However, it’s a question many c-suite executives chose not to answer. Why? Uncertainty or even fear that to engage in social media from a business standpoint will be more trouble than it’s worth or, worse yet, create problems they thought didn’t exist. Here’s a few ideas or short blue print the next time you find yourself presenting a social media outline and you need buy-in from those at the top – your CEO, department managers, and stakeholders in the marketing and PR departments.
A few statistics about social media:
- 1 Million websites have integrated with Facebook
- 23% of users check Facebook 5 times or more daily
- 56% of customer tweets are being ignored
- 34% of marketers have generated leads on Twitter
- Google’s +1 button is used 5 million times a day
- Over 5 million are uploaded to Instagram every hour
- 80% of Pinterest users are female
- One out of every seven minutes spent online is on Facebook
- 340 million tweets are sent each and every day
- 300 million pictures are uploaded to Facebook every day via Instagram
- 61 percent of LinkedIn members use it as their primary professional networking site
#1. Social Media Matters:
Engaging in social media marketing will allow your company to monitor, respond, amplify and lead. In other words, your company can:
- Know quickly what customers and the competition is saying about your company,
- Engage customers where they are at on social media platforms regarding problems or issues they have with your company,
- Augment and develop all that is good and noteworthy about your company and your brands(s), and
- Raise awareness about your company products with customers at every stage of the decision making process.
#2 The Negative, It’s Already Out There:
Although it can be much easier to hide ones head in the sand or cover ones ears, we all have to face the fact that not everyone likes us or is positive in their comments about us. As such, it’s much more beneficial to your company and even your customers to seek out and engage customers who might be dissatisfied before the problem turns into a nightmare. When the question comes up regarding negative comments or the potential for improper postings by employees, explain the rationale behind creating an auxiliary social media policy which covers all of those concerns and more. This policy will also address who is responsible for engaging customers on behalf of the company (community manager, social media managers, writers of content, etc.), how they will interact with customers and will be approved by not only the human resources department but the legal department.
For many businesses, the initial stages of social media marketing are about listening and gather information – about themselves, their competition and their customers – much of which can be done by the marketing and PR departments. Once target audiences have been identified and the goals and objectives for a social media plan have been established (start small), then a company can begin to look at who will do what. If you are a small business, you may find one person wears many hats. Example: a business owner/manage might also have the role of being a community manager. A general manager or department manager might have the role of being a social media manage. A long-standing, trusted employee might be a content developer and engage customers on social media platforms. The money and time invested in social media, at that stage, will be minimal and platforms such as Hootsuite are there to make customer engagement, monitoring and evaluation easier
#4 KPI, ROI, and Evaluation:
After goals and objectives for your social media strategy have been established, how outcomes will be measured and evaluated must be considered. Key Performance Indicators – number of new likes on the company Facebook page, followers on Twitter, share of a YouTube video, or check-ins on Foursquare can be gathered, analyzed and compared to customers who showed up to an event, used an online coupon or mentioned a deal when calling to inquire about your company’s products or services. Evaluation will indicate whether a particular marketing strategy worked or needs refinement.
With more people joining social media platforms every day, it would be fiscally imprudent for any company to remain isolated from its current customers and the vast number of potential new customers. Concerns regarding the downside of social media are valid and must be addressed but most all can be handled appropriately with thorough monitoring of a company’s online brand presence and a social media policy which covers all areas engagement and potential pitfalls.