By, John J. Fanning
Everywhere I go it seems, people want to talk about Social Media. These days every entrepreneur and corporate manager is interested in having a presence on social media but many just don’t know where to begin. Sometimes, I encounter clients who appear frantic, thinking that every moment they delay in having a page on Facebook or LinkedIn, they are losing business.
Social media is a relatively new and exciting way to market your business and I believe every business should consider investing the time and energy required to create and maintain a social media site. But I also think that a business should only venture into social media if they have the resources to follow through once their page is created.
While having a vibrant social media presence is definitely a plus for any business, not having one is not necessarily a negative. Most businesses don’t engage in social media and chances are slim that a client or customer will care if they don’t find you on Facebook or LinkedIn – so long as you do have a website. What is a negative is creating social media pages and then not maintaining them. Like dormant websites, a neglected social media site conveys the message that you are no longer around, don’t care about your public appearance or can’t afford the upkeep of your site.
The first thing I tell any client who asks about social media is that it requires a commitment and if you don’t have the time or money necessary to keep your site up and vibrant, then don’t invest in social media. The real power of social media comes when someone “friends” your page or “likes” your page. Once they do, they will receive notifications whenever you put a new post on your page or share something you discover on the Internet. Being able to stay connected and engaged with your customers is powerful marketing that builds brand loyalty and boosts sales. But all of that relies on you furnishing relevant and timely information to your readers.
The second thing I tell a client interested in social media is that it is ninety percent listening and ten percent speaking. If you are not listening to what your competition is saying on social media or what your customers are saying about your service and products, then you are overlooking the most valuable aspect of social media. Competitive Intelligence is about knowing everything you can about your competition. Your competitors use the Internet and social media to keep tabs on you and if you aren’t keeping tabs on them, you can be left completely in the dark.
Listening to social media also means learning what your customers think of your products or service. If a customer felt their experience with your business was negative, they are far more likely to take to social media and complain about it than they are to complain directly to you or one of your employees. Every business should be on the lookout for comments related to their business. Every business should also be prepared to rapidly respond to complaints or compliments posted on line. Readers of social media posts rarely view more than the first few responses to any post. If you are not within the first five responses to a post, the likelihood that your response will ever be seen is slim.
Fanning Communications utilizes a proprietary system called Aditus to determine the relevancy of keywords and phrases we detect from all social media sites. Twenty-four hours a day we monitor the Internet, reading each post placed on public social media sites. When we detect a post related to one of our clients, we immediately engage the poster in order to thank them for a positive post or resolve any problem or gripe mentioned in a negative post. Keeping complaints from going viral and promoting good customer service on behalf of our clients is an essential ingredient in effective social media marketing.
Whether it be creating a social media presence, keeping your website or social media pages up to date with fresh, relevant content or engaging and resolving negative social media posts, our team is there for you both around the clock and around the world.
We are Fanning Communications, and this is what we do.