In today’s rapid paced business world thousands of companies are taking a ‘slice out of the social media cake’. Many have decided that social media is where it’s happening and they want in. This is all good and well; companies going online and using social media to attract more business, but in order to actually have a slice of the cake and eat it too, you need to be able to listen, analyse and engage within the online space.
Successful businesses have researched and understood that in order for their organisation(s) to become brand leaders, they need to connect and engage with consumers not only in the ‘real world’ but in the digital one as well. There are and will always be traditional research methods, but as the world is increasingly going digital, the accessibility of customer sentiment towards a brand lies in the unsolicited information being shared online on a daily basis. The online and social media space allows for first-hand information to be seen and once this information has been seen, something needs to be done with it.
An Online Reputation Management Tool is pivotal. There are many tools out there, some are free and some are not. We at Digital Republic use Tracx (which has been voted in the top five best Social Intelligence Tools in the WORLD and has a super cute Gorilla as a logo), but we digress. The point is, it is essential that you have an adequate tool to monitor, analyse and manage a brands image and online reputation.
As stated before, you need to listen and engage online. When listening, you need to stay on top of the latest trends within your social sphere, determine who your influencers/brand ambassadors are and figure out what the keywords/phrases are that relate to your business that you would like to track. You should be able to do all of this from your Social Intelligence Tool/Online Reputation Management Tool.
Once you have identified all of the above, you need to decide how to engage with your online audience. Which Social Platforms are you going to join and use to grow your online brand? Have a look at this article by Scott Levy with regards to choosing the right Social Platform: http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/230020 . Your Social Intelligence Tool should allow you to publish to your chosen platforms. You then need to decide how often you are going to post. If you post too seldom your account can appear dormant, if you post too often, you may flood people’s timelines which is a tad annoying to say the least. You also need to decide WHAT you are going to post about. It may be beneficial to develop an online personality for your business/brand. FNB and Nedbank have developed actual “people” who represent the brand, i.e. RB Jacobs and Eugene Khoza respectively.
If you are not keen on going that route, you must still decide if you are going to be strictly professional online, a bit quirky or quite laid back. From there you can decide what content will be posted.
Always research before you make decisions; the internet is filled with amazing content and ideas as well as stats and results. After all of this, you can begin your journey to becoming an influential presence within your social sphere. You are able to listen to the conversations happening online and then effectively engage with consumers/customers.