Social media interaction can mean different things to businesses. Some choose to use the platform for customer service and to announce news. Others want to focus on things like: building brand loyalty, networking, getting feedback, or deepening relationships. While the ultimate (social marketing) goal is to do more business, it is not about directly selling a product or service.
Whatever focus the business chooses, it is all about engagement: online conversations with people who are interested in some way about the product or service the business represents. What is important is to learn how to communicate with people inside the places they hang out online.
From Twitter to Facebook or youtube, to bookmarking communities or industry specific groups, there are many places to find prospective customers. The key point to understand is that social media is about being social, engaging in conversation, and providing value.
Today, people want to find more information about products and services they are considering to buy because there is more of it available to access than ever before. They want to talk to other people in social sites they belong to about products or services they are interested in and get feedback from these people they trust, and they even want to connect directly with company personnel.
All of this is available today because of social media. CEO’s are blogging and have Twitter accounts. Companies have staff participating in conversation in social sites, some all day long. In fact, every day that a company or business does not participate in this new brand of marketing, is another day that their competition, national or local, gets ahead of them.
It is not enough to have a web site. An interactive presence is becoming a requirement. Part of the decision to start a social media system must include a commitment to be active with it. It won’t be effective if it is set up and forgotten.
Social media also includes blogs that are active with new posts and comments. Blogs, and forums also, exist for every market or industry and are great places that businesses can go to engage with people who have similar interests and to use them as a tool to gather a social following for their business.