Are you one of those that have jumped on the social media bandwagon to promote your business? Were you told social media would boost your sales, improve customer relations, manage your online reputation, and reduce every bit of overhead you have? So what happened? Why have you not started reaping those benefits, despite the fact that your having a presence of Facebook, Twitter, YouTube etc?
What most business owners fail to understand is that social media is not just a two-way communication between you and your customers, social media is rather a multi medium that lets your customers have conversations with other (potential) customers.
Your potential customers/target market would prefer to learn more about your brand from your existing customers rather than being bombarded with print/electronic adverts. Social media is the perfect platform for this to take place. Since social media a relationship driven multi-medium, there are 5 basic rules of social media engagement that you need to respect. The rules are:
- Relationships come before sales: Building relationships takes time because building trust takes time. Social media can only impact your sales after you have built a strong relationship with your customers to become more loyal customers. These loyal customers will in turn refer their friends and family to you.
- You go to the community, the community doesn’t come to you: Don’t wait for your customers to come to you, rather you should go to them. If you target market are using Facebook, join the Facebook community, if they are on Twitter or LinkedIn, join those communities too.
- Communities are grown, not built: Once you’ve got your social presence set up, go out there and talk to people. Get to know them, and start building relationships. Don’t just expect that since you’ve setup and account on Facebook or Twitter, then they should automatically start flocking to you. You still have to put in some effort. You have to make some noise. You have to go out of your way to make friends. You have to show your friends and your community what you can offer them.
- Don’t try to replace the community: Don’t try to re-invent the wheel by building your own customized online communities from scratch to compete with Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn etc. Instead concentrate on adding value to these communities through your brand’s presence on these social networks.
- Content is king: On the worldwide web, content is king! Content can be anything from articles, blog posts, pictures, tutorials, videos, reviews etc. So if regular content production isn’t part of your social media strategy, it’s going to fail. But it has to be relevant to your customers’ demographic and it has to be regular. Because once you stop producing content, you stop participating, and relationships whither.
So if social media isn’t working for you, ask yourself if you are breaking any of these rules.