While media platforms have always been used to attract public attention, it’s undeniable that social media has substantially increased the ability to drive publicity. This is great when it comes to desired communication like marketing content or positive messaging. But the problem arises when there is negative or controversial news that businesses would prefer to minimise. Many brands think that the best solution would be to avoid social media altogether. However, a lack of social media presence is not the answer. In fact, it’s likely to be a detrimental choice in the case of negative public fallout. If you are terrified of negative feedback on social media, read on to find out how you can turn a scary scenario into an opportunity.
Lack of Social Media Presence: Business Risks
Even if you are terrified of negative feedback on social media, not having an account does not prevent online commentary. It is actually likely to make things worse for a brand should unwanted publicity occur. Here’s why:
- The conversation happens whether or not you are there: if people want to talk about a brand, the discussion will take place regardless of whether or not social media pages for the brand exist. A brand can trend as a hashtag without having their own active social media accounts. Therefore, avoiding social media does not avert a possible scandal or bad publicity.
- Limited ability to respond: not having an established social media presence limits a business’s ability to respond should the need arise. Social media provides a way to communicate quickly and to reach large audiences. A brand without social media accounts will be at a disadvantage to every other online entity commenting on a matter due to a lack of infrastructure and existing audience.
- No crisis management plan or process: while no one wants to think about their business being in the spotlight for the wrong reasons, the reality is that it’s always a possibility. The difference between experiencing or avoiding major brand damage lies in being prepared. Having a crisis management system that includes internal processes, a social media response plan and contact list of advisers (legal, PR, HR, social media experts etc) is imperative.
- Prevention is better than a cure: the best way to protect brand reputation is to have a well-managed social media presence. Experienced social media planning and management aims at mitigating risk on an ongoing basis. This includes the content posted, responses to customers and other communication. And should an unforeseen issue arise, the impact will be minimised as well through the use of a specialist social media agency.
Social Media Risk Mitigation & Effective Management
The key to a positive social media presence lies in doing it properly. Platforms and activities should be managed by a team equipped with the necessary knowledge-based skills. In addition to publishing content in line with social media best practices and business objectives, great customer experience is vital. Customer service has to be responsive, agile and solution-based. When used effectively, feedback (both negative and positive) offer the following benefits:
Opportunity for improvement: Patterns in terms of negative feedback reveal areas that need immediate attention. Taking corrective action results in an improved service offering.
Opportunity to shine: The way that negative feedback or a complaint is handled can have a major impact on customer perception. Impressing an unhappy client by resolving a matter excellently is likely to turn that person into a satisfied ambassador singing praises about the brand.
Research & Business Development: Feedback provides valuable insight into consumer preferences and behaviour. By analysing the correct social media data, businesses can base future plans accordingly, thus maximising success potential and promoting positive business growth.
In a consumer environment fuelled by social media and public commentary, the importance of an online presence is inescapable. The “ostrich” approach (head buried in the sand, ignoring reality) just does not work for businesses. Avoiding social media does not reduce the chance of trending online for all the wrong reasons. It just reduces the brand’s ability to respond. You should not be terrified of negative feedback on social media. The real solution lies in having strategies in place to mitigate potential risk, as well as to effectively manage the situation should a crisis occur. If an organisation does not have the required resources, its best to call in the experts. Either way, effective management of feedback and activities can contribute to valuable business growth and positive brand affinity.
As part of our service offering, Social Media 101 are able to consult with your business with regard to implementing tools and process for crisis management and risk mitigation. Get in touch to find out more. CLICK HERE to contact Social Media 101
Social media success – does your business have what it takes? Let’s say you need a new accountant or sales manager for your business. You shortlist candidates based on experience, skills and knowledge specific to the position in question. You then choose the best person based on your criteria as well as their proven ability for such a role. Great! Now let’s say you need someone to manage your social media. Do you research and select employees with the same level of scrutiny and detail? Is your business aware of what selection criteria to consider for a social media manager? How would one even measure competency for this role?
For most companies, the ability to perform basic social media tasks such as uploading posts and replying to messages would seem sufficient when hiring. Worse still, many companies assign their social media management to in-house staff members that are not qualified for the role. In our book, this is not just unfortunate, but also decidedly risky. Here’s why:
Risks of not hiring the right team to manage your social media
The risks of leaving your social media management to a junior or non-skilled employee are many and can have serious consequences. These are just some of the problems that occur:
Although seemingly simple, social media is a science and entails a steep, on-going learning curve. Yes, most of us are capable of populating and managing our personal social media pages. However, it is not quite the same when handling a business page or brand online. The impact of a business’s social media presence is far reaching, and involves company staff, clients and stakeholders. Pages should be managed with a great level of maturity, power and responsibility on behalf of the brand. Furthermore, this field is evolving at a rapid pace. Most social media platforms themselves are striving to keep abreast of their own advances to ensure user safety and online integrity. And social media managers need to stay on top of these changes. An effective social media manager needs to have impeccable business acumen, a hunger to constantly learn and upskill, as well as high EQ and risk mitigation abilities in order to protect the brand’s best interest.
