Social media and marketing,perfect marriage

16 Nov

Last week I was talking about how to use social media to promote a music band’s work, but truth is that social media can be used for almost every purpose, ranging from just entertaining to more “serious” stuff like marketing, advertising and enterprise promoting in general. Although I have to confess that I was quite new to the idea of big enterprises using Facebook and/or Twitter and/or Google Plus to undertake promotion and customer service tasks until this very day!

What striked me the most is that most enterprises started to see the potential in using Social Networks to expand their presence and to connect with the users and consumers as early as 2006. “Connecting” is the key word here, as enterprises have always been envisaged as stone-faced emporiums who didn’t care about the consumers: they just put products on the street and made people buy them using traditional advertising. Sometimes they were even seen like a kind of “big wall” against which consumers had to fight when they had problems with their products as customer services usually suck.

But now the trend has changed. Most brands are seeking for a more personal, one-to-one approach to their users/consumers both for promotion of their products and also for customer service via Facebook or Twitter. To take some examples in the audio world, it’s interesting to see that in the last 2 years these groups of enterprises have created accounts in Twitter:

  • Leading brands of audio products (from consumer to professional ones)
  • Recording studios
  • Recording and mixing magazines
  • Record companies of all kinds
  • Audio engineers and producers

And, almost all of them are posting regularly and establishing a back and forth enterprise-user conversation (questions and answers) via the “Followed-follower” link. I have tried them all myself in my Twitter account and it’s quite useful to be updated on new products, promotions and tutorials by audio products manufacturers as well as interesting reviews and articles by audio and music magazines. I have learned lots of tricks and joined quite a few live video tutorials by Waves Audio thanks to their tweets, for example.

So, social networks are great for promoting products and taking enterprises to the next level of engagement with the client that is expected from them nowadays, but I’ve found some pitfalls to this new approach that I’d like to state one by one.

Enterprises CEO’s should stop releasing official statements from their companies and interacting more personally with the audience

Why should they? While it’s true that we are not what our enterprise is, CEOs and Presidents are also free of sharing their points of view with other people… or not, given the case. In most of the cases, this is not relevant to the company’s activity as even though the CEO is an avid blogger and social network user, if the company doesn’t embrace the efficient usage of these tools it’s not going to have any effect in the profits or potential users they could reach. So in my opinion, we shouldn’t cite it as one of the ways that Social Media changes business.

It pays for companies to pay attention to the one-on-one customer relationships forged via social media

Seriously: does anyone think that the company will take care of each one of the complains or doubts posted via Twitter? No way, even when they hire people just to keep their Twitter account updated. It’s impossible, as the users are too many to deal with personally but as long as they can answer at least 5 % of their clients it’ll be good enough. Complains and such still are a long way from being managed via social media properly, so for now the usual means of dealing with them is (and will) be the same: an automatic machine and some phone operators that might or not be ready to help us.

Goal […] should no longer be to create a very controlled and polished image that everyone in a company tries to reinforce.

So before social media came to light companies used to put a strap on employees telling them not to talk to people about their jobs there? I don’t think so. Of course, there will always be pissed off employees who will talk bad about their company because they don’t feel that their work is valued or because they happen to have a bad boss. Or a combination of the previous ones. Anyway, you can’t stop that from happening and you can’t stop them from expressing their opinions freely. And of course, enterprises are not going the best road by paying people to write wonders about them in social networks neither. So, employees opinions can ruin an enterprise? It depends on the size of it, but it doesn’t seem so easy. Either way, enterprises are unlikely to have a controlled and polished image as people’s free will is now the same as it was before.

We are now in the age of open communication, engaged dialogue, and transparency, and business success may now have less to do with the size of ad budgets, but on the quality of interactions with customers.

Yeah, right. But if we want to engage fully into social media we should assign a budget to it as well, as it is a time consuming task that requires lots of time, creativity and of course, people who work at it exclusively as we can see in the job offer in this link.

Wrapping it up, social media promotion is a great way of reaching more people than before, people that might not be in the same country as us. But we also have to be careful to be fooled by trends and just join the “social media” buzz without even knowing its risks and downfalls.

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