There is a great need for social media in business today. The use of social media is part of the marketing strategy of companies that helps them to communicate with their customers in a more efficient way aside from the traditional media that include print and broadcast. A few companies have started integrating this in their strategy, while others are still starting, and still others not quite there yet.It’s pretty cool that companies can interact with the consumers using the web 2.0 tools used in social media, get feedback directly from them, and be able to respond back more promptly, especially when there are issues that need urgent attention. It can be painful to read what the people say sometimes, especially when people can be really harsh online, but it is really helpful.
When you deploy it right and when you use it right, using social media will really help you get ahead of the competition. Keep in mind that companies in the same industry you are in may not use the same tools that you use. You may be ahead of them, or you may be behind in this technology. Whatever the case, strive to continually improve and keep abreast of the latest technology.
From my observation, print ads, broadcast ads, and website ads are not enough, especially if you are a major corporation and are one of the major players in the industry. I am actually surprised that some companies haven’t fully utilized the web 2.0 tools that are so popular and are most useful right now. Think about it – if it is so popular, then the consumers that you so want to keep and/or acquire might be there. They might be talking about your brand, and they might have some major influence to other consumers as well. For instance, a discussion starts in a blog, people comment on the blog post, and these in turn might inspire others to start posts on other sites in relation to the topic/discussion. Are you there to see it and able to learn and do something about it?
Monitoring social media is largely important because it can help you identify key influencers and evangelists that can help you with your brand. Using social media monitoring and analysis tools/platform, such as Radian6 for example, will help you gather social media metrics and generate reports with that. Let me repeat: tracking the conversations about your brand/business is important. Do something about it.
Here’s an idea. Once you’ve identified the key influencers and evangelists (e.g. bloggers with a large audience), you need to contact them and establish good relations with them. You can then try to ask them to start a blog contest for example and your business can sponsor the prizes. The topic for example can be something like: Write a blog post about Company X’s product on how it has brought a major impact to the community. Or something better.
There might be a lot of talk out there about your brand and you better be efficient in monitoring them – not only the talk about your brand, but also about the industry and issues that are relevant to your business. Monitoring these conversations will help you know what makes your customers happy, and what makes them mad. What’s good about it is you can now track all these conversations in real time, so you can be there right away to intervene especially in preventing unpleasant things from getting worse (like a pissed-off customer who was tweeting about the poor service he has received today and you were able to stop him from further writing a blog post about it).
Disclaimer: I am not a Social Media Expert and these are just my thoughts and tips based on what I’ve learned from other people, my readings, and observations.