Content published via social media (including replies to comments) has the potential of enormous reach, regardless of your page’s audience size. Usually such viral reach occurs in response to something negative or controversial and could even result in a crisis. This power lies with your community manager, so think carefully about who is placed in charge of this impactful public touchpoint. Aside from an actual crisis, a poor quality or poorly handled social media account leads to a negative portrayal of the business. It may even cause serious brand damage. Companies spend large amounts of money on impressive traditional advertising, yet all efforts could be undone by a low quality social media presence. The role of brand sentiment and perception is huge when it comes to consumer decision-making, and should not be taken lightly.
Social media should be used strategically to drive organisational objectives. It is a business tool that provides return on investment when used effectively. Simply putting out posts without any clear strategy does not offer much benefit to the business. It becomes an inefficient use of funds and resources. However, when used correctly, time and money spent on social media becomes an investment that offers tangible business value and boosts growth.
Components for a successful social media presence
To ensure a successful social media presence that offers real business value, you need the following:
- Strategic content planning & execution
- Content (images, videos and text) created by skilled designers & copywriters with in-depth knowledge of social media platforms, rules, specifications, algorithms etc.
- Posts that are both aesthetically pleasing & are structured around customer-centric principles
- Excellent audience targeting
- High quality, responsive community management
- Ability to meet agility & adaptability demands
- Skills to generate, analyse & understand the data behind the platforms
- Keeping abreast of technological advancements & industry trends
- Apps/tools to manage & report on different aspects of activities & campaigns
Practical solution for social media success
Major or global brands have the resources to employ the team needed to achieve all aspects mentioned above. However, most companies lack the resources to hire staff to fulfill all their social media needs. The cost of employing the different specialists required becomes too excessive to be a practical option for many. But yet, a high quality social media presence is becoming increasingly imperative in the current competitive market. The solution is to outsource this function to a social media specialist agency. By doing so, you get the benefit of an entire team, with each person an expert in their specific social media function. You get a digital strategist, community manager & data analyst. You also get designers and copywriters that specialise in creating content for social media. In addition, other needs such as live event coverage, videography, animation, social media legal advice and more form part of the service offering. That’s a great deal – as I’m sure you’ll agree.
If you are ready to take your social media presence to the next level, get in touch with Social Media 101. We provide custom solutions to suit your specific business needs. CLICK HERE to contact Social Media.
Are you unknowingly hurting your brand on social media?
How agile is your marketing strategy?
Some hail social media as the greatest business and marketing tool of all time. Yet others view it as a frivolous concept that has no place in business. Why are there such vastly different opinions when it comes to social media? The answer lies in how different businesses use their social media platforms. Those who use social media effectively as part of their business strategy realise the ROI offered by social media. Others are understandably sceptical – after all, incorrect use of social media is likely to provide limited benefits and questionable returns.
Let’s start with this question – what does YOUR social media do for you? Does it drive sales, or any other primary business goal? Does it provide returns? Do you even get reports so that you can assess the performance of your online activities? If your answer to any of these questions is “no”, you are not alone. On a survey done with business marketing managers regarding their social media:
- Only 20% are referring to the data & using it to measure the performance of their activities
- 36% know that it has a positive impact (qualitatively), but are unable to quantify the benefit in terms of actual numbers
- A whopping 44% have been unable to measure its impact at all
(Statistics courtesy of www.mgadvertising.com)
Social media offers a wealth of benefits for business, and can be used for/to:
- Driving sales (online & instore), as well as generating sales leads
- Building brand awareness & affinity
- As a client-centric customer service point
- Consumer research & audience insight
- Marketing, advertising & promotions as a versatile platform that supports multiple media & messaging types
- Target core market segments with little or no wastage on irrelevant consumer sectors
- Source of accurate statistical data & reporting that can be used to measure returns
…and much more. In fact, social media can be used to promote almost any business objective. BUT only when used correctly.
The components of an effective, social media presence that generates returns include:
- A result-driven, strategic social media plan for all activities, in accordance with business objectives
- Designers & copywriters skilled at creating content for social media. This includes written copy & images that are not only visually appealing, but in line with each platform’s best practices & algorithms
- Targeted content sent to audience segments relevant to the brand
- Platforms & conversations handled by people experienced in both customer service & social media community management
- A social media presence that is agile, responsive & adaptable
- Analysis of business-relevant reports & data to measure the performance of social media activities
- Investing in qualified & experience social media specialists
Accessing the tangible business benefits including ROI offered by social media lies in having an experienced team managing all activities. This includes strategy, content creation, posting, audience targeting and managing the conversation. Unfortunately, most businesses leave this crucial task to unqualified employees. Others hire junior social media staff that lack the necessary skill and experience. Many companies simply don’t have the resources required to employ a team that fulfills all the needs of a high quality social media presence. The solution is to outsource this function to social media specialists. After all, if you want your car repaired, you take it to someone who knows the inner workings of cars, and how to fix them. Taking it to an unskilled person is likely to cause more damage to your vehicle. Well, the same goes for social media. Poorly handled social media activities could cause damage to your brand in the long run.
