There are more and more examples of brands achieving exposure, awareness and community engagement through Social Media in ways that contribute to their bottom line. This does not mean, however, that everyone should jump in and create a Facebook profile. Rather, it is necessary to have the final outcome in mind whenever approaching the use of Social Media. If you know what you aim to achieve, you’ll know how to measure your success along the way.
Here you can begin with an understanding of strategic applications of Social Media.
Many social platforms are built around their ability to facilitate and support a community. The key is that the community has a sense of ownership over the space in which it communicates. For a business a community can be a valuable source of online support, a central channel through which to communicate with a group of interested people as well as a source of insights into the perceptions of the brand and products or services.
Support and customer service
Social Media can offer a valuable channel through which to support your customers in ways that are both convenient and comfortable for them. Through experience, many consumers have learned that they are likely to get more effective service from Social Media contacts than traditional channels, where it is easier for them to be ignored. Channels like Twitter and Facebook have often been used to organise information while allowing for easy access those who need support.
Your brand and your reputation are very closely linked concepts. What people say about you in social and online media spaces has a large effect on the perception that most readers and viewers will have of you. Social Media can present a useful space for engaging with fans, detractors and even those who see you as a neutral brand.
Search Engine Optimisation
Social search is becoming just as valuable as traditional search. With millions of users visiting search engines daily to get recommendations, information and entertainment – having your website or some brand property positioned here is very important. Social Media offers you the chance to take advantage of the recommendation engine that exists amongst users sharing their experiences and thoughts. With Google’s latest search changes taking advantage of the importance of social search, considering Social Media in your search optimisation process is essential.
Communication and outreach
Social Media presents channels through which you can communicate directly, without having to rely on traditional media distribution channels. YouTube, Vimeo, Twitter and more provide a space for communication directly with your followers.
Advertising and awareness
Many Social Media networks and platforms allow for various forms of advertising. What is potentially powerful about this form of advertising is that they are socially targeted, based on information learned about users on these networks. Of course it is important to remain aware of the tricky line between targeted advertising and invasive advertising in these spaces.
Sales and lead generation
While there is a careful balance to be maintained in terms of direct sales through a space like Social Media, there are increasingly creative ways in which these are being implemented. Woolworth’s first F-Commerce page is but one example.
Insights and research
Finally, Social Media provides insight into different groupings of customers and their thoughts and feelings about your brand.
When looking at your marketing strategy, think about which of these challenges you need to meet. It is only after this choice that you decide which platforms and tactical implementations will help you reach your goals. More on this next time!