Staying in Touch on Social Media

The question isn't whether to be on social media, but how to use social media to track brand comments, engage customers or snoop on competitors.There are credible reasons to steer clear of social media. But there is one compelling and overriding reason to participate — to listen to what your customers and fans are saying about you.

You can have different strategies for listening:

  • Track brand comments

  • Respond to customer complaints

  • Engage your audience

  • See what your competitors are doing

Tracking comments on social media is the simplest and very often a revealing strategy. It requires learning enough about social media so you know where to listen and watch for relevant comments. This is a great way to dip you toe in the water to see how social media works or gain insight into consumer perspectives and industry trends

While monitoring comments can be informative, responding to complaints lodged online can preserve a customer and enhance a reputation. Companies have found quick, sympathetic and personalized responses build trust and bolster a brand. Converting a critic into a zealot is probably the most cost-effective marketing on earth.

Online engagement can attract new audiences and spark revised interest in your product or service by existing customers. Instead of shouting your message through paid media, social media allows you to lure audiences toward you using clever contests, content sharing or invitations to special events. Making people feel like insiders can make you look like a genius.

It never hurts to see what your competitors are up to. You can expect they are checking up on you. If a competitor is attracting a lot of interest — and business — with a new product or promotion, it might be a cue to you to come up something comparable or better.

Organizations asking whether they should be on social media really should ask, "Are people talking about us and shouldn't we know what they are saying?" Then the answer becomes obvious.

Real energy should go into determining your social media strategy — and making sure that strategy is consistent with and complements your overall communications and marketing strategy.