If I don’t understand why something needs doing, why I’m being asked to undertake something, or why I’m being advised to do A instead of B – I want to know why. This means I naturally appreciate and encourage “questioners” in my line of work.
As a consultant, I spend a great deal of time advising people that they might want to do XYZ to help their business. What I love, is when their hunger to really understand the reason for that suggested direction means they question me for the purpose and ultimate goal behind the tactic.
The one “why” I seem to get most often these days, is newbie marketing clients asking just exactly why there’s any sense in “wasting” time and energy on updates and dialogue via social media.
What I’m continually challenged to justify is why hours spent on online communication is effective in the building of their business – as opposed to time spent producing widgets / seeing customers / dealing with staff / making the budgets stack up.
The truth is, social media activity was never meant to replace those activities, and never will. What it provides, however, is far-reaching engagement opportunity, a domain to continually court opinion and provide great customer service, an ability to promote and brand-boost in an “always on” capacity, and superb active traffic to help your more “static” website presence.
Here’s a handful of reasons why, if you haven’t already, you should be embracing social media:
Portray a voice and personality
Social media enables you to really radiate a persona and reach your target audience in a way that is more than a bland company dictation. You can get in to the emotions of empathy and understanding in a way that other PR communication doesn’t always allow.
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- How to handle the parents that have hijacked social media
- How Ford’s social media policy and strategy helped it become a digital pioneer
- The role of social media in the employment market
Customer service levels rise
These days, savvy shoppers will increasingly wonder what the level of service your company can provide – and they’ll start to look for that in how the brand is being portrayed and interacted with on social media. You have the opportunity to be proactive in your social media usage, but also to very quickly steer back on track any potential “issues”.
A real understanding of those you serve
While you think you may understand who’s interested in your product or service, how those people use it, what they like about it, and what they hate – social media gives you that insight in more accurate clarity.
You’ll see exactly the kinds of people who “follow” or “friend” you and what’s led them on the journey to your door.
It’s a journalist’s tool
Don’t underestimate how much journalists are now using social media as an opportunity to find reputable and authentic brands who they can turn to for “voice of authority” opportunities.
Engaging on social media in circles relevant to your geography or industry will mean you are more likely to come to the attention of media types who may then require your time and comment.
It serves your content marketing efforts
We all know we should be saying more online in terms of blog posts and the like, but what’s the point in writing content which doesn’t then get read and distributed. Social media allows you to broadcast more of what you’re doing when you’re doing it – so it’s always promoting your brand.
Your website traffic will improve
Without question, good interaction on social media has great potential to drive traffic to your website, and thus do you all sorts of favours in respect of SEO. If you’re conversational on social media and linking to your site, Google will end up favouring you and your rankings should naturally improve in turn.
Deborah Watson is an award-winning PR and marketing consultant who founded the communications agency Lexia Media.
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