Today, every business is a marketing business. Whether you are creating an identity, carving out a new market, promoting your brand, positioning your products, developing awareness of your services, educating an industry or building loyalty to a cause or organization, on-going communication with your target audience, specifiers and buyers is critical to your success.
For continued growth, traditional marketing strategies now must incorporate various components of social media. Whether developing networking opportunities on LinkedIn, creating a fan base on Facebook, keeping the conversation going with twitter or providing resource information in the form of video libraries and blogs, your clients expect information….and they expect it NOW.
Social media delivers the opportunity to engage clients in real time and provides you with the opportunity for near immediate response as you manage your brand. Consider the impact on celebrity Alec Baldwin and his fateful recent American Airlines snafu. To his image, the press, for better or for worse, was still great press and regardless of what you think of Alec Baldwin, he landed himself a notorious spot with the airlines, the Greyhound Bus company and primetime on Saturday Night Live. Social media lets your stories unfold, develop and find a place in the eye of your public with immediacy the likes we’ve never seen.
Social media is not only changing the way we communicate but the way we buy. Surveys show that consumers trust other consumers above all else. A 2007 Nielsen Report showed only 55% of Americans trust advertising. That same report found that 78% of respondents say they trust – either completely or somewhat – the recommendation of other buyers. So the fact that you’ve been in business for the last 30 years or that your BBB rating is top-nothc, just may pale in comparison to what John Smith at ABC Company’s experience was with you last week.
Social media is not a replacement for all of your traditional marketing initiatives but it must become a vital component of your overall marketing and business strategy if you are to succeed in a world where communication and content is king when targeting clients and potential customers.
But before you engage in social media – know this. You absolutely must have good products and your company must stand behind them. Remember, social media is full on-board access and can be a double edged sword. The positive impact that a satisfied and socially vocal customer can have on your business can reap great opportunities and rewards. But be forewarned, happy clients share information only ½ as often as unhappy clients. Note to self: keep our clients happy.
Social media’s reach will continue to grow as we create more and more ways to communicate via mobile devices. From desktops and laptops to rooftops and everywhere in between, access to your brand and people’s experiences with it, will follow you and your clients. This will virtually leave the doors to your businesses open 24/7, 365 with consumers “standing” outside expecting to have access to you either in person, by phone, by e-mail, by text, or by one of the many social media platforms.
So be ready. It’s time to get social.