The competitive nature of a global online and mobile market is forcing business into the social media world like it or not.
Outside retail, many Australian CEOs are still grappling with the worthiness of social media.
My advice – cut through the buzz and consider what can be gained commercially.
A global database. This is potentially the most important outcome of any social media strategy; fostering and growing a list of consumers interested enough in your product/services to follow and promote you.
A direct, uninterrupted communications channel to consumers, potential consumers and stakeholders globally.
A powerful global word-of-mouth network that operates at super speed.
An efficient and effective way to reach beyond known customers and markets to unearth new connections, customers and referrals.
A huge global audience.
Highly cost effective.
Database marketing has long been used to drive sales, messaging, brand position, promote, even support crisis management. Social media does all of this but should be possibly thought of as database PR.
It’s database PR, not marketing, because effective social media content is about getting people talking, getting them engaged and interacting with them. It isn’t a broadcast mechanism, it’s a conversation platform and a hub to get people talking about an organisation, product/service, promotion etc.
Unlike other communications channels, social media builds a direct rapport with audiences by engaging in two-way dialogue.
Responding and interacting also stimulates and motivates key influencers into driving referral. Feedback and opinions can also provide valuable research, support testing and allow sales and marketing to follow trends but remember, with the perks comes the pitfalls.
Journalists are ethically bound to provide balanced, unbiased views, research, check facts and take care in sourcing information. A social media commentator has no limitations or controls and can write almost anything.
This shouldn’t frighten you off. The point is - be aware not alarmed.
It’s often better to take an active role in a conversation than to let an issue take off without any comment at all but don’t be naive enough to tackle social media without a plan.
Just as an organisation strategises and manages news media, it should have a policy and plans for effectively handling and responding to both positive and negative social media.
There is no one-size-fits-all social media solution. Each organisation needs to tailor its own approach and, to help you on your way, here are Sequel’s top 10 tips to social media success:
Research where your customers are.
Decide what social media platforms are important and relevant to them.
Share interesting, useful content.
Make sure your style and tone reflect who you are.
Build a rapport with the audience.
Use viral tactics to grow the database.
Prepare for perks and pitfalls.
Monitor and evaluate outcomes.
- Siobhan Dooley