Social media has completely revolutionized the way we communicate as well as the way we do business together. Prior to social media’s not so subtle takeover of the world, brands did all the talking. The internet provided an excellent platform to showcase content for consumers to read, watch, and of course purchase, now however, the customers of today no longer wish to be talked at. They want to be involved, they want to converse, and above all, they want to be engaged.
Ah, that elusive buzzword. In today’s hyperlinked world of information overload, telling a compelling story, and actually engaging your target audience is no longer a nice extra, but is actually imperative to the survival of your brand. But what if your company does not naturally lend itself to engagement?
What if you work in what is perceived as a boring industry, and sell a product like say printed business checks or cardboard boxes? Sure, it fulfills a need, brings value to its users, and does all of that like a boss, but it just doesn’t lend itself well to be pin, tweet, or like worthy. Are you doomed to be left out chewing heavily on a product that is all steak and no sizzle while your friends cash in on the wonderful opportunities social media presents?
Fear not. There’s room for everyone on this social media bandwagon, and with the right frame of mind every company can engage with its customer base.
1) Value Sells
While not the most exciting of products, business checks and cardboard boxes certainly come with sizzle. The sizzle in this case is the benefit the user derives. Perhaps you can save your clients loads of cash by offering a significantly cheaper product. Or maybe you deliver more efficiently and can save your clients a ton of time. It may even be your stellar customer service that completely knocks your client’s socks off. Identifying your differentiating factors and then tooting them to the customer can make for a very engaging social media presence. It’s not about you, but about the consumer, so make sure you effectively answer the question ‘What is in it for me?’ for them.
2) Be an Expert
You built your business up from scratch, literally betting your bottom dollar on it, and give it nothing less than your heart and soul. In fact, it has even come to the point, where as unsexy as it is, cardboard boxes excite you. If asked you can launch into an hour long speech that includes 15 surprising uses and many unknown features of the rather humble cardboard box.
This can only mean one thing: YOU’RE AN EXPERT! Go ahead and share that knowledge. Your customers bought your product, so they can certainly benefit from your expertise and tips. But don’t talk completely in legalese – be down to earth, human, and above of all, helpful.
3) Answer Questions (Quickly!)
As the expert with all the answers, make sure your social media profiles are a platform where customers can ask questions, inquire about their orders, and speak up whenever they need to. We live in a fast paced world, and studies have found that 42% of questioners expect to receive a response via social media within 60 minutes of the attempt to contact so be sure you are vigilant about monitoring those channels. When done right, social media can be an opportunity to razzle and dazzle ‘em with real time customer service
While social media may have revolutionized the way we communicate, the same old school rules of marketing still apply. When you ask yourself ‘what value proposition am I offering your customers?’ you will be right on target to creating an engaged and involved customer base that is eager to buy more and help your business grow.
Carol Peirce is a recently graduated marketing major that has yet to be snapped up by Apple, Starbucks, or Vogue. But she does have the pleasure of zapping a bit of life into some otherwise rather boring companies. And she enjoys the challenge. If you work in the HR department of Apple, Starbucks, or some other really exciting company, she can be reached at Cpeirce2@gmail.com.