Social Media – When Used Correctly Could Boost Your Brand, But Tread Carefully
Facebook has taken the world by storm and recent rumblings from the blue-screened giant seem to suggest that they are ready to take on Google as the dominant web force – but how is this possible when they do two completely different things?
Well the trick lies in the way Facebook works in that it is a huge recommendation network and people regularly use it to find products and services that are just for them but which have been recommended by others. A recommendation is worth a top slot in Google any day of the week, in fact, it’s probably worth a lot more.
You see, a top slot in Google relies on people trusting Google to do its job right and as we read more about the company, some people are beginning to doubt its intentions. However, if you are recommended something by Facebook it’s a whole different matter because you’re not getting that information from a robot – you’re getting it from a human and we all like humans.
Not only that, we may already know and trust the person that is recommending the particular provider or product or service. That order is then just a click away.
So how can businesses use this to their advantage, if indeed they can at all? Well the answer lies in the fact that being social is an inherently human emotion and therefore it’s built into most of us so it should be easy. Except it’s not. Many people have issues talking to other people and that’s why they went “all IT” in the first place, but if we take a step back and actually engage with our customers and potential customers we can build our business massively.
The key is to listen. Your customers and your potential customers are online right now and they’re chattering about your products (or at least products like them) and so you need to take part in the conversation. Some have tried this and they’ve made an embarrassing mess of it and so here are a few ideas to make sure you don’t make things worse and actually destroy your brand straight away.
• Be humble
Announcing yourself to the world as an expert or professional in the market is a sure way to get yourself ridiculed. People will find a flaw and they will exploit it. The Internet is a cruel place to be sometimes, don’t invite criticism.
• Help people out
Help, help, help. That’s all there is to it. Don’t try to be clever by telling people to sign up or pay for the answer – if you know the answer just give it to them and they’ll trust you more and may even recommend you.
• Don’t try to defend bad service
If you find a forum where people are criticising your product, simply announce who you are and that you want to put things right. If you try to defend your track record or attempt to make excuses or put the blame somewhere else, people will simply round on you and make things worse.
Social media done right can boost your brand and increase your sales, but if you try to use it like any other marketing tool you could find yourself at the wrong end of some very clued-up Internet users!