I recently released my latest publication, the executive’s guide to social media! The executive’s guide is full of some pretty surprising statistics, and the kinds of information execs and entrepreneurs need to know about social media from the leadership perspective.
There is a section on the “burning questions” that I frequently get from executives; one of them is what objectives can be met with social media (see the illustration above for objectives that our clients successfully meet with a well planned campaign). According to the Harvard Business Review, 77% of Fortune 500 companies now have dedicated internal social media teams. Surprisingly, very few of them have a plan. Many companies are still struggling with articulating their objectives, which means they can’t plan a strategy around those goals. We recommend that clients start with one of three very important and common objectives: creating community, customer service or brand management.
Creating Community: There is a mistaken belief in social media that more is better – “quantity over quality”. Adding more numbers to your social media platforms does not necessarily mean success though. We have some clients who come to us with well-established Facebook pages for example, with tens of thousands of followers. But they were all gained through ads, these followers have never used the company’s products or services, and they never engage. On the other hand, we have clients with a few hundred followers, but they are past, current and prospective clients, supporters, vendors, friends and family who care about the company’s products and services and engage regularly. Regular engagement from people with a sense of community creates branding and sales opportunities. Focus on a “slow burn” growth plan – provide insight and value for your audience. Don’t focus just on what you have to sell, but think about what information would be helpful to them in terms of their lifestyle, their needs, their values, their challenges. What solutions can you provide? How can you make them smile? The platform will grow and followers will talk to you, and each other, and that’s how you create community.
Customer Service: Several of our clients use social media to address customer service concerns. With today’s technology it is becoming easier for consumers to (very publicly) voice concerns and complaints through social media. In the periodical’s first issue, Social@Scale Journal shares that only one of five brands respond to customer complaints on social media, although a majority of consumers expect to receive a response within a few hours. 60% of these customers say they will take additional actions to express their dissatisfaction with followers on social media. Addressing complaints appropriately and promptly will set a company apart from its competition and gain customer loyalty. When you use social media as a customer service channel, contact is immediate, anger is diffused and customers are given a more personal brand experience that they will remember and share.
Brand Management: A strong online presence is a solid way to create awareness of your brand, and to stay “top of mind” with consumers. Creating opportunities for consistent use of your logo, colors, tagline, values and mission, strengthens your connection with your audience and makes you immediately recognizable and memorable. Simply “listening” (finding opportunities to observe what consumers are saying about your company and what they are saying about your competitors without engaging) will give you amazing insight in to how your constituents view your brand.
Creating community, providing customer service, and brand management are achievable goals with a well-planned social media campaign. If your organization is struggling with defining objectives, or the strategy necessary to reach those objectives, feel free to call or email me any time, 480-270-5395, or Jennifer@redballooninc.com. Or, learn about our upcoming training class, and download my complimentary publication, ‘the executive’s guide to social media’ here.