Social media is not a strategy, but a tool or enabler of an overall communications strategy. It is essentially one of many channels that can be included in a digital marketing strategy. Successful companies align their social communication channels with business goals and integrate social media into all of their marketing programs.
Social media is quite often less expensive than advertising, and in some respects far superior when looking at it from potential amplification and sharing of content and key messages. Good content undoubtedly spreads like wildflowers!
When someone receives a recommendation of a product or service from a friend or colleague, the brand value of that offering rises substantially. Social media is simply another form of word-of-mouth which leverages the strong network effect of digital channels.
Social media enables two-way conversations which historically were not possible with the one way megaphone shouting out of traditional “buy from me” or interruption types of advertising. Greater customer feedback is now possible and savvy organizations embrace the good and the bad with enhanced customer responsiveness. Customers can and now want to be heard more than ever.
Social media should not remain the exclusive domain of marketing, but be embraced across the organization. Benefits can include enhanced collaboration, increased departmental efficiency, improved customer service, cost reductions and business growth. Organizational cultures can undergo incredible transformation with a new, revitalized orientation towards customer relationship management.
This is the real beauty of social media as the main conduit of customer relationship building. It can be one of the drivers in moving a prospect towards conversion and keeping that person as a customer for years to come.
We are also witnessing the proliferation of corporate blogs. A blog is a wonderful vehicle for telling a brand story and is important for promoting a business, product or service. Blogs build authority and credibility for companies, elicit customer feedback and drive website traffic. Blogs are cornerstones of building thought leadership.
It is difficult to measure the “true ROI” of social media. There have been countless articles and blog posts written on this subject. But at the end of the day, or should I say at the end of the sales funnel, social media helps create brand advocates.
Advocacy leads to trust, which leads to more buyers, which leads to brand community. Imagine the possibilities when the majority of your customers talk about your company and products. What are they saying now?