media is an entirely new way of relating to consumers and prospect while increasing business.
Now most small businesses don’t have the resources to build a social media command center in order to listen to what customers and prospects are saying on social networks, but there are a number of ways even the smallest of companies can leverage social and mobile technologies to create opportunities to more meaningfully connect with customers. But in many ways the technology is not the main determining factor of how successful companies will be utilizing social media to build better relationships with customers. No, tools are very user friendly and free to use, but the real issue is the culture of the business itself.
Customers have changed in a number of ways in a relatively short period of time. Mobile devices, social networks, and ubiquitous broadband access has empowered them to communicate with thousands of people in the blink of an eye. They can create and share information with a few clicks. So technology has changed our behavior, our activities and our expectations in basically all aspects of life – including our role as customers. And customers expect a lot more from people they do business with in this new socially engaged world.
Those business that opt for a strategic approach to leveraging social media must take a more holistic view of how it can impact business, internal collaboration, and relationships with their customers. These business must have a cultural transformation that embraces technology and social media as the new way of doing business in the Web2.0 connected world of the 21st Century. Let’s take a quick look at some of the functions a strategic social media plan has for the small business.
Your Business: Is anyone talking about your business? If so, what are they saying? If people are not talking about your business online what does that say about your brand awareness? If they are, you’ll want to know if it’s positive, negative , or neutral, as all of those things will frame your approach implementing a social media strategy.
Your Industry: Unveil the general industry conversations for your organization. It’s not
about you, but how you fit into the larger profile of your industry on the social web.
Your Competitors: The social web has opened up a wealth of competitive data. For your
known competition, see if they have an established presence in social media. Observe
the campaigns and promotions they’re doing and how the audience is responding. Having
your competitors beating you to the starting line can be a powerful motivator to get started
yourself, or show your colleagues why now is the time to start listening and putting together a plan.
Competitor Intelligence: Are people are talking online about your competition. Who they are hiring, who has recently left and where the competition is missing the boat – which presents all sorts of opportunities for you. Social can pinpoint emerging crises or buzz that you might want to be aware of for your own purposes.
Business Takeaway: the same unfiltered, fast-moving and open information that’s out there about your competitors, is out there about your business. the days when your company controlled its brand are over. The Internet has shifted the balance of power to the consumer. You can’t prevent anyone from talking about your brand publicly, but your business can choose to join the conversation.