How Can Social Media Help My Business?

I am on the hunt for ideas on how we can use this new gateway (Social Media) to our customers.

Once you get Social Media is all about engaging your customers and fostering your brand, the next question is how can you use it in your business?  Here are some ideas:

Listening: the first step in the Social Media world is to look and listen to what people are saying about you and your business. Likewise; what is going on in your competitor’s world?

Crowdsourcing: finding and attracting customers and brand enthusiasts.

To date it seems most start with encouraging participation with discounts and offers. Check out “Dell Outlet” where they shift end of line products, I heard a rumour that “Dell Outlet” is coming to the Australia – New Zealand market. Air New Zealand is experimenting with “air points fairy” and “four square koru”.

Crowdsourcing – attracting customers is the most common desire from SME’s. Don’t forget that this world is about community and involvement rather than just push – broadcast marketing.

Market intelligence: Product design and review

Engage your customers in your product design prioritisation or concept filtering. Dell has used this extensively with “idea storm”. For start-ups and emerging companies this is an ideal way to keep your early adopters in the loop.
Telstra have used social media to get customers to review new products. In a recent handset launch they were swarmed with people wanting to review their new handset. The good news is the customer reviews, good and bad, come across more credible than traditional journalist review.

Thought Leadership: Being the conduit of information, Blogs are a good place for this, weather you create your own or participate in market influencers Blogs. This is a great option if you have a small customer set that you want to safe harbour i.e keep them loyal to you. Engage them in discussion about your area of speciality.

Advertising: Facebook provides an opportunity to do some targeted demographic and interest based advertising. SaleFinder have used it to attract new subscribers to their web based business.
Breaking information silos:For larger companies – organisations particularly government funded organisations, that are extremely risk adverse it may at the first step an opportunity to simply engage with staff, perhaps internal only to start with. Breaking down silos of information internally may be an interim win. I personally would love to see government departments engaging with their stakeholders (their tax payer clients) and beginning dialogues.

Follower’s vs Activists: Don’t confuse numbers’s with quality conversations. Engaged dialogue with a small number of clients may be better than thousands of dumb followers.

Andy Lark recently made a blog post to this effect: CONVERTING FOLLOWERS TO ACTIVISTS
One last word of caution, remember Social Media is a dialogue not broadcast, and be clear on how it fits within your strategy.

I would love to hear how you are using or planning on using Social Media in your business.


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