The Benefits of Social Media Done Right

13 May

Last week we wrote about common misconceptions and difficulties companies face when starting a social media campaign, and if one were to only read that post it might seem like we’re anti-social-media.  We’re actually very pro-social media – as long as it’s done right.

When done correctly, social media can be an extremely effective promotional channel, and it even offers unique uses that reach far beyond the scope of traditional advertising.

(Note: most of the benefits listed below are dependent on the existence of a healthy social community)

Personal Referrals 

Hearing about a great new product from a friend is much more likely to make you go try it out than seeing an ad on TV.  If your fans are actively involved with you, and become invested in your brand, word will get out to their friends.  The end result: you get extremely effective referrals.

In a similar manner, as you build relationships with your audience, YOUR suggestions and promotions can become personal referrals.  As you invest time and effort into getting to know them, your suggestions begin to carry more weight.

Use it, don’t abuse it.  Too much self-promotion will do more than just ruin the relationships you’ve worked so hard to build; it will scare others off and keep them from engaging your brand in the future.

Increase Visibility

Social media posting can increase the online visibility of your brand, through link generation and simply by having another site to promote the brand.  Google includes links shared on Facebook and Twitter to determine their site rankings, which means that posting the occasional link to your website can boost your search engine ranking, and help generate inbound traffic.

Market Research

This is one of the most valuable and commonly overlooked benefits that social media has to offer.  When you have engaged your target audience and formed relationships with your followers, you can conduct free market research simply by asking them questions you’d like to know the answers to.

For example, if you want to see how your new T-shirt design will be received, simply post a picture of it and ask your followers what they think.  They will be excited to be offered such an “insider preview” and will gladly offer their thoughts and opinions.  A great example of this is Mend Mark’s Facebook page (who incidentally was a client of ours!).

Customer Service

As we mentioned last week, people follow brands on social media in a large part because they want to form a relationship with the people behind the brand.  This concept may sound foreign, but it’s actually nothing new.  How many times have you seen someone call a support line and yell “I just want to talk to a real person!” into the phone?

That’s because as human beings, we want to deal with other human beings.

Starbucks Coffee's fantastic customer service in action!

We don’t want an impersonal, automated

response to our problems. Social media allows you to monitor what people are saying about your brand, and respond to them in real time.  An awesome example of this is Starbucks Coffee’s Twitter page. 

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