I was munching some chips the other day and going through information listed on the packet. Among ingredients, manufacturing and expiry dates, was a postal address and telephone number for any suggestions or complaints. I wondered if any of us have ever really bothered to go back with any kind of feedback to these companies â€“ good or otherwise. I mean who is going to call, forget sending a letter.
However, these days, given the popularity of social media, we will definitely let our friends and followers know – through a status update or a tweet â€“ about how awesome or gruesome a product or service was.
What’s in it for Companies?
Facebook’s official statistics show it has more than 400 million active users worldwide while Twitter now has over 105 million registered users with new accounts being registered at the rate of 300,000 per day. Even if you look at these statistics for your respective region, I am sure the numbers will be lucrative and growing.
Therefore for companies, it has become more important than ever to be present on these social media platforms so that they can build relationships with consumers, listen to them, connect with them, help them out with issues relating to the company’s product and utilise it as a platform to provide good customer service. Customer service these days is not just about how consumers coming into your stores or calling your 800 numbers are assisted, it is also about how you address their concerns or assist them on social media platforms.
Companies who are not present on social media are running the high risk of being disconnected from consumers and perhaps even losing them to competitors who have an active presence.
Having an online profile can help on so many levels. To begin with, it helps to build a positive image of the company because you are present and monitoring and listening, which makes you aware, especially when a consumer has an issue and you have the opportunity to address it in time, thereby discouraging the spread of negativity and most important of all â€“ providing good customer service.
Having an online presence helps you take your consumers’ feedback and where possible improvise. Consumers are also more than willing to assist you with suggestions when launching a new product or service.
Through my experience on Twitter, I have seen people looking out for companies to assist them; from event planners, car rentals, hotels and restaurants to bakeries, salons and photographers; providers who are present, take advantage of the opportunity and ultimately win new consumers.
Social media platforms such as Facebook, YouTube and Twitter are not only for big corporations. It is one of the most effective best online marketing tools small and medium sized companies could have asked for, as they struggle with miniscule marketing budgets. It is one of the most affordable ways to reach out to a plethora of prospects â€“ to establish your brand and grow your business.
A Sample Social Media Campaign:
Let’s take an example of a start-up or established salon and see how they can use a social media campaign to build the brand and raise its profile among target audience:
- Tip of the day/week: Depending on what you specialise in, share information/tips with your followers in a timely manner.
- Assist with queries: If people approach you with queries, assist them if you have expertise on the subject or guide them to someone whom you think can help.
- How-to videos: Share simple how to videos via YouTube and integrate them through Facebook and Twitter â€“ things they could do easily at home â€“ like a make-up look for summer or easy to assemble hair style.
- Giveaways and special discounts: Offer your followers prizes (your services) through competitions and/or perhaps special discounts.
- Before & After: Upload pictures of how you have transformed your client’s hair style or how a skin care treatment has cured a certain acne issue over a period of time, a bridal a make-up look etc., so that your followers can have a firsthand experience of your work.
Conversations matter the most in Social Media
However, when socialising on social media, businesses must ensure that they are not just self-promoting and selling their products. While this is probably one of the most important goals, building relationships with your audience and understanding them first supersedes all.
Have conversations with them; ask them how their day is going, what their plans are for the weekend â€“ just as you would with your friends. Share information with them and by all means plug in your product but think of different ways you can do that.
When Topshop, a renowned UK-based fashion retailer introduced its first make-up range, they used social media driven videos to show consumers how they could easily create various day and night looks using their products.
They say a satisfied customer is the best business strategy of all & having a social media presence, if done well, ensures just that â€“ a customer who is happy and connected with the brand.
He/She will take every opportunity to recommend you within their social circle and social media platforms, thereby developing a positive image of the company and one that eventually leads to better sales and growth.
Komal-Nishka Manglani is a Dubai-based PR professional and social media enthusiast.You may also like to read the earlier article Fancy a Career in Public Relations?