There’s really no excuse – go where your customers are and engage: become a customer company. If you do, the benefits will be extensive – increased customer satisfaction, keeping tabs on the competition, marketing your latest product that could go viral, a more productive and efficient mobile sales force. Below are some great examples of Do’s and Don’ts.
To get inspired, I attend the Sweden Social Web Camp on the provincial island of Tjärö every year, to understand what goes on in the creative minds of those dominating the social media scene. It’s worth visiting their website to understand what social means in terms of branding, collaboration, and innovation.
Before I’ll give you my tips on how to create a social media strategy, let’s take a look at your toolbox:
Facebook: On Facebook you can reach consumers of all demographics and it is a powerful and effective tool with all of its 500 million users globally. When your business profile is up and running and Facebook users become fans of your page, they get automatic newsfeeds or other updates from your company. Facebook is also a great multiplier because you will reach the network of your fans and their networks. But be aware – things can go wrong: One horrific example of a company who messed up with their Facebook Page and didn’t quite understand how to have a functional dialog with their customers is Amy’s Baking Company. But that should not stop you – learn from the mistakes of others: it’s still crucial to have a proper dialog with your Facebook fans. So take a look at Oreo’s or the Danish TV broadcaster YouSee. They have worked out a perfect strategy for their business and know how to keep their fans pleased. For YouSee, it’s all about trust and transparency – another important element of becoming a customer company.
Facebook has ranked the 20 best brands on the social network for 2013. Have a look and be inspired!
Twitter: Twitter can be used in different ways. You can have a dialog with customers and prospect, tweet about product launches and campaign as well as using Twitter in customer service. But if you start to tweet once a day and have built up a follower base you can’t just stop without losing your followers’ interest. There are other traps you also have to stay away from. In 2012 McDonalds asked their followers to share their #MCDStories. For a company with a large amount of both pleased and unpleased customers, this was a fatal idea. To see how brands successfully have used Twitter, take a look at this infographic.
Twitter really is an incredible tool for making announcements or promotions and profiling your heroes. And with tools such as Salesforce for Twitter from the AppExchange, it’s also possible to capture leads directly from Twitter.
YouTube: One of the most effective ways for your message to be shared in social media is by using visual material. It’s one of the most engaging ways to make your content “viral”. YouTube, with nearly 80 percent of the online video market, is an effective tool for businesses who for example want to share product demos, Webinars and training materials. Take a look at Salesforce on YouTube to see how we are using the channel.
LinkedIn: LinkedIn is a professional networking tool to connect with prospects, clients and other professionals both within and outside of your industry. You can create groups which individuals can join to participate in discussions and to connect with other customers. It is a great place to post job listings and corporate news as well as promote events to your most interested users. Take a look at our group: Growth Through Innovation Nordics on LinkedIn.
Build your social media strategy in 8 steps
- Choose a community manager – He or she will serve as your point person for all social media and collaboration activities and be the company’s official voice on social media sites.
- Create a steering committee – In addition to the community manager, define other stakeholders in your social media strategy to create a cross-functional steering committee that includes public relations, product management, customer support and marketing.
- Define objectives – What do you hope to achieve with your social media campaign? Each tool offers different benefits, so define very specific objectives and then choose the tools that can help you get there.
- Decide on success metrics – The true impact of social media can be hard to measure. However, many social media sites offer fairly robust analytics so as part of your plan, decide what metrics are important, set your goals, and determine how to track results.
- Set up social media guidelines – Encourage your employees to take part in your social media campaigns. But be sure to set up guidelines that specify the “do’s” and “don’ts” of participating in online communities.
- Create easy-to-remember URLs –With most social media tools, you can select a personalized URL which makes it easier for customers and prospects to access your links. So when setting up a Facebook or Twitter account, make sure the URLs are a natural extension of your business Web site. Great examples here from the Nordic countries includes Telia’s Danish Facebook Page or the Swedish startup Buildor.se or adding value like the road help and security company Falck in Denmark.
- Be active – Not responding to posted messages has the potential to not just damage your social media programs, but your company as well. So update your content and respond regularly to keep it fresh and to interact with your users.
- Be flexible – Review and revise your social media plan regularly to keep up with and make the most out of all the new tools and functionalities that are introduced all the time.
And if you’re still wondering if you even need to be in social media, take a look at this: