Social-MediaA conversation is occurring everyday between you and your customers, whether you are aware of it or not. How is your company managing that conversation? Are you taking part in the crucial conversations, or are you so out of touch with your customers that you don’t even realize they are happening?

If your business isn’t using social media, you probably fall into the latter category.

Social media is more than a marketing tool; it is a tool designed to help attune your company to the conversations that are occurring all around you. With social media, you have the chance to not only listen in on those conversations, but to join in as well.

How your company takes advantage of the opportunities social media presents is up to you, but we’d like to highlight a few crucial areas that, when utilizing social media, can be transformed through the implementation of a social media strategy.

  1. Brand Marketing
    This is the most obvious use for social media – marketing. This puts your brand in front of consumers and allows them to experience your brand before they even make an initial connection with your company. Brand marketing, however, is more than just product promotion. It is constant interaction with your “followers” so they see you, hear you, and know you are there… without being inundated with “sales” tactics.
  2. Customer Support
    Using social media to feed customer support is smart, yet most companies don’t do it. Traditionally customer support was viewed as a cost center, but smart companies are now using social media to offset their support costs. By strategically placing a few people in the realm of social media to handle customer support, companies are saving themselves time, money, and customer frustration.
  3. Public Relations
    Social media platforms reach well over 350 million people each and every day. This provides companies with numerous opportunities to reach a larger audience with their message. It is one of the most direct PR tools out there, and the impact of using it for PR are far-reaching.
  4. Market Research
    Curious to see how well a product will perform? Interested to learn how a certain demographic or age group will respond? Test it out on social media first. Social media websites provide companies with amble opportunities to test the waters before releasing new products and analyze the response after the release. Smart companies don’t just use social media for interaction; they use it to study their audience and adjust their strategy accordingly.
  5. Promotion
    Have you ever run a sales promotion only to be severely disappointed in the lack of turnout? Try moving that promotion to social media. With just a single share from one of your followers, you can increase the audience you reach by tenfold.
  6. Education
    Are you interested in helping consumers learn more about your product or industry? Consider using social media to foster training sessions or share educational articles. Social media doesn’t have to be used solely for self-promotion; share anything that is interesting that may benefit your consumer.
  7. Sales
    If your sales personnel are not using social media to identify new market opportunities, you are missing the target. There are new opportunities on social media everyday – you just have to look for them. Consider implementing social media use into your sales strategy and measure its impact.
  8. Customer Relationship Management
    Ultimately, social media is a tool used to develop and foster relationships with your customers. Over time, you will notice customers taking to social media to express contentment (or frustration) with your products and services. Respond accordingly. Foster the relationship. We promise, you will see growth in your relationships.

How are you currently using social media to build your business or foster customer relationships? Share your thoughts in the comments – we’d love to get your take on this topic!