Should your business require assistance when it comes to tapping into the ROI offered by social media, contact industry experts Social Media 101. We can provide valuable advice and a health audit on your current social media accounts. We also offer custom solutions to meet your business’s social media needs.
CLICK HERE to contact Social Media 101
What is the function of social media when it comes to business? If you answered, “it’s an advertising platform”, you are right….. and wrong. While one key role is marketing, social media is actually equipped to underpin the complete customer journey. In this article, we are going to look at these functions when it comes to sales in particular. Below is an outline of how social media can support your entire sales funnel.
Social Media & Sales Funnel Functions
While specific sales steps vary from business to business, we look at the main considerations that form part of a basic sales funnel:
Social media plays a crucial role when it comes to marketing, but it should not be used as an “online billboard”. Instead, it should be used to educate and inform the audience. Examples are showcasing unique selling points or providing valuable information through article content.
As both the number of consumers and time spent on social media platforms are increasing exponentially, it is the obvious choice when it comes to brand awareness. But it’s not just the sheer audience reach that makes it so powerful for business. It’s the ability to target your core demographic – to an impressive extent. In addition to audience-based targeting, you can also customise your campaign to suit your primary campaign or business objective(s).
Targeted advertising means that your brand is placed in front of selected audiences on their devices (cell phone, tablet, computer) when they are next active on the platform. Which means that you don’t have to rely on the client finding you themselves (via an online search, for example) – you find THEM. How’s that for brand awareness generation?
Stat: 52% of survey respondents had discovered a new retail product on Facebook that they were interested in buying, rising to 78% in the 18-34 year group. (blog.hootsuite.com)
Social media is excellently suited to drive interest in products and services through the type of content published. It allows for displaying aspects of the business that traditional media isn’t able to. This includes real-time updates (e.g. promoting lunch-time special specifically at lunch time), social responsibility projects, online articles, tips and advice. It also supports different media types including images, text and video content that can be used interchangeably and even combined. This keeps the recipient interested and engaged – two key elements to attract and retain audiences.
Well crafted, high-quality content leads to improved brand affinity. Businesses are able to show their “character” and what they are all about. This makes them more personable, and marketing messages sent are likely to be received more favourable. An important factor to remember is that content should be customer-centric. People are interested in brands that are interested in them. And strategic content does just this, while also maintaining brand objectives. Win-win for everyone.
Stat: Today, 67% of the buyer’s journey is now done digitally. And decision makers consume at least 5 pieces of content before engaging with a sales rep. (www.superoffice.com)
Social media is where consumers interact with their friends and family, as well as brands. Many decisions are influenced by the content they are exposed to. This includes actual marketing messages from businesses, as well as what other people are saying about a brand.
The multi-step approach of social media (educate, inform, market) plays a major role when it comes to impacting decision-making. Even in-store purchases are influenced by posts seen on social media first. Customer service via social media also promotes sales as potential clients can get quick, personal feedback to questions or concerns (e.g. stockists, specifications, use etc).
Consistent useful, relevant, well-structured content can position the brand as a thought-leader or trusted advisor in their industry. The use of employee advocacy and social media influencers can also be pivotal in brand positioning. Online influencers, including a brand’s own clients and fans, are forms of word-of-mouth marketing that guide purchasing decisions. Along with great customer service, having excellent content and social media endorsers also contribute to total customer experience.
Stat: 57% of consumers say social media influences their shopping, led by Facebook at 44%. (www.wordstream.com)
And…. action! The above strategies all come together to persuade the user to take action. Social media has built-in options for different call-to-actions. These include driving online-based activities like promoting website traffic or direct purchases, as well as influencing offline actions like in-store visits. CTA messaging also can be customised to suit each businesses’ sales objectives.
Stat: Facebook is the preferred social platform of supermarket shoppers—89% use (www.wordstream.com)
And for those of you who think this is not for you because you have human sales consultants, think again. Social media can also be used for lead generation as well. Different strategies can be employed dependent on your business objectives and market, resulting in high-quality, up-to-date leads that your sales team can use to close the deal.
The best part is that social media provides accurate statistics that provide insight into the performance of activities. This includes actual social media stats (e.g. online conversions), as well as linking a business’s sales figures to social media activities to gauge purchase decision attribution. It gives you a snapshot of which activities result in the highest sales, providing insight for future activities.
Stat: Social media is fast becoming the go-to channel for sales people to find new prospects and reach their sales targets. In fact, 90% of top performing sales people now use social media as part of their sales strategy. (business.linkedin.com)
Social media has the tools, functionality, versatility and ability to support all phases of your sales cycle. When implemented correctly, it has the potential to increase sales results and return on investment. If you do not have the required expertise and resources within your business, consider consulting a social media specialist. It is worth the investment if the result is improved sales figures. Especially since social media strategists don’t just focus on once-off purchases, but on long-term relationships required for customer retention and repeat business.
After all, when it comes to business success, the bottom line is….. well, the bottom line.
Want to give your sales figures a boost? Make the call – contact Social Media 101 now. CLICK HERE to get in touch