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Marketing Insights

Jump Into The Social Media Pool

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How To Jump Into The Social Media Pool Without Drowning

While you're hearing all the success stories about those companies participating in social media and wondering how you can join in, there's a lot to consider and prepare for before making the leap into the pool. Here are six realistic points to understand about social media that may prevent future disappointment and wasted dollars:

  • Participating in social media just for the sake of participating is a waste of your time and money.

  • Although the platforms are typically free, effective social media marketing takes an enormous commitment of time - and time is money.

  • The original social media is word of mouth. In order to have word of mouth online, everything needs to be in top shape off-line - at the retail level, the manufacturers' level and the distribution level. If your house isn't in order, there's a chance that word of mouth about your company will be negative.

  • Jump in with a specific plan. You need to have content and have something interesting to say and share.

  • You need to have an infrastructure in place to monitor various social media communications and respond to online comments.

  • You need to be prepared for negative word of mouth and have a procedure in place for turning it into a positive.

Bottom line: The social media success stories you hear and read about are few and far between. Don't expect an overnight miracle. Social media is just one integral part of your firm's marketing plan.

Everybody's Talking 'Bout You; I Don't Hear A Word They're Saying

It's easy to monitor what people are saying about your company, your service and product. Here are the top tools for "listening in on" the conversations:

Power To The People. Make Sure You Don't Break Any Guitars

We recently witnessed of the largest and most devastatingly successful online reputation attacks on a corporation. A major airline was brought to the ground, humbled and reprimanded by a passenger for damaging his guitar during a flight.

Finally, after 12 months of the airline refusing to honor his request for compensation and exhibiting poor and non-responsive customer service, the passenger - a singer/songwriter - recorded a music video and uploaded it to YouTube. After 4.5 million views and negative publicity nationwide about their customer service procedures, an embarrassed United Airlines finally took notice. (www.youtube.com/watch?v=5YGc4zOqozo)

Companies of all sizes should learn lessons from this incident:

  • If your customer service is substandard and problems are not remedied in a timely manner, the power is now in the hands of the consumer to use the Web to embarrass you.

  • Viral marketing has the ability to strongly promote the positive side of your business, but it can rapidly tell the negative side, such as a disappointing product or a bad experience.

  • To prevent negative publicity, make sure your customer service policies are reviewed and are implemented. Share this "guitar" lesson with your employees. Respond quickly to any incident, question or complaint so that customer frustration doesn't accelerate to the point of taking the issue to the Internet.

The most important lesson: When dealing with a customer, it's not about what it will cost your company now. It's about the embarrassing negative publicity and lost business it may cost you later.

How To Harness The Power Of The People

Marketing your company isn't just about advertising with traditional media or on Web sites. Marketing your company starts with your people. They are the best ambassadors of corporate goodwill. But they can make or break your company in a flash. We can help you identify the weak links that can lead to embarrassing situations.

The power is in the hands of the people - your customers. We can show you how to harness that power to your advantage and increase your sales and profits. Ready to start? 

Topics: Social Media, Marketing, Business Management

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