Social networks is a great tool for promoting your brand.
But you can do way more than that with social media.
Here are five ways to use social media you might be overlooking
1. Make a Splash in the Newspapers (Public Relations)
Want to make a splash in the media? Getting your business featured in a news story no longer means writing press releases and pushing them out to journalists.
Instead, you can just share your news on social media.
As PR expert Maggie Patterson explains:
Journalists rely on Facebook to source stories and Facebook itself actively promotes the platform as a “Rolodex” with 1 billion contacts for reporters.
Where your company may have relied on a press release in the past, you can now share your story on Facebook. It provides a low-friction way to report the facts in the case of breaking news or to provide comment on emerging issues that will help get your story to the media and your public faster.
To give the news you share extra oomph!, it’s worth building up relationships with journalists on social media. That way, you can point them to your story when you’ve got something you want them to see. Here’s our primer on finding journalists.
2. Find Out What Your Customers Think (Market Research)
To be effective in business, you need to know your customers. You need to know their likes and dislikes, their wants and needs, their pressing problems.
You also need to know how people view your brand, and get opinions on what you could do to improve your products and develop new products.
Getting this information requires market research. Just a decade ago market research was an expensive endeavor. You had to set up online surveys, or send out researchers to interview your target customers.
Social media completely changes that. As long as you know who your customers are, you can tap into their thoughts and feelings using social media.
You can use social media to:
- Monitor what your customers are talking about, so you know their everyday concerns and passions.
- Ask questions directly to your customers.
- Listen to what people are saying about your brand.
- Learn the language of your customers, so you can write better copy.
3. Keep Your Customers Happy (Customer Service)
Did you know that nearly three quarters (72%) of customers who make a complaint to a business on Twitter expect to receive a response in under 60 minutes? That’s according to research by Lithium Technologies.
If you’re not monitoring what people are saying about your brand on social media – and responding to complaints – then you’re contributing to the negative image of your brand.
As Anthony Leaper explains over on Forbes:
Irritated Customers have supportive Friends. They may have a few; they may have thousands. The dangerous fact, though, is this: it almost does not matter how many friends they really have. A single Facebook post that describes a jaw-dropping failure on the part of your company may, if stupefying enough or if told in a funny or snarky manner, be repeated, retweeted, “liked,” and “shared” innumerable times.
For an example of this, check out Ryanair’s middle gimp debacle. That’s exactly what Leaper is talking about.
By contrast, if you’re willing to help your customers online, they’ll respond in kind by recommending your brand to their friends and family.
If you can discover and address an Irritated Customer’s concerns quickly and effectively, then you have a singular opportunity to convert an Irritated Customer into a Delighted Customer. Their delight, particularly if seen by many in the social media world, may move thousands of people into the column of potential customers who are now predisposed to consider your services—when they may have been on the fence before.
4. Uncover Your Business Persona (Brand Development)
Social media is all about building relationships with your customers.
That means you’ve got to be relatable.
Social media isn’t the place for corporate stuffiness. Act standoffish to your followers, and they’ll give you the cold shoulder in return.
Jeff Mancini, director of digital strategy at Interbrand, says people see brands they love in the same way they see friends.
In a Forbes interview, Mancini said:
We feel for brands similarly to the way we feel for friends. The reason we advocate brands in our lives are the reasons we advocate friends in our lives. That is, we genuinely like them.
Making friends with your customers means you must develop a brand persona. Social media is the perfect opportunity to do this. Don’t worry if you’ve not got it all sorted when you start out on social networks. You’ll discover your voice through talking with your customers.
If you need a bit of extra help developing your brand’s person, check out our 72 questions to help you uncover your brand’s persona.
5. Create a Vision Board (Strategic Planning)
Do you yawn when you hear the words “strategic planning” or “business plan”?
Developing a business strategy can be an incredibly dry process. But it doesn’t have to be.
Why not start out by creating a vision board of where you’d like to take your business?
Pinterest is the perfect tool for this. It gives you access to millions of stunning images, and allows you to group them into pinboards.
You can even create several vision pinboards, covering whatever aspects of your business you want them to. Here are some examples to get you started:
- What you want to do for your customers
- The types of products you want to sell
- The mission and vision of your business
- Your business’s ethos and values
- The lifestyle you want to have while running your business
Over to You
What are some of the more unusual ways you use social media in your business?