5 Tips to Make Social Media Really Work

Time to make social media work for you.

Marketing in social media is good. Well, good is an understatement. Social media is very, very good! But let’s get our assumptions right. First, social media is not free – it takes time, effort, and of course for those who can afford – money. Second, it might not bring you immediate results – just as a placing a TV ad will not bring you an immediate sale. And finally, whatever you do on social media will be only as good as the product or service you offer.

Allow me to put emphasis on this: an excellent social media campaign cannot make up for a lackluster product or service. We are all only as good as our weakest link.

So what does it take to succeed online?  It has a lot to do with listening, being relevant, building relationships, giving great value and being sincere.

Here are tips to make social media work for your business:

1.) Remember You Have 2 Eyes and One Keypad

You can achieve a great deal of success if you listen first. Know what your customers want then find the best way to offer them your product or service. Read and understand before you reply.A few weeks ago, social media was hot on Cebu Pacific Air rants as one of their airplanes overshot the airport runway in Davao, Philippines. How do you think they responded? Or better, how should have their competitors addressed the complaints?
 

2.) Respond and Join Conversations

You would be surprised that not all big brands answer complaints or business inquiries on social media. Not because they don’t want to but they probably don’t have the time because their management has not recognized that this function needs a dedicated team not necessarily within their company.
 
Rule of thumb: Do not delete customer complaints. That sends a wrong message that they don’t matter and you do not value their feedback. Turn it to an advantage. This is a great opportunity to respond publicly to show you care and that you are willing to help provide solutions to their problems. Things are not perfect. Something’s going to go wrong sometime, somewhere. The people just need to know you listen and that you respond – in some cases, apologize.In the Cebu Pacific Air question above, the problem is their inaction and apathy to their passengers. And even if the people handling their social media did apologize to each person who aired a complaint online, they’re handcuffed by how the Cebu Pacific Air management responded on ground.  Again, we are all only as good as our weakest link.
 
If the other airlines were listening to the complaints of the Cebu Pacific Air passengers, they could have responded, opening up an opportunity for future relationships. A simple private message like, “We’re sorry to hear about your experience. We hope you were not hurt during the incident” would have done wonders for them.
 
3.) Be Relevant,  Build Relationships,  No Selling RequiredThe power of social media is in providing social proof. If you need to prioritize, solicit testimonials over creating of ads to sell your products.Nowadays, most buying decisions are made online – not only because of ads people see but also because of peer recommendations. You probably “liked” what you “liked” on Facebook because your friend “liked” it and of course because you probably identify with the post as well.

Stay relevant and engage your customers and potential clients. Talk about them and their needs without necessarily hard selling your product. Be a dependable friend and nurture relationships. You can lead them to your testimonials page and let your already happy customers do the selling for you.

4.) Give Great Value

Promotions and giveaways are good and usually fool proof to drive engagement. While big-ticket items always work, this doesn’t necessarily need to be an expensive effort. Giveaways can also be in a form of exclusive content via PDF downloads or free desktop wallpapers. Promotions on the other hand can feature your own products as prizes.

Social media is all about relationships and the same principles of real life should apply. In a face-to-face conversation, you wouldn’t like it if only one person was talking and expecting you to just take it. So as much as you want to talk about how cool your product is, that won’t necessarily relate with your customers. Keep your customers engaged by providing tips and activities they can resonate with. Remember to seek first to understand, and then to be understood.

5.) Be Sincere

“When pure sincerity forms within, it is outwardly realized in other people’s hearts.” – Lao Tzu

It has been said that to give real service you must add something, which cannot be bought or measured with money, and that is sincerity and integrity.

People clamor for sincerity and sincerity earns trust. When you are real, when you are yourself, that’s the time people will want to do business with you.

Social media is not just a cute thing to have in your marketing mix. With the right strategy, social media can help you achieve your business objectives, drive your message home, and truly engage with your audience.

(Written by Bimbo Cabochan, President & Mastermind of Get Hooked 360, a full-service digital agency with offices in the Philippines and Vietnam. Send him your comments via Twitter: @bimbocabochan)

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