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You don’t need me to tell you, but the world of marketing and advertising has seen some pretty dramatic shifts over the past few years. Social Media is changing the face of the way companies do marketing. How? With the emphasis on B2C communication – tools like Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn are making it easier than ever for businesses to give and receive instant feedback from their customers.
But just because the tools are readily available, doesn’t mean businesses are using them to their maximum potential. The approach to Social Media has to be taken from a different angle than more “traditional” marketing mediums. Where selling, generating leads, and landing clients may be the end result – the approach with Social Media has to be to engage and build relationships first, before focusing on the sales pitch.
One thing that everyone can take a lesson in, and something I continue to work on myself – is the power of listening. Listen to what your customers are saying, pay attention to their conversations, and take note of their ideas. Becoming a good listener and eavesdropping at the right time and place is priority number one for Social Media marketing.
You’ll hear everyone tell you that listening is important – but that’s only the first step. The follow up, and most important element of communication is knowing WHEN to communicate. Those who are “doing it right” spend a considerable about of time listening, and when the time is right, take it to the next step and get involved.
What does “get involved” mean? At the end of the day, it’s about being a person first, a human representative and voice of your company. People don’t want to talk to a business – they want to talk to a person, they want a connection, a human on the other end of the line who genuinely cares about their wants and needs. If you’re that person on the other end, be yourself, be funny, share interesting and relevant information, become a resource for your community. Social Media works best when the line between personal and professional is blurred.
Once you’ve built a rapport with the members of your community, they’ll be more willing and accepting of your “sales” pitches. Engage first, sell second – A simple formula that’s often forgotten, but is the recipe of success for any business integrating Social Media into their marketing mix.
What examples do you have of businesses that are doing it right (or wrong) with Social Media?