Social media is an increasingly essential aspect of marketing and growing your small business, especially at this point in the development of the digital marketplace.
Social Media has become a faster way to market via “Word of mouth.” Everything about your business – good or bad – travels literally at the speed of light to all your followers and contacts.
It’s never been easier to ruin a reputation in a short space of time. But, it’s also never been easier for good news about your business to “go viral” and send you a substantial number of customers and fans within that same brief time frame.
When perceptions of your company are spread by word of mouth, it’s not information about your product, or service, or features that people are transferring to their friends, family and co-workers. What they talk about is their experience with your company, and what they transfer is how they felt about it.
Your small business can benefit from using social media by making your entire business about creating a rewarding and remarkable experience for your customers. Use social media to magnify that message. Your reputation for providing a meaningful experience for your customers, along with great goods or services, will quickly spread!
Addressing Unhappy Customers
You can also use social media to keep track of customers that are disgruntled. This is especially important, as customers with a complaint are becoming accustomed to being answered quick-smart – on Twitter for example.
“72% of people who complain on Twitter expect a response within an hour.”
There is a growing, specialized niche for Online Reputation Management. Some companies are doing it well, while others are lagging. Be the one that does it well and get ahead of the game, and let your competitors be the ones left behind.
Online Reputation Management includes the deft handling of social media channels to interact and engage with customers, including unhappy ones.
When a customer is unhappy and tells you about it, that’s a fantastic opportunity for your business. They are in effect asking you to help them find a way to keep liking your business despite their poor experience.
In your response to complaining customers, remember that the details are secondary. It’s the feeling they have about an experience with your company that matters to them. You will have an enthusiastic fan if you listen, acknowledge, validate, and walk the extra mile for them.
Keeping up with Conversations
You can also benefit by using social media to stay in touch with the major players in your niche – the experts, the customers, the fans, the stakeholders, the people who matter.
There is a collegial and friendly atmosphere on social media. There is a sense of being current, and awake, and aware, where you’re paying attention to what’s going on as things unfold.
If you handle social media well, it becomes a matter of keeping up with the public conversation about your industry; and the broader public conversation as it twists and turns and flows like a river to the next thing.
As you do this consistently (better consistently or not at all), you can establish your business as an authority and become a key player in your space. You can also generate a lot of good will and recognition.
And it’s a lot of fun! If you can, do a little bit of social media each day. Just a very little bit – and see if it doesn’t start to pull you in.