by Christine van Spaendonck
It is 2015, no matter how old or experienced one is, the majority of people are starting to make and modify opinions through social media. Many companies – specifically the smaller ones – are often not aware of what is being said about them in the social spheres. This can be the result of the lack of tools and processes or purely the result of complacency. Retweets, follows and likes ARE NOT ENOUGH!
The three main uses of social media are:
- Market research
- Finding consumers and creating leads
- Engaging customers and building brand loyalty, including customer service.
Using social media is a tried and tested way of helping your brand build relationships with current and future consumers. Through social media, your brand can interact both directly and indirectly with consumers – this can be done through generating interesting and useful content. A brand can even position themselves as a trusted source of information in their specific field.
Social media is so prevalent in today’s society, thus negative media has a much further reach and impact than before. When it comes to negative social media – be it either direct or indirect – it is vital that these issues are dealt with in a timely and professional manner. Products and services that have negative reviews are likely to suffer brand damage or brand abuse as a result. People want to be heard if they feel they have been mistreated.
It is important to ensure every piece of content shared by a brand should remain constant and support one’s brand image – the ‘personality’ or ‘climate’ of a business should not change. This consistency will lead to trust, name recognition, and, more importantly, brand identity.
In order to create consistent brand identity, one needs to ensure that every person within the company, as well as all media that anyone on the outside is exposed to, runs parallel to the values and benefits that a brand offers. Ensure that the internal and external perceptions of the brand are in accordance with one another. Focus on competitive advantages and how your brand is better than competitors.
Focus on the correct media to suit your needs. Some media (specifically advertisements) focus on building an image and others (such as social media) are designed to gain responses and interactions. Ensure that responses are monitored and answered if need be. There is nothing worse than a brand that does not serve its customers. In a world where the main differences between brands are their user-friendliness and customer interactions – ensure that the people who purchase and utilize your product or service come first! It is vital that all points of contact with a customer carry a consistent message and response.
Having a social media strategy can go a long way in terms of ensuring that all advertisement is implemented across the board – there should be no boundaries between print and electronic media. Use the one to support the other. If social media is not used correctly, it can run the risk of alienating or confusing potential clients.
In order to ensure that your social media presence is strengthening your customer relationship management through retaining and strengthening your customer base as well as controlling your public relations; one needs to ensure that the correct tool(s) is/are being used.
Monitoring the impact of your social media should not be a huge job. One needs to create a dashboard that aggregates various sources and gives an accurate overview of the brand’s performance in real time. This can help with finding and authenticating leading indicators in terms of sales increase or decline as well as the impact of strategies over time.
Create meaningful goals and benchmarks, track competitors and their marketing campaigns. Build predictive models and ensure that everything is consistent! Certain metrics need to be researched in terms of validity; the term ‘engagement’ needs to be clearly defined. Reading and sharing or commenting are very different. A post may have 1000 engagements but only 50 people have actively interacted with it.
There are various tools that can be built to a brand’s specifications, Tracx has a very user-friendly interface that does all of the hard work and gives the user real time direct messaging as well as indirect messaging feeds that may be replied to directly.
At the end of the day, one needs to ensure that a brand is meeting (hopefully exceeding) consumer expectations, gaining competitive advantage and monitoring business influencers. This can all be done at a relatively low cost through social media.
Ensure that your brand is not just speaking to consumers but listening as well.