It’s so tempting to create a Facebook page or Twitter account and start tweeting and posting - without a strategy or plan. Social media needs a strategy and a plan, even though your customers and users do most of the “work”! Start with clarifying your main objectives for using social media. Here are a few thoughts:
Strengthen your brand – Brands are increasingly influenced by the social media engagement of your company and the conversations among customers about their experience with your company, products and services. Social media gives you new insights about customers’ needs. It engages your customers in authentic conversations to build loyal and lasting relationships.
Improve customer support – Social media provides a great way to learn about issues, find solutions and get those to your customers and users quickly and efficiently. By monitoring tweets, posts and forums you can learn about issues before they escalate, pro-actively offer solutions, and have your users/customers help each other.
Accelerate product innovation – Learn more about your customers, what products they use, what they like and don’t like and how they make buying decisions. Gather feedback from your users’ social media conversations, ask questions and monitor exchanges based on keywords and your brand (using online tools such as Lithium, Radian6)
Increase customer acquisition - People prefer to buy what their friends and peers buy or recommend. Thus, social networks are great for gaining new customers through referrals, incentives, promotions and games.
Improve customer loyalty - Social media engagement keeps your customers more loyal. The fact that people “talk” about your product is a first step to customer loyalty – it means they care about you and your product.
After you have defined your objectives for why to use social media as a marketing tool, you need to develop strategies on how to build and engage your community. More on this in a future blog post.