Social media is the buzzword these days. Every company, big or small wants to do social media. Most of them figure out that it’s easy to get in and jump on it, but most of them don’t have strategy behind it. That’s why most companies don’t succeed and think that social media is just the buzzword. Thereafter, they convince themselves that social media is not for their business or industry and anyway, it is not worth investing. Dead wrong!
As I have said earlier, there isn’t a business on planet, which has nothing to gain from social media. Indeed, some businesses develop a business model around social media such as Mashable, Foursquare, Yelp, Involver, Physchster etc. It is needless to mention that there are hundreds of such companies. While all of them may not have everything different to offer, social media definitely has something to contribute to your business. If handled well, it may have a long term and strategic impact on your business. A good example of social media being used as strategic and long term initiative is Wholefoods Market.
Social media is not an alternative to email marketing or TV advertising or trade show marketing or any other marketing or branding activity. Social media should be used to complement these activities. Email marketing is not dead.
Let us take a look at a hypothetical company that makes a Facebook Fan Page for it product/service, out of excitement (although that should be rare!). What happens when a company launches say a Facebook fan page?
Many things, both good and bad occur. Social media is neither easy nor quick. It takes time. The nature of response from people certainly depends on the company’s overall health and consumers’ perception of its products. Creating a Facebook fan page for a product is nothing less than asking the target audience about what they have to say about you publicly (if they find you, that is!). It may be rewarding but also dangerous.
A “multilogue” starts on the fan page that you may not have under full control. For instance, you may observe following activities:
1) People may use this as a quick platform to criticize a customer service experience
2) Users may post product improvement recommendations that carry high cost and are slow to implement
3) Fans may ask you for special discount
4) Some disappointed users will make derogatory comments
5) Some may recommend the product to others
6) Users will post their experience with the product, even when they are unsolicited
7) Some enthusiasts may post links, pictures and videos
8) Some may invite you to join other association
9) Competition will thoroughly research what people have to say about your product
10) New people inquiring about your
11) Can you think of more? I am sure you can!
Overall, as we can see, people converse about what they chose. This multilogue can be between any of the following:
1) Company conversing with existing customers
2) Company conversing with prospective customers
3) Existing customer talking to existing customers
4) Existing customers talking to prospective customers
1 and 2 are totally in company’s control. 3 and 4 are totally out of company’s control. But 1 strongly influences 3 and 4.
Did your company launch a Facebook Fan page recently? Are you about to launch one?
Are you ready for the multilogue?
If not, it is better to think of the implications of these conversations on your business. Because once you post something on the internet, you never know who sees it!