In the words of Roxane Divol, David Edelman, and Hugo Sarrazin of McKinsey Quarterly ,
“Social Media remains wrapped in an enigma for business executives, particularly non-marketers”.
As a matter of fact, Social media remains “enigmatic” for many small business owners, self-employed individuals, and marketing executives, along with many large businesses.
It’s not surprising as to why tapping into social media for businesses remains a mystery. Businesses look for sales, cash flow, and ultimately profits while building brand in due course of time. Social Media is not a channel that facilitates direct sales like a shopping store, mall, or even a mail catalogue.
The vagueness around social media stems from the fact that it’s “social”. It’s all about doing business while casual banter occurs. It’s about pushing the right pitch, at the right time, when conversations happen naturally. Social media is where consumer behavior comes alive, in action, and ready to engage with businesses as never before.
Putting it as simply as we can, here are a few ways you can use social media for the benefit of your business:
Social Media demands what businesses don’t want to do
If a business just wants to “sell”, social media would surely disappoint. You’ll see some random lead generation but it’s far from sustainable. Social media demands pure engagement between you and your customer. Just as two friends meet and discuss anything but business, your “business” has to take this approach with the world waiting to engage. For long businesses have merely pushed to sell wares. Today, social media demands a “pull” approach. It’s no wonder then most marketers and businesses can’t get their hands wrapped around social media.
Social Media creates hype, buzz, and spreads the word
Mathew E.May – author of Laws of Subtraction – refers to how Grasshopper, a virtual phone system for businesses built up business purely based on buzz. He defines buzz as a tangled mishmash of PR, Word-of-mouth, and guerilla marketing. Social media uniquely stands as the perfect medium for creating buzz. GM’s Ford Fiesta campaign got at least 7 million views on Youtube with 50,000 requests about more information on the vehicle leading to a smashing sale of more than 10,000 cars within 6 days of launch.
SouthWest Airlines is incredibly social with nearly 3.5 million actively engaged people on its Twitter and Facebook accounts combined. The University of San Francisco has some more interesting information: Starbucks’s saw more than 1 million footfalls when it launched “free pasty day” on Twitter while it saw the best of brainstorming when it launched “My Starbucks Idea” on Twitter.
Social Media is instant feedback and surveys on steroids, on a global scale
Sending fresh college interns out on the streets for feedback, large market research projects, and even online surveys are all passé. Today, social media – collectively speaking for all sorts of online communities and channels – provides the best form of feedback a business can ask for: unsolicited and unfettered. Can businesses handle that? Can you get priceless insights from your customers about your products and services?
You bet. Customers speak out their minds fearlessly and relentlessly. What’s this worth to your business?
Social Media can do what traditional media can never hope to achieve. As businesses, our job is to monitor conversations, respond to feedback while gaining insights from it, and develop relationships.
Do you tap into social media as well as you should?