It’s not just a trendy phrase been thrown around a lot, it is now an essential commercial instrument.
A recent survey showed that, globally, 40% of people trust social media and 58% trust online search engines as their source of news. According to the same survey, a mere 18% of people believe that a CEO would tell the truth, no matter how unpopular that would be.
Globally there is an issue of trust, people don’t trust CEOs and politicians anymore – especially in light of the likes of the horse meat and BBC Jimmy Saville scandals. There is a global distrust of authority figures – when 16 people were asked what would help build trust with a company, the top four answers were related to engagement.
Nowadays, companies need to have an online community in order to build trust with consumers. The public now require corporations to be totally transparent, in order to feel a complete connection with them.
Social media is basically free publicity – in fact, it is regarded as the new press release. It plays a huge part in linking all of a business’ communication platforms and boosts existing marketing efforts. Having social media pages will also often increase your search engine rankings.
There are approximately 1.2 billion Facebook users worldwide and your company is bound to be targeting at least one of them. Social media allows you to get a unique insight into your customer and also communicate with potential customers. Reading your demographic and gauging the response to your business will help you develop a marketing plan and KPIs moving forward. A social media channel also gives your customers a voice and an easy outlet in order to communicate with you.
Monitor the status and progress of your business with social media – read commendations, suggestions and criticisms of your company and take them on board. In detrimental circumstances, social media allows you to put something out there immediately, which could be the thing that keeps your reputation intact.
All sound too good to be true? Well, the world is not going to come knocking as soon as you set up a Twitter page, it takes time and care to make it work. Before you dive in head-first build a strategy because – as the saying goes – fail to plan, plan to fail. Look at the social media pages of your local competitors and monitor the trends within your industry – ultimately, you need to give people a reason to like, follow or connect with you.
Above all, the key to social media is maintenance. Even if you get all the other stuff right, this is the thing you need to focus on the most. Social media can actually be more damaging to you if it is not maintained properly, because it will reflect poorly on your business. A page that hasn't been touched for a month makes your company look unresponsive, uninterested and simply ‘uncool’, which devalues your brand altogether.