1. It’s Not the Size of the Tool, It’s How You Use It – One of the greatest things about social media is that businesses with tiny marketing budgets can still benefit from them as marketing tools. The winner in social media is not the company that shelled out major dollars for a new and shiny tool, but rather the company that leveraged their free Twitter account to engage with their consumers and bring in new business.
2. Foreplay is Key –
Some companies dive head first into social media, and then wonder why their results are less than satisfactory. Before using social media as a marketing tool, it is necessary to scan the environment you are about to enter. Know what people are saying about your brand, your industry, and your competitors. Here are 10 free tools you can use to get started
3. Your Lame Pick-Up Lines Only Work in the Short-Term –
Can you use free stuff (contests, promotions, etc.) to draw in new Twitter followers and Facebook fans? Sure. Will you have built real, lasting relationships with these consumers? Not unless there is a tie-in with your brand and a significant benefit to your audience
4. It’s Ok to Ask How You’re Doing – There’s no shame in reaching out to your customers for feedback on your social media efforts. Ask them what they hope to gain out of liking you on Facebook or following you on Twitter. Is it information? Deals and discounts? Don’t be shy – asking for suggestions is like free market research, which can be used to boost your performance.
5. Your Most Satisfied Customers Are Happy to Share Their Experiences – Social media has become a vehicle for consumers to share what they’ve experienced with certain brands, both online and offline. Ask them to post their experience on social networks or review sites (assuming you know they are satisfied), or perhaps take this a step further by building a brand ambassador program. Your most loyal customers are eager to advocate for you.
6. Your Most Dissatisfied Customers Are Even Happier to Share Their Experiences –
Just as your happy customers will tweet and post about how wonderful you are, you’re not-so-happy customers can potentially wage an online war against your brand. With social media, everyone has a voice. The guy who was unhappy with your customer service may have a blog with 100,000 readers. Be on the lookout for negative sentiment regarding your brand, and have a plan for handling it
. Know that ignoring it can very quickly blow up in your face.
7. Everyone’s an “Expert” (Or “Guru” or “Ninja”) –
You’ll hear these terms thrown around quite loosely in social media, but they should not be taken at face value (see #5 at this link
). Just because someone knows how to set up a fan page or uses social media for personal use does not in any way signify that they are suited to manage your brand’s social media marketing.
8. You Need to Do More Than Just Show Up; You’ve Got to Engage – Think you can set up accounts on different platforms, schedule some content, and see results? Think again. To see success in social media requires real, long-term engagement. Performance improves over the course of a relationship.
9. It’s better to admit your mistakes immediately – When you screw up in social media the whole world sees it. Staying silent about it can result in highly negative sentiment regarding your brand. You’ll often find that consumers are more forgiving if you admit to your mistakes and make an effort to correct them.
About the Author
Andrew Krebs-Smith is Vice President at Social Fulcrum, a word of mouth and social media marketing agency. Andrew has “leveraged” social media and other marketing tools for over 100 companies including Pfizer, the National Chicken Council, and Strayer University.