If you are just beginning your social media campaign, don’t be discouraged by research studies broadcasting such efforts to be a big waste of time. Success on Facebook, Twitter, Youtube and the many other emerging social sites is all about the approach. A study by IBM reveals that many companies are missing an opportunity to utilize social media channels to drive sales growth because of a misunderstanding of what consumers want out of those channels. A majority of consumers say the top reasons they interact with companies via social sites are to receive discounts and make purchases, yet companies rank those as the least likely reasons customers will follow them. Instead, businesses overestimate consumers’ desire to interact with the companies, in an effort to feel connected or be part of a community.
Social Marketing Requires Professionalism
Social networking began as a personal communication tool, but the integration of business and branding have transformed these platforms and given birth to a new code of conduct. While the publication of personal information online has led us all to partake in a little social stalking of friends and family members from time to time, the expectation of businesses sharing this social space is different. As SocialBeat columnist, Laura Horton, explains, Every company has its own rules for social media marketing, but keep in mind that social networking is a person-to-person tool. Few people enjoy hard-sell marketing ploys on social networking sites, and they certainly don’t want to feel as if they are being stalked by your company.” Below are a few simple rules to follow, in order to keep it professional while being personal.
- Be helpful, not pushy. Tweets, statuses, and other moment by moment updates can keep you in the loop about what your customers are doing, what they like and what they are looking for. If they are nearby or you offer a product or service that fits their liking or their need, social sites are great way to make an introduction. But that is all, don’t make a pitch. It is about establishing a relationship.
- Be a thought leader. While you may think sharing news and updates on your brand alone is all your customers really want to know when interacting with you online, you are wrong. They are looking for you to prove your knowledge and your experience in the industry, and expect you to be a thought leader on associated topics of your brand.
- Stay on top of social marketing best practices. As more people join social media sites and new features are added, the code of conduct is always evolving. Businesses using social media in their marketing plan should stay current on best practices and trends. It’s important to have a strategy and more important to keep this strategy updated with the DOs and DON’Ts of social marketing, especially when looking to earn customers’ trust and not creep them out.
For more guidelines on B2C social media conduct, click HERE.