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Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Social Media Savvy - How to Utilize this Tool to Engage with Your Customers

Social media is a powerful tool, allowing companies to engage with their customers and to connect with their peers.  But, that’s only if they use it right. While it’s great that so many companies have jumped on board with social media- launching Twitter accounts, Facebook fan pages, and YouTube sites - too many took their first steps without a plan or a strategy to back them. Therein lies a problem.  

More often than not, marketing executives fail to see social media as a piece of the greater marketing picture.  There is misconception floating out there that social media is its own, individual beast. While, yes, it is still newly emerging, the reality is that social media is but another element of the greater marketing efforts and should be treated as such.

So, before you participate in social media, you must understand what you are working toward. You must plan, implement, and measure social media tactics with the overall marketing goal at the foreground. By looking at social media and marketing holistically, you can get far more out of the campaign.

So, where do you begin?

First off, ask yourself, “What is the overall marketing goal?” Is it increased brand awareness? Brand advocacy? How about attracting new customers? Figure out the end objective first. It is only then that you can sculpt your social media strategy as a means to supporting it. Depending on what this objective is, your social media strategy should be tweaked accordingly. Here’s a brief look at how your social media plan may differ based on your big-picture marketing goal.

Customer Acquisition Goals - If you want attention and recognition, prove yourself relevant. Build brand awareness and establish your credibility by offering advice to potential customers. Monitor traffic to your social media sites and engage with visitors. Your customer engagement efforts can turn one-time-visitors into repeat purchasers. Brand activation can go a long way.

Customer Retention Goals - To keep your customers coming back, you have to keep them happy. Here, customer service is the key. Use social media to support and strengthen your customer service efforts. Create a Twitter account for your support department, for instance. Monitor social media buzz and make sure to quickly follow-up on any potential problems before they turn to major issues.

Whatever your marketing goal may be, use social media as a tool to achieve it. Be sure to track and analyze your efforts just as you would other marketing tactics. By doing social media the right way, you can unlock all of its potential and the payout makes it well worthwhile.   

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