The social media is an unlimited source of knowledge about people, their habits, expectations, and needs. With such a store of knowledge about customers, it would be a marketing sin not to take this opportunity and appear in the social media with one’s brand. But how do we do it exactly so as to actually encourage customers instead of driving them away?
The social media give brands a great opportunity to win customers, but also pose a risk. In a channel based on content shared within the network of closer and more distant friends, aggressive advertising and false brand identity will quickly be spotted and the brand itself rejected. A lack of the right approach of the company communicating in the social media may lead to an image crisis, which can do a lot of damage in a channel of rapidly spreading information. This is why it is worth communicating in a well-though-out manner, particularly when we are looking for potential customers in the social media.
The consumer in the social media
The purchase process of the 21st-century consumer has long since left the space of a traditional store. Currently, people search for information about the products, their prices and properties, as well as help choosing the right solution online. Thanks to the social media, they can not only ask for their friends’ opinions, but also contact the given manufacturer or service provider in order to obtain more information. Moreover, they can be sure that their enquiry will not be ignored.
It is the fastest, and at the same time the most convenient channel of communication and thus chosen so readily. Customers expect a swift response from the brand. They want their problem solved quickly and via the given communication channel, without the need to select a different place where customer service can be provided. The sooner the brand begins the dialogue and the issue at hand is solved, the better. No response, tardiness or improper customer service may cause the customer’s dissatisfaction, negatively impacting brand image. It is worth remembering that in the social media, opinions of dissatisfied customers have disproportionately broader reach than product recommendations.
Promote values and you will sell
The social media is not a poster pillar, although brands often treat it as one. Special offers chase sales and discounts. Facebook News Feeds are flooded with adverts, obscuring valuable content. And it is hard not to be irritated here, as the social media is supposed to be about dialogue, not advertising.
This is what customers expect – a conversation. They want to establish a relationship with the brand. They want to receive useful content, ideally – perfectly suited to their needs. These do not necessarily need to be sales quotations and product information, as they will quickly stop being noticed. What to write about, then? Anything that applies to the customer. Brands should not be afraid of lifestyle content and that conveying deeper values. It is also worth responding to daily dilemmas, particularly those related to product use, service, and care. As experts in their industries, brands have the opportunity to publish unique content, and this type of content is valued most in the social network.
Social media – what to choose?
The popularity of the given social media channel cannot always be the right selection criterion for the given brand. Before creating the account, it is worth considering several things. Firstly, the purpose. The selection of tools and channels via which to reach the customers should always be conditioned by the ultimate goal. What do we want to achieve initiating communication in the social media? What do we want to say to our customers?
Secondly, the target group. Answering the question of who the customers are, we will easily find out where to find them. It is a good idea to look at groups of consumers of the given medium and based on this, decide whether it is worth communicating within these groups. We should not be guided by the type of material we have. Video content may bring way better results on Facebook than YouTube, especially if our customers are people aged 25+, who are not avid YouTube users.
Thirdly, observation. The world of social media is evolving very dynamically, constantly adjusting to the users’ needs. An ideal example of this is Facebook, which regularly tests new solutions, introduces new advertising formats, and changes the appearance and functionality of the platform itself. Customers are also changing, expecting more and more original ways of communication from brands.
By: Justyna Kowalczyk