A common question for many clients, social media is the key to building your presence online and interacting with your customers on a day-to-day basis.
In an article by Peter Shankman on May 23, 2011, Peter wrote,
“Being an expert in social media is like being an expert at taking the bread out of the refrigerator. You might be the best bread-taker-outer in the world, but the goal is to make an amazing sandwich, and you can’t be good at that if all you’ve done is take the bread out of the fridge.”
It’s never about making something the biggest. It’s about making it the best. When building a brand, social media is a small, but integral, part in the recipe. We’re going to talk about social media in that aspect.
Building a Brand Presence on Social Media
Social media really started with chat rooms, popularized in the early ’90s with Geocities, AOL, Classmates.com, etc. That moved on to blogs and games, which moved on to publishing with Wikipedia and customized interests like Pandora. Next came friend networking, like Friendster, MySpace, Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Finally, it culminated in the linking together of major sites.
This created the “My Internet” which is just the stuff I want to see. It’s the re-creation of the Internet centered around me, and if I start thinking about it and planning it that way, I’m thinking about social media in the right way. The first question to ask is: what “communities” do I belong to?
I am a 27 year old single man.
I work in advertising.
I’m an author.
I live in Syracuse.
I’m a political junkie.
I’m a tech geek.
Social media takes all of these communities and makes it “My Internet.” It takes a billion things on the Internet and shows me just the things I want.
Driving User Engagement With Social Media
We are in one-on-one conversations with our consumers, both those who love us and those who hate us. The moral of the story is this: Consumers want to be a part of the brands they love, and you have to give them some freedom to play. So how do we do social media well?
It’s simple. Remember what you’re all about, and stick with that. If you’re Starbucks, and you’re about inspiring and nurturing the human spirit, figure out how to do that in social media. Social networking has two primary uses: marketing and customer service.
Customer Service on Social Media
When you do customer service, you have to understand what people love about you AND what they hate about you. You’ll have to be ready for both and be able to take both.
Ten Tips to Great Customer Service on Social Media:
1) Listen carefully.
2) Know your target market intimately (there is no such thing as an 18-49 year old woman)
3) Think and act like a customer, not a marketer.
4) Invite your fans, turn them into fanatics.
5) Respond quickly to both good and bad comments.
6) Be authentic, honest, and transparent.
7) Provide value.
8) Figure out where you want a social media presence. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, MySpace, Google+, LiveJournal? Go where your customers are.
9) Share stories and inspire customers with your stories.
10) Don’t try to sell. Make it easy to buy.
11) Don’t overwhelm your fans, deliver excitement, surprise and delight.