Thursday, June 13, 2013

Social Media gets a really bad rap for inviting negative customer feedback—it’s like one of those kids who say exactly what they’re thinking because they haven’t learned the skill of politely refraining. They may be a bit rude, but those kids speak the truth. Maybe if we listened to them we’d have less lipstick on our teeth and less toilet paper on our shoes.

This is like the relationship between businesses and social media. People can say what they want on social media and that’s a little scary, especially when you’re trying to market a product or service. But this is how I see it: there’s no better way to show your customers that you care about what they think, then by engaging with them on a platform they use everyday.

And boy, do they use it. The latest Nielsen’s Social Media Report says that Americans spent a combined average of 121 billion minutes per month on social media in 2012.

For me, that’s proof enough. Publicity, exposure, and advertising, all wrapped-up in one neat little wall post—why wouldn’t your business participate in social media?

For the PR guys, the ones left cleaning-up the mess after the tornado hits, that answer is simple: You can’t control what people say.

And that’s the glory of social media. No…You can’t put words into people’s mouths, but you can control who you’re talking to and thus gauge their response. Facebook might not be right for your company, but maybe LinkedIn is. Every platform speaks to a different kind of consumer. It is helpful to examine who your clients are, what they expect from you, and then you can decide how to deliver information to them.

You can’t be scared of social media. It’s adaptable, flexible, and interactive. Your business fits in there somewhere.

The key to doing it right is in the planning. Don’t slap a tweet on your feed and call it a day. Just like writing a press release, that tweet needs a purpose, it needs crafting, and it needs follow-up. Not everyone is going to favorite your tweet, but you might gain a few more followers.

As the old adage goes; nothing ventured, nothing gained!