Many small businesses are still afraid of opening their doors on the social web. These are the people who are the most comfortable with using one way broadcasting methods to distribute their marketing content, because they feel that they want to control their brand and message. As a result of this, these people only control one part of their communication strategy because they don’t allow anyone to interact with their message.
The social web changed all this and it’s 2012 — we are not living in the stone ages. People can talk about your brand and products even without your participation. Social media allows for interacting and socialising on the social web. There are a couple of main fears that most people have before they start exploring the social web for marketing purposes.
1. The social web is public
Social media allows everyone to be a citizen journalist with their own megaphone to amplify their message to their own network. A customer that experienced bad service can quickly distribute their negative experience to their favourite social media channel. Even though this is true, use the public nature of the social web to engage with customers and how you can improve your service. You can also use insights from social media to gather and improve on your services.
2. Social media doesn’t provide any ROI
Measuring the results of your social media marketing campaign can be challenging for many because there is not a clear path to measure ROI. This is true, but social media should not be a standalone component for your business. To get the best results, integrate your campaign with your other marketing initiatives to strengthen the overall results of your marketing message.
3. We lack resources
Many people still believe that social media marketing is free or can be done by anyone with extra time on their hands. Most of the social media channels are free, but it takes time and a lot of effort to get the best results. Instead of giving this responsibility to only one person, use other resources such as your customer service department, PR, and management teams to support your campaign. Find one person to be the social media ambassador within your business that can direct your other departments to use social media for the greater good of the company.
4. Our branding and communication will be inconsistent
Extend your branding guidelines to support your social media campaign. Never overlook social media’s human aspect in terms of the voice of your brand, video and photographs, and your language usage. Create a social media guidelines document and distribute it within your organisation so that your employees know how to act when they are using social media for personal and corporate reasons.
5. We won’t be able to control our message
Build an active networking base on the social web to ensure that you can communicate quickly and respond to the conversation going on. Present your own perspective on the topic. Be part of the conversation, and don’t ignore it.
6. Our reputation online will suffer
The real-time aspect of social media communication is ripe with opportunities to build your reputation on the social web. Create and establish a set of social media guidelines on how you and your employees should act on the social web. Train your customer service department on how to engage via social media, and have a real-time PR plan that you can use when a social media crisis happens. The most important part on facing a social media crisis is how you are going to handle and respond to it.
7. We are afraid of being transparent
Transparency doesn’t mean you should tell all your secrets to the world. Be open and transparent on how you do business, but don’t give away any company secrets. People want to do business with real people that they know and trust. Add a human voice to your marketing message.
Author | Anton Koekemoer
I'm your friendly neighbourhood digital marketing specialist. I specialise in helping brands connect with targeted customers by enhancing their online presence through emerging web-based communication channels. I translate business objectives into comprehensive initiatives that focus on humanising brand identity while maximising measurable business results. More