When considering social media marketing and public relations for the promotion of your business, some myths come up often. Here are a few of them:
People will criticize us if we allow ourselves to be vulnerable to comments
Yes, people might criticize. In truth, if a company has angry or dissatisfied customers, they won’t wait until the electronic forum for their opinions has been set up. They are already communicating their dissatisfaction and they have many ways in which to communicate their dissatisfaction with your company faster.
Companies have traditionally feared negative content posted online because bad news travel fast and most businesses do not know how to deal with online criticism. If customers have the means to communicate their opinions on your site about some aspect of your company, at least you will have access to the information, which makes you understand their thinking.
You won’t be able to control the information (and opinions) that are posted; however, you can control whether or not the information is displayed on your site. On a positive note, companies learn from customer feedback. The feedback provides insight into how the companies can improve their approach to how they treat their customers, consider their needs, and ultimately, satisfy the customers so that they buy more products and keep returning.
I want my customers and prospective customers to find me
You need to figure out where your customers spend their time on the social networks. Where do they prefer to go when it comes to discovering, absorbing, and sharing information? How do your customers spend their time at those social media networks? The answers to those questions should help you to understand the social media networks that you should start connecting with.
Some simple ways for you to discover what your customers and prospective customers are doing on the social networks include:
- Participation—search, get recommendations, and follow links to and join social applications. It is worth the effort that you will make. There is no better way to learn about a community than to be actively involved with that community.
- Social Media Monitoring—there are several keyword-based tools for monitoring that can give insight into the discussions that customers are having on a particular topic of interest, for example, which media they are using and on which social channels.
- Logging existing traffic and behaviors to your website from social media sites. Contact whoever monitors website reporting in your company and ask them to create an ongoing report that segments social media-sourced traffic that is already visiting your company website.
- Surveys of your existing customers—sometimes, the best answers are the simplest ones. If you want to know more about your customers’ social media preferences, ask them.
- Referencing or obtaining demographic information supplied by social media sites that offer advertising. There may be a discussion about how useful the information offered by Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn, YouTube, and other social network sites that offer advertising is, but at a high level, it can offer useful information.
I need entry-level staff to accomplish this
Social media, as a whole, is a novelty to many companies and is often thought of as something for the younger generation. Corporate social participation may be time-consuming and tedious work, depending on the size of the company, the goals of the company, and the level of social activity of its customers. A portion of the work is appropriate for entry-level staff and if there is deep user experience with specific services, there is valuable insight to be gained. It is very important to think about assigning the appropriate task to the person with the appropriate level of experience. Certain aspects of social media have strategic and tactical roles and many of the activities need to be driven by people with a great deal of experience and knowledge regarding Customer Service, Marketing, Public Relations, Sales, Talent Acquisition, and Legal.
Is an entry-level staff the best choice to represent the face of a company? Sometimes, but only with extremely careful consideration and selection. While you, as the business owner, may ask yourself if you are justified in paying the high salary of a senior person for a community manager role, the question to consider is, “Who is best qualified to represent your brand?”
Measuring the return on investment (ROI) from social media
How do you measure the ROI from public relations, community involvement, attending industry events, focus groups, or recruiting? What is the worth of a relationship with a customer? Or with an industry analyst, journalist, or blogger who writes about your company?
Social media participation achieves many positive results for a business. The important thing with measuring social media ROI is to identify specific goals, build a strategy, and execute either a full program or a pilot with the ability to measure outcomes. Those results have value and the goals and measurement aspect is the first step.
If a social media effort is focused on connecting with influentials in an industry, a social media marketing campaign might include social connections, comments, mentions, links, stories, and other contributed content. One goal for such campaign could be to achieve 10-15 unsolicited mentions of a company or key staff by industry blogs, publications or influentials each month.
An example of Facebook marketing can be setting up a company page with useful info and discussion, promoting it to attract fans and then providing special promotions with incentives requiring the fans to subscribe to email lists or coupons that have specific codes on them. Measuring ROI from commerce situation like this should be trivial and measuring the outcomes that influence sales become the social media ROI measurement.
For more information on Social Media Marketing, visit us at CompuKol Communications and read our blog articles.
About the Author.
Michael Cohn is the founder and Chief Technology Officer (CTO) of CompuKol Communications LLC. He has over 25 years of experience in IT and web technologies.
Mr. Cohn founded CompuKol Communications to help small businesses and entrepreneurs increase their exposure and reputation on the Internet. CompuKol consults, creates, and implements communication strategies for small businesses to monopolize their markets with a unique business voice, vision, and visibility.
Prior to that, Mr. Cohn spent a significant amount of time at a major telecommunications company, where his main focus was on initiating and leading synergy efforts across all business units by dramatically improving efficiency, online collaboration, and the company’s Intranet capabilities, which accelerated gains in business productivity. His expertise includes social media marketing strategies; internet marketing; web presence design; business analysis; project management; management of global cross-matrix teams; systems engineering and analysis, architecture, prototyping and integration; technology evaluation and assessment; systems development; performance evaluation; and management of off-shore development.
Mr. Cohn earned a Master’s degree in project management from George Washington University in Washington, DC; and a Master’s degree in computer science and a Bachelor of Science degree in electrical engineering from Fairleigh Dickinson University in Teaneck, NJ.
Mr. Cohn is a member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE).