Social media has created an opportunity for companies to connect with their customers on a more personal level than ever before. Useful Social Media has compiled a series of articles identifying how businesses can best take advantage of social media trends to improve marketing strategies.
Mass advertising is losing efficacy as consumers begin to demand more engagement from companies. Traditional “push” marketing now has a response rate below 2%. But brute force isn’t necessary with social media marketing, which creates “pull” markets of self-identified customers who seek interaction. Now businesses can receive comments directly from customers and style marketing strategies to target individuals rather than demographics.
These consumers are not interested in just coupons and deals. They want content, information, and conversation. Twitter has become the venue for customers to engage companies, allowing for immediate, public discourse. Not only does this communication provide invaluable feedback, but a thoughtful and prompt response increases brand advocacy among all viewers.
Effective communication requires company-wide coordination. Because customers want to have a conversation, businesses need to respond to comments with a consistent and human voice. Customer relationship management (CRM) systems keep track of individual customer interactions and distribute it to all employees and departments, eliminating the alienating “selective memory” effect. A comment alert system and clearly defined roles for social media representatives will lead to quick and relevant responses.
Over time social media may produce a daunting amount of unstructured data. But its precise nature allows marketing tailored to individuals and the ability to anticipate future needs of consumers. Analytic tools exist to help businesses organize social media data.
Developing a new social media community takes time and commitment, and results may come slowly. Staying active in the community is essential. Customers will return only if interesting, relevant content continues to appear. Communities should be built on transparency and trust, and with clearly defined goals in mind.