As we learned this week businesses are moving away from “transactions” and focusing more on building relationships. Social media is obviously helping with this transition. While, social media can help with transactions or conversions, it really is boosting businesses to build brand awareness and preference. This can ultimately help any business, small or big, succeed in today’s digital world.
There are some differences between how businesses use classic marketing tactics and how they utilize social media marketing, as referenced in the below chart.
While many of these aspects can work for both classic and social media marketing, I think two now lend themselves more toward social media platforms.
The first being “communication with customer.” Social media has really opened up conversations between businesses and customers. Communication is now rarely just two-ways, such as through a phone call. Now other customers can weigh in on conversations, monitor conversations, and learn from conversations without ever being truly involved. Even when a conversation begins in a negative tone, an open dialogue can show not only that one upset customer a better point-of-view, but also other customers viewing the conversation. Below is an example from my employer’s Facebook page. The interesting thing to note about this post, is we’re not even sure if this person is one of our patients (customers) or if he is just a member of our community. Either way, it doesn’t matter. One of our facilities shouldn’t have a tattered American flag flying outside of it. We should have caught this before someone had to bring it to our attention via social media. But nevertheless it did happen, and because we are on social media we were able to address it and fix the problem. We hope that this “fan” was pleased with the resolution and the other users who saw the conversation were pleased with our response and the ultimate resolution. Who knows if this person would have taken the time to call us and let us know about the situation. Would he have gotten in touch with the right person? Would it have been resolved in a timely matter? Who really knows. But chances are because we have a presence on social media, the issue was brought to our attention in a timely and easy manner. And it was resolved faster than it may have been otherwise.
We’ve also learned a lot about creating the right voice for a brand or business. And I think “language” also benefits from a marketing standpoint when it comes to social media. Businesses are able to have a genuine dialogue with consumers and build a more personal relationship, which is what people are looking for on social media. I think many people are now turned off by typical “marketing language” and want to feel like they are connecting with real people, rather than having stuff sold to them all the time.
Within my organization, we make a point to respond to everyone who comments or posts on one of our social networks. We want our customers, or potential customers, to realize we are listening and we are ready to engage with them when they need something. In one of our most recent promotions for a cooking demonstration, one of our Facebook fans asked us to think about offering the cooking classes at a later time, so more people could attend.
This is a great idea. I responded shortly after the user posted and not only thanked them for their feedback, but made sure they knew we would consider such an idea in the future. Our dialogue was very conversational, while still being professional. Yet, we make an effort on all our social media networks to be more personal. We always address users by their names, thank them for their input (whether positive or negative) and respond in a truthful and accurate way. Social media gives us the opportunity to have this dialogue, something classic marketing would not.
While I feel classic marketing tactics are still useful in many situations, and often times can work side by side with newer, different social media tactics, I do think developing more personal relationships and ongoing conversations with consumers are better served in a social media marketing world.