By Ryan Malone
As many high profile companies like McDonald's, Chick-Fil-A, and Toyota Camry have learned — the hard way — managing social media marketing is a balancing act. Social media interaction with your customers is no longer a if we have time, let's tweet situation. Many companies large and small are finding that managing social media marketing can be done with these key steps.
#1: Answer Their Questions
When a customer asks on Twitter, Is anyone at @abccompany working in customer service today? or Wondering if @abccompany has blue laptop cases? @abccompany had better respond quickly.
Social media is now being used for sales inquiries and customer service along with conversations and needs to be monitored like email. Top brands like Nike, American Express, Samsung, and Dell are finding that customers are posing questions on Facebook and Twitter and they expect fast answers.
When a customer is unhappy, the faster a company responds to them the quicker the situation is diffused. Assigning a staff member to monitor the news feeds will ensure a fast response.
#2: Point the Way
Social media plays an important role for inbound marketing — bringing prospects and customers to your website. Maintain a regular presence on Twitter (2-3 tweets/day), Facebook (at least one post per day) and LinkedIn (participate in at least one discussion and post one update per day).
This activity will keep your prospects and customers informed about any developments like new hires, new products, satisfied customers etc. at your company. It will also serve to direct them to your website when they have need of your products or services. If you have products or services that vary greatly, you may want to consider establishing separate accounts for them in order to reach target markets more efficiently.
#3: Can We Share?
If you get a customer that sends an email or gives kudos to your company verbally, ask them if you can share their success stories on your website and in social media. Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are the new coffee, beauty and barber shops when it comes to sharing recommendations and information about companies and products. If you can get an entire community online (like Mommy bloggers or techies) to tout your company, that's even better.
#4: Be the One They Want
Consumers are often narrowing down their incoming information. At first it was email, now it is social media. When they notice that their news feed is filling up with corporate messages vs. the ones from their friends, on a bad day, they may unfollow or unlike your page. Companies have got to offer compelling reasons for consumers to continue to receive their messages. If your blog offers solid how-tos or your emails contain valuable discounts, customers will continue to find you relevant and keep you in their feed.
#5: Be Original
The brilliant-beyond-measure minds at Google are constantly striving to make the internet better for all of us, and that means those in charge of content marketing have to also constantly strive to keep up with their changes. But one requisite remains the same: Be Original.
Constantly repurposing someone else's content will not get you the gold stars of original from Google and in fact could harm you. It's okay to acknowledge a good train of thought or concept, but wrap it in a post or tweet with your own thoughts and ideas.
#6: Recognize and Give Thanks
One of the best things that social media can do is recognize and thank your audience. It's fast, easy and goes a long way toward ensuring audience loyalty. People will remember that your company is the one that recognized their comment or thanked them for the mention.
Managing a strong social media marketing plan can be challenging, but worth it in the end. Need assistance in creating a plan or more hands on deck to run your program? Contact SmartBug Media. Our social media marketing experts align tailored campaigns with your goal so you can achieve a high, lasting ROI.
What has been your biggest challenge in managing social media marketing?