Somedays it may seem that everyone is now using social media to reach out to their customers or potential customers. Are you? You may feel that there is opportunity for you, or are not sure what that opportunity may be.
The first question when thinking about beginning a social media initiative is the same as any other marketing initiative. What are the goals or desired outcomes of the initiative? Are they to drive new business, improve existing customer relations, build brand equity, improve the stock price or garner customer feedback? Remember that “all of the above” is not a good answer.
Social media marketing differs, however, from classical marketing in one important aspect: relationships. While classical marketing was, more often than not, about pushing messaging out and hoping it attracted customers, modern marketing is more about creating relationships. So when we think of classical marketing, we think of magazine or TV adverts, response coupons, brochures or email blasts. Whilst these may be targeted, they are all one way.
Relationship building, on the other hand, is all about have a conversation and building trust. It’s that trust that make you the place to go when a customer needs something. You become part of the customer’s network of trusted advisors that they can then recommend to other parts of their network.
So the key question when beginning a social media initiative is: how do I build trustworthy relationships?
There is no straightforward answer to that, no rules that can be simply applied to build trust. Each interaction with a human being will be different and how they build trust will be different too. What’s abundantly clear, however, is that using social media to push out messaging in a classical marketing sense will lead to limited results and underplay the potential of the network.