Are you left dazed and confused?
Recently I attended an event in Birmingham where the guest speaker was a very accomplished presenter, he discussed the use of social networks and how they can be used to promote your business. As I looked around the room a growing number of delegates started to develop the ‘scared rabbit in the headlights look’ on their faces.
This is a common problem, when you get an evangelist discussing social networks, combined with a selective but quite compelling number of statistical facts that would suggest unless you are active 24/7 on a multiple social networks your business will become extinct and probably by tomorrow. Are businesses social and do customers wish to be social?
Just because technology has provided businesses with the opportunity to network with customers, does this then mean all businesses are suited to social network relationship building? Clearly some businesses are, if you are a business to consumer (B2C) product or service provider, establishing and building a relationship is far easier and more desirable through this medium. The opportunities to create a dialogue around an experience (purchasing, service, consumption) are all opportunities for participation and provide the potential to start the process of relationship building and creating brand loyalty. This is more difficult and refined if your business is primarily a business to business (B2B) organisation. The level of value needs to be higher in order for other companies to not only differentiate your service but also engage in the relationship. Partly because of the reduced frequency of the exchange process (although this is not true of all B2B business relationships) Defining meaningful relationships
I would suggest that before you begin the considerable investment in developing your social network marketing strategy you should ask yourself a few simple questions:
- Who are your existing customers?
- What do they value most about your company (product, services, people etc)?
- How can a social network experience reflect / enhance this?
- What part of the sales / relationship pathway does the social network function provide?
- Which social networks best match the target audience and their needs?
- How and who will develop the presence?
- How will this be sustained?
- How will your network grow?
- How will I know if it’s successful?
Alternatively you can buy me a coffee and I will ask you these questions and a few more! – The key point is that by going through a rigorous evaluation process you are more likely to produce a focused social media strategy that provides real value to your business. You will also have a much better perspective on what is working and what value you are deriving from this activity. If you are considering developing or implementing a social marketing strategy give me a call, I’m more then happy to talk through on the phone or visit you for that coffee! Remember - Don’t just do it because you can, do it because you should and it’s right for your business!