Social media isn’t just about friending your ex on Facebook to “check up on them” anymore. Social media is the newest form of marketing, and it can be both good and bad for your business. But it can be difficult to tell if the practice is helpful to your company, or if it’s hurting it. It’s a game changer; it is changing how companies interact with their customers. It’s become essential to have, even if you never wanted to get mixed up in it. You have to be able to respond to customers/guests/fans/etc. If you don’t respond it looks like you don’t care and that you’re not listening.
Social media also should be a part of your company, and not a stand-alone practice. The person who runs the different platforms needs to be knowledgeable about the company. If they aren’t they won’t be properly prepared to handle compliments or criticisms through the various mediums.
Companies use several tactics and practices within the different social media outlets. As I’ve mentioned several times in the past, the Groundswell is about communication! But, you have to remember that you don’t need to speak as the company just because you’re tweeting from the company twitter handle. Speak as a person. I often tweet different companies about their products, employees, etc. Only once have I ever received a message that was obviously not a person speaking to me.
Unfortunately for all companies, there is no magic wand that you wave to suddenly have a great social media presence. But, there are a few practices that you should apply. Keep in mind it is something you work hard for. Professor Brey has told us several times that it takes 6-9 months before you can really see a result from your social media marketing.
First, you need a strategy or plan. What do you want to achieve from your presence in social media? Don’t base your goal on X amount of followers or likes. Your interactions are what are measured, not your fan base. While having high numbers might look nice to some, it doesn’t mean you have a strong presence. Just because there are 30 different kinds of websites out there, doesn’t mean you need to belong to all of them. Believe me, I’ve signed up for probably all of them and several of them just sit there. Pick a few, and be interactive on those. The end product should be a social media community.
When you hop on to the social media bandwagon, have the manpower to run your social media sites. As wonderful as it is to have a manager or CEO who wants to be involved with the Twitter/Facebook/blog/etc. for the company, it’s not very practical. While you may not need someone full-time dedicated to running your platforms, you will need someone who can commit the time and understand how to use them to the company’s advantage.
Learn to relinquish control of your brand. I can hear all of you now, “DO WHAT WITH MY BRAND!?” Yes, relinquish control, but continue to monitor your brand. It can be terrifying, but if you have to let people talk about your company in their own way. Again, I have to mention that it’s about communication. And the communication happening through social media marketing will not always include you. If someone says they had a great time at your hotel because you always had hot coffee made, that may not be what you want to be remembered for but you have to keep in mind, you just want to be remembered for something good. If the best thing about their stay was the coffee, let them talk about it without trying to take over the conversation and steer it towards the soft pillows, the comfortable beds, or the amenities of the hotel.
There are other things you can do to help utilize social media for your brand, but if you keep these three things at the front of your mind, you’ll be off to a good start.
For some examples of social media return on investment, check out this website article and the three links listed at the bottom of the article:
What do you think is an important tactic to use social media within a company?