Social Media – are you doing it right?

When your tech-phobic grandma has a Facebook page you know that Social Media has an amazing power. What’s particularly interesting is how Social Media is affecting society as a whole, in some small ways and also in major ways. For years we’ve proven to be better at absorbing bite-sized bits of information instead of long-form dissertations.

Most companies have figured this out and adjusted their websites accordingly. But Social Media is where the people are driving the train, and businesses-in-the-know are milking it for all they can. Social Media is a remarkable marketing tool that can give businesses a real handle on what it is that their people want. Whether the business has customers, clients, patients or an audience, a lot can be learned by monitoring your Social Media comments and interaction.

For instance, there’s a popular television show where the host keeps changing his look every 3 to 4 episode; one time he’s wearing club wear, then going for a Rockabilly look, then back to club wear. It would not be surprising at all to find that the decision to switch back was based on Facebook photo “likes” and comments.

On one hand it’s good for everyday people to be heard but tech savvy campaigners know easily enough how to work the system. So are we really hearing the opinions of 4,000 fans, or just a handful of proactive users who have rallied the masses?

The point is it doesn’t matter.

The point is this is how things work right now, and whether you’re an indie musician or a retailer you need to take control of your Social Media campaign, or you will be passed up. It doesn’t even have to be elaborate; a clothing boutique posting a sharp photo with “Sundress 20 bucks” will definitely help get people in the door. But the most bang for your buck stems from engaging your audience by piquing their interest and letting them feel they’re being heard.

Hard Rock’s Memorabilia page on Facebook is a great example of someone doing it right. They know their fans and friends are avid music lovers, so what do they do? Something that is very simple and remarkably effective. Every day or so they post a question. The question could be “Who’s the most over-rated guitarist?” or “Name a band you love to hate” – and the responses come pouring in. But here’s the trick: Hard Rock then takes the time to comment on the responses. And that point is key because rattling off a question and then going MIA makes readers feel used instead of appreciated.

But Hard Rock’s page administrator stays with you and that level of engagement is effective on a number of levels: First off, people are talking about the page, about the collection – which later leads on to talks about Hard Rock’s food, etc. In fact, people are talking so much that it’s also getting people to get off their butt to go see HR’s memorabilia throughout the world. Secondly, it’s giving the collection’s curator (who incidentally manages their page) first-hand knowledge about what his customers are passionate about. That’s the sound of money in the bank, friends.

And it doesn’t even need to be that involved to make a difference to your business, but here’s a piece of advice from someone who occasionally has a real love/hate relationship with Social Media: instead of assigning someone on staff to merely drudge through the Web-based work, give it to someone who really loves the stuff – even if the kid works in the mail room most days. Plunking out a post or tweet because you feel you have to will come off exactly like that. But if you are one of the rare companies that come off as passionate and engaging with their readers … You’ll create a client base that is not only loyal but vocally supportive as well.

It’s a new day in the field of business marketing, so either hop on the Social Media train or lay down on the tracks.

Author Emma Bell writes for Coupon Croc. Use your web-savvy skills to find great deals on fashion by checking out ASOS discount vouchers.  

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