Many businesses realise the benefits of social technologies but many are still watching from side of stage, waiting for the right time to make their entrance.
Perhaps they are fearful of getting it wrong or simply don’t think they need a social web presence.
As with all marketing initiatives, there’s no point adopting a social media presence just for the sake of it, but there are dangers in holding back online:
1. You’re missing the opportunity to extend your Customer Service
Customer service IS social. In spite of all the jargon and bluster it is simply a conversation between a company and its customers.
If you’re not socially active, you are missing the opportunity to lead that conversation. Don’t put your company at risk by not being there if someone has a complaint – or recommendation.
You can stop bad comments in their tracks and amplify good comments – but only if you’re listening. Someone, somewhere is discussing your brand, don’t be afraid – get involved and participate.
2. You are losing out on sales and leads
The stats around consumers researching their purchase decision online are significant.
The sales cycle now has an additional step – we call it the “validate my decision” step, where a prospective customer reaches out to listen to what others are saying about their chosen purchase.
It’s why all the major online retail outlets now feature review sections. If you play no part in curating the conversation about your brand within social media then you are losing out on sales.
3. You’re not just missing out on young consumers!
Social media might be relatively young, but it’s a common mistake to assume that only the young are using it.
There are 800 million users of Facebook, predicted to be one billion at some point in 2012. Over 200 million of those are over the age of 35+
Social media is here to stay and it’s for everyone, being used across all age profiles.
4. You’re not in charge of your reputation
Because of the speed of online conversation, if you miss the opportunity to react if someone is complaining, the sound of your silence is deafening.
An effective social media strategy or reputation management strategy helps manage problems before they flare up.
5. You’re ignoring your customers’ great ideas
One of the greatest merits of Social Media is that you can now gather feedback by listening to your online audience. It’s like one huge, open focus group, if you’re willing to take advantage that is.
In addition a strong social media presence can strengthen you’re overall marketing, allowing you to track customer lifecycles and provide insight into customer profiles. Many companies are using techniques to find advocates and foster loyalty and build long-term relationships.
Become a social media success story
Social media on it’s own is not the big picture. It should form part of your entire marketing and customer service strategy. Nor does your entrance to social media need to be “big”. Many of the success stories are from organisations that had a clear strategy, aligned to business objectives and supported by an individual or a core team.