I love social media. I love seeing it bring people together from all over the globe, how it enables me to learn what other people in my industry are doing for their church or marketing clients, the way it develops relationships with people who were just a face and served me coffee to now friends that I respect and enjoy connecting with. Social networking has changed the way businesses promote themselves and interact with their customers too. Successful businesses bridge the gap between the way people use their products or services to getting to know who their business is and building a relationship with them.
Social networking is not limited to wall posts, tweets, and social interactions though. For businesses to harness the power of social media, it requires a strategy that directs every wall post, every tweet, and why they interact with their customers. Facebook and Twitter are not the same web platform. Creating a great Youtube clip and garnering thousands of plays is useless if those viewers are not converted to customers and fans. The greatest form of advertising will forever be word of mouth. People’s personal opinion carries far more weight than a Facebook Ad, a promoted Twitter account, or a viral video. Some statistics say that people are prone to share a good businesses experience with up to four other people while they are more likely to share a negative experience with at least ten people.
When people in the business school at the University of Washington ask me about my experience there and which teachers I liked, I will answer their question but then always add which teachers they should avoid like the bubonic plague. While I don’t remember every positive teacher’s name or what class they taught, I will never forget the ones I hated. Neither will your customers.
To go beyond social networking, a company needs to have a defined reason they entered in the first place. As someone once said, “Origin determines outcome.” Social media strategies are bigger than building awareness of your brand or attracting a lot of followers. It includes (but not limited to) offering customers an avenue to exchange, the opportunity to speak into the development process, to allow their voice to be heard–positive or negative–and then address those comments or concerns. Strategy takes your media from being the megaphone to the masses to listening for even that quiet whisper of caution.
Social networking’s success depends on your planning. Listen to your audience. Connect with your customers. And publish content that establishes you as an expert and thought leader in your field.
Social Media No To The Quo