Second by Second, Social Media Matters
Social media is not only another way to chat with your friends, watch the latest YouTube videos or even just a way to read about current events.
It’s more relevant than all of those things combined, and its impact on businesses can’t be explained in 140 characters or less, like a Twitter update.
The value of social media shouldn’t be underestimated. When used strategically, it can be a driving force behind growing a brand and increasing customer loyalty. It’s all about being in the right place at the right time with the right message.
At the heart of social media is the most effective and free form of advertising, word of mouth. But many companies mistakenly think the most important message is solely pushing products or services online, and fail to engage in conversations with current clients or ideal customers.
Conversations are a crucial part of what makes social media, well social. At your fingertips you have direct access to hundreds- and in some cases thousands or millions- of people who are interested in what you’re doing or saying.
Ignoring the opportunity to engage in those exchanges is a bad social media practice. It potentially drives people away, giving them an opportunity to share their negative experience with all of their fans and/or followers and possibly damaging your company’s reputation.
For example, popular filmmaker and actor Kevin Smith tweeted he’d been kicked off a Southwest Airlines flight for being “too fat” on February 13.
“Dear @SouthwestAir – I know I’m fat, but was Captain Leysath really justified in throwing me off a flight for which I was already seated?”
The airline used tweets and a blog to apologize to Smith, who has more than 1.6 million followers.
Southwest’s blog post, titled “Not So Silent Bob,”used social media to address the situation head-on.
“It is not our customary method of Customer Relations to be so public in how we work through these situations, but with so many people involved in the occurrence, you also should be involved in the solution,” it read.
The airline, which has more than 1 million followers, went on to apologize for Smith’s travel experience.
“As soon as we saw the first Tweet from Mr. Smith, we contacted him personally to apologize for his experience and to address his concerns on both Twitter and with a personal phone call.”
It’s just one example of how powerful social media can be. How quickly messages can spread especially if the conversations aren’t monitored closely and responded to swiftly, though it doesn’t always have to be negative.
Social media also allows you to leverage your company as the industry leader, but you can’t just do it haphazardly. You must have a strategy to establish and implement a plan to communicate regularly with a clear, consistent and unique message.
The key is having a social media planning and content management service that understands your brand and your marketing vision.
The company must be managed by experienced marketing, IT and communications professionals who break through the clutter, keep up with the trends, determine your social marketing objectives and execute the plan seamlessly.