If you have been paying attention lately, you will probably have heard various marketing and social media gurus going on about how important social media is for your business and in extreme cases how (shock horror), you won’t be in business in 5 years if you don’t embrace it as part of your overall marketing and customer relationship strategy. Wow. Heavy stuff.
Sure, there are businesses that will do just fine in the bricks and mortar world without going online – thank you very much, but for most of us, we should consider what this means.
Don’t think of social media in terms of fear – think of it in terms of opportunity.
What could your business be like in 5 years time if you DO embrace social media marketing solutions? The world has changed, marketing has changed, and traditional forms of marketing just don’t cut it like they used to. Or at least not in the same way used to. Not for the large majority. Cold calling, yellow pages, letterbox drops, traditional print media, television and radio ads…..everything has been shaken up by this new way of approaching the way we communicate, the way we market and the way we sell. Call it Web 2.0. Call it Social Media. Call it whatever you like. But definitely take heed of this Call to Action: Start learning how to use social media effectively…because if you do, it will change your business..and in a good way.
So, are you cowering in the corner, chanting “I don’t like change, I don’t like change”? Never fear, it is not as scary as you think. Social media is not new. It is just a new platform for doing what has always worked: building relationships with your clients and customers. Yep. Good old customer service has been revamped and 2.0-ed. It is faster, quicker, snazzier and slicker, but at its very core, social media marketing is all about relationships, connections and engagement with your customers and potential customers.
5 reasons to NOT panic, but EMBRACE social media.
It is my hope after reading these reasons, that you walk away thinking, “I can do this….I am already doing this!”. Put it this way…if you have the ability to be social, to instil trust, to show you care, to show integrity and to provide great value…you are doing what you need to be doing. Social Media is just another tool (and an awesome one at that) to do it with.
1 Social Media is about being Social: Can you have a conversation? Yes? Do you engage in conversations with your clients currently? Brilliant. You are off on the right foot. If you are starting out in social media, remember this one thing: your aim is to build relationships by being social and having a conversation and engaging with your potential and current clients in order to provide massive value to them. Let them know you a little better and they will be more likely to trust and do business with you.
2 Social Media is about Trust: Following on from Point 1, remember that people will buy first from businesses that they know or trust…or at the very least have a connection with. With social media, you have the ability to build this type of relationship with large groups of people, by showing your authenticity and engaging with the people in your community online….you have a golden opportunity to be more accessible to your clients (ie you already build this trust every time a client walks in your physical door…now you can take that same engagement, education, interaction and give it more exposure!
3 Social Media is about Caring: We are human and we thrive on feeling special or cared about. I have no doubt that you know how to make your clients feel special in your business…one at a time. What if you could make people feel special en-mass? Social Media allows you to show that you care when more than one potential client Be it tweets or facebook posts, if you engage with one person and show excellent customer service with that person, you can be guaranteed that more people are watching.
4 Social Media is about Handling Yourself with Integrity: If you have someone come to you online with a complaint, it can be an oppportunity to show exceptional customer service and build your business. Huh?, I hear you say! Sure, a complaint online for the world to see can be daunting, and perhaps your initial response would be to run and hide, not respond or even react defensively (not always a great idea, by the way). But imagine if you took the opportunity to show that you care? Just by showing that you have “heard” the complaint can make a huge difference to the customer (Hi Sarah – we are sorry that you have had a bad experience at our showroom), but then taking it further can really win you some brownie points. Ask for their input ‘(Do you have any suggestions for how we can make it better?” and even offer them an experience to replace the initial one (Can we offer you the chance to come down for a free lunch and chat with us at our next client day because it’s people like you that help us to make our business better). Imagine if you did that in front of hundreds of “followers”. What message would that send?
5 Social Media is about Adding Massive Value: At the end of the day, in most businesses, people come to us for an experience. Whatever service we provide, if that experience is exceptional they will come back to you again and again and will bring their friends. Think about how you are adding value already to your clients and customers – through the services you provide, the care or environment you have created, the education, entertainment, information you give. All of this can be expanded on by using social media. Walt Disney had a motto for Disneyland – “Exceed Expectations”. How can you exceed expectations in your business and how can you take that experience online and continue it en-mass using social media platforms?
Your customers are online already. You are already having conversations with them in your office, so why not move it online? Social Media is just another way of what we call Relationship Marketing or good old fashioned Customer Service – the service and the value and the engagement you provide hasn’t changed…just the medium by which we are able to achieve it. All Social Media does is give you a way of providing Customer Service on Rocket Fuel. Think about what opportunities this brings to you and your business!
Do you agree? Are you using “social media” strategies already in your offline business that you can apply on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube or Linked In? I would love to hear your feedback!