It can be all too easy to jump onto the Social Media bandwagon with every progression in the online marketing community, without necessarily thinking about the consequences. The various Social Media platforms have progressively become an everyday part of the majority of people’s lives. Through outlets such as Twitter, Facebook, Youtube, Myspace and Google+, our lives are progressively more interlinked via online mediums.
As businesses embark on programmes of Social Media marketing, it is increasingly easy to find themselves disorientated on the various channels of the World Wide Web. In this article, I have compiled a guide to the six most important “Do’s and Don’ts of Social Media Engagement” so that your business may never get lost again. Remember, when utilising these online platforms, Social Media allows for communicating directly with customers and not just for running advertising campaigns. As you seek to reach out to others, your business asserts itself in the online community, giving a better idea to customers as to the quality of service that you provide.
Provide fresh and relevant content
How you present your business is no longer just about what you say, it is also about how you are viewed, with images, competitions, blogs, news and updates – the more you share with your customers, the more likely they are to develop an affinity with your brand.
Enter conversation with your customers
Speak back when spoken to, because they’re not just customers, they’re people, and people like to know that they’re heard and that their views matter.
Create a Social Media marketing strategy
The end result of all Social Media programmes should be as with any other marketing form, to see an increased return on investment (ROI). Engagement on Social Media is not simply growing a larger volume of followers, it is interacting better with those that already follow.
Keep it real and responsive
Businesses are run by people, who market products and services to other people. No matter how many impersonal promotions your business offers, the best responses are always the most personal, showing warmth and humanity at work throughout your team.
Make sharing easier
Try and make it as easy as possible for the online community to share your content, through simple to use widgets, apps, tools and visual content. In sharing your content, your customers inadvertently become your advertisers as well.
Creating an online customer base is much like in the real world, where word of mouth is equally as important as adverts, if not more so, and spreading the message of a brand requires patience.
Ignore the past, particularly scores and targets
If your business runs a campaign and few people participate, then don’t ignore the lack of positive response, use the failure as a tool to better engage customers in the future and help define subsequent output.
Ignore the negative
This is clearly linked to how real and responsive your engagement is with other users. Remember, no brand, product or service ever has 100% approval ratings. If there are negative comments, answer them directly and use them for future reference to help improve output from your business. Rather than dwelling on negativity, try and change it to your advantage, turning dissatisfied customers into brand champions.
Open too many accounts
The internet is full to bursting with spam accounts and inactive pages, so don’t just add to them. Create a small number for your business and expand only if it seems there is a demand among your customers to do so.
Fail to provide clear guidelines
Using the internet provides your business with a voice, and all too easily it is a voice that can be misheard. Use guidelines for your Social Media programme about what your business wants to say, and more importantly, why it wants to say it, in order to more effectively communicate with customers.
Forget that it is an outlet of customer service
If the usual paths of customer service fail, then individuals will likely head to forms of Social Media to vent their frustration. In offering a rapid and effective reply you are providing good customer service to an online audience, in turn improving views on your business and its products and services.
Only use self-promotion – endorse others as well
Social Media is a capricious world, where simply talking about your business and its products will quickly lead existing followers to lose affection. Help promote others with similar interests such as charities, to help show a knowledge of more civil online interaction.
Never has it been easier to share information, and with the rise of Social Media, never has it been easier for companies to engage with customers and to monitor real-time information as to the popularity of their brand. As a rising number of businesses turn to channels such as Facebook and Twitter to promote products and services, it will become more important to focus on better engagement with existing customers than it will to simply advertise via traditional techniques.
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