done via social media. Selling can enhance trust and reputation but can ruin it in a moment if we go wrong. Selling is where skills and capabilities are presented and backed up with ringing endorsements from satisfied clients.
Selling is accomplished by presenting the goods or services available to the right potential customers and backing them up with recommendations, endorsements, and samples of our work.
Finally, customer service.
Customer service happens in social media by having a direct conversation with dissatisfied customers in full view of the Internet. Although, sometimes this may be taken offline in a private discussion mode. Nothing beats social media for immediacy and quickly satisfying a customer’s issue. I personally have had several superb customer service experiences with companies. I’ve also had a couple of experiences that are so bad I wonder why they even bother. (I did send my contact info along to these. Hey, you never know!)
Customer service can be accomplished easily via social media by having capable people with the authority to resolve issues online during stated business answers ready to help customers. A word of caution, of the three topics I’ve discussed in this article, this is the one where a business can lose the most the quickest. It’s also the one where people will be talking about their positive experiences online with their communities when they’ve been delighted.
A few points about all of these uses:
- None of these are easy, they require discipline and a plan. But, the rewards can be consequential.
- Not all social media channels are suitable for either all uses or for all types of business. (For example, I’m still not convinced of the worth of Facebook for B2B.)
- Be prepared for the long haul!
- Look not only what your competition is doing but what are other industries doing.
- Don’t do it all at once and don’t be afraid to ask for help.
Social media can be a very powerful differentiator in business. But, like anything else in life worth doing, hard work is required!
That’s it for now!
In the meantime, thank you for following and reading my blog!
I look forward to any and all comments that you may have. I will reply to any comments made to this blog post as promptly as I can.
I do this for a living and if I can be of any assistance to either you or your organization, please feel free to call on me. Our initial discussion will be of no charge to you.
I’m always willing to help you out with your social media program!
I can also be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
My Twitter handle is @conpsweeney.