Big wave social media surfing isn’t a sport for the timid, but if you are in a business that sells to consumers, there’s no choice, because social media is a wave that will take you to new heights or swamp your business. Why? Because it amplifies everything exponentially.
Social media hasn’t created new concepts in the business world, but it sure has made them more important. The staid old business precepts like “good customer service” and “focused advertising” are now hooked on social media steroids:
We all know that unhappy customers tell others about their experience much more often than do contented ones, but now every malcontent on the planet has a social media microphone. One unhappy customer can spend an evening drinking and posting bad things about your business, and you’ll be cleaning up the mess forever if you don’t get on top of it fast. And heaven help you if you really did do something wrong, and it was a major transgression. If posts go viral, they can reach millions of people.
On social media, everyone has more than a voice. They have a megaphone.
You must have a social media group in customer service (or outsourced arm of customer service) that monitors postings about your business on a daily basis, to both engage customers and potential customers, AND to do damage control when (not if) something bad happens.
Look what's happened to United Airlines (which apparently deserves it). In the old days dragging that elderly doctor off the plane might have been a few days of bad publicity in a newspaper, with maybe a joke or two on The Tonight Show, but in the world of social media, where every person has a video camera as their constant companion, it became and remains a worldwide marketing disaster that spawned endless jokes, memes, and viral postings. And they keep doing it......freezing to death the world's biggest rabbit, shipping a dog to Japan by accident, suffocating someone's puppy in an overhead compartment, and flight attendants making jokes about that puppy in front of customers. They’ll be teaching about this one as a Harvard Business School case study of what not to do.
All publicity is definitely not good publicity
We also all know that if you run advertisements, you want to focus in on the best prospects. It’s still true of course, but you need to use social media steroids if you want to hit advertising home runs. Why is print advertising dying? Because it’s too expensive and harder to focus in on your target audience. On the other hand, take Facebook—it doesn’t get much better than this for advertising. Facebook knows way too much about you, your friends, and everyone else in the world. Want to sell wedding gowns? Buy a Facebook ad that targets women with a status of “in a relationship”. Selling yachts? See who posts pictures of expensive stuff and likes sailing. You pay by impressions, so when Joe Smith is on Facebook, who’s 70 years old and posting pictures from the Elks club, he won’t see your ads for either wedding gowns or yachts, but a thrice divorced tech billionaire in a new relationship might see them both.
How else but with Facebook can you reach someone 'in a relationship' who likes yachts?
There is an art and process to pushing out ads properly, and if you don’t do it right, you get nothing. Do it right though, and it’s the most efficient method of advertising available.
As a business there are lots of social media tools available to both grow your business and customer loyalty, while minimizing the effects of bad posts. Response is everything, but you have to know how.
The leader of our social media marketing group in New Zealand has managed social media for a major outdoor apparel and equipment manufacturer (Kathmandu), handled marketing and social media for an elite island tourist destination (Waiheke Island), and been director of marketing for one of the world’s most prestigious vineyards (Cable Bay).
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