It is staggering that many businesses still class social media as a new frontier that they have to participate in. Perhaps a few years ago it was enough to have a presence on facebook and twitter, but not anymore. Far too many are yet to make it social media an integral and central part of their business strategy, to realise that it is a tool with unrivalled potential to offer customer service and market insights. The majority of businesses need to re-evaluate how they use social media, and begin to take it seriously as being a top priority for the future.
You wouldn’t ever just talk in a conversation, would you? You’d listen too. ‘Dynamic Interactions’ offers three core principles to help companies achieve this.
But I have a profile and communicate regularly to many followers. Isn’t that enough?
In 2014, it is unusual to find companies, even small to medium sized enterprises, without a facebook page or a twitter account. However, the extent to which these feeds are used vary dramatically from being dormant to almost constant contact and posts. The majority have a profile and update it with messages on the regular basis. However, it is not until interactions, not pushing out messages, becomes central to the social meda policy that social media yields huge benefit to the company in question, and generates disproprotionate gains in terms of profitability and improvement in brand reputation versus hours spent.
Why is this the case? It is because companies have the opportunity with social media to use it as interface to connect directly with customers in a way which has not been possible before. They can garner insights from their data and activity, and engage in conversations with the public that before had been limited by the issue of the company being made up of many individuals who all interact with the customer individually.
But this requires using social media beyond simply pushing out messages to followers – it requires an active conversation and interaction with those individuals interested in your brand. This requires a rethink of what the social media strategy is.
‘Dynamic Interactions’ – a strategy for social media
In this new strategy for social media, one word sums up the principle behind all interactions: Listening. If this can be effectively integrated into the actions and behaviours of those in charge of the social media feeds, the benefits to the organisation will increase significantly. These three point below give more substantial advice.
- Personable posting
First of all, the generic posts promoting the company’s products need to stop. Who, in all honesty, as a customer wants this appearing on their news feed? Posts like this, that are simply sent out into the ether, should be restricted to events, promotions and new products. The main body of posts needs to be interacting with those conversations happening online about the company. They happen all the time, whether you are there or not. Social media offers your chance to engage with these customers, make them feel valued, and help improve their interaction with the customer.
Is someone struggling with customer services? Reply to them, let them know they are being listened to. Someone love a new product? Send them to others that are similar, or retweet them to spread the positive feedback. The difference of this kind of interactions, where the company is listening as well as talking, is profound.
- Data Digging
Imagine if you were sitting in the office one day, and you were presented with information about all your customer’s hobbies, habits, favourite products and personal information? You’d act immediately to put this information into use to improve the company’s offering. So why is there still a dirth in social media analytics? The platform essentially offers much of this information, and in the greater scheme of things, particularly on twitter, it is not very difficult to access.
The offerings from IT companies are now staggering, measuring the conversations not only about your own company, but also fellow competitors. This is perhaps the most untapped area for companies to think about as part of a ‘Dynamic Interactions’ strategy.
- Magnificent Multimedia
Think about your own news feed. It is not the text that attracts your eye and makes you pay attention, but the videos and pictures. This is how Vine and Instagram have grown significantly in recent times, by being completely made up of these types of media. But companies have been very slow on the uptake of integrating video and pictures. This is not an option anymore – multimedia needs to be part of the make-up of a company’s social media as a necessary requirement to be successful. The earlier companies realise this, the bigger the advantage they can gain.
By following these three core ideas of ‘Dynamic Interactions Strategy’, companies of any size can build an exceptional social media offering that enhances their reputation and profitability.
Follow me on twitter: @edwardlowe13.