Social media can be a lot of fun for us as people: keeping up with friends far and wide on Facebook, learning new things from industry leaders on Twitter, or competing with neighbors to be Foursquare mayor of the local coffee shop.
For business purposes, though, social media presents an opportunity to connect with existing and potential customers in the ways they prefer. So what are realistic marketing objectives for social media?
Here are some ideas:
- Share your brilliance through original content.
- Networking with people and businesses in your industry.
- Giving your fans stuff they can share with their friends.
- Gain input from customers in building new products and services.
- Leverage content you’ve already created into new channels
- Dip your toe into new communities and find new niche customers
- Track what people are saying about your company (or recognize your biz is not share-worthy!)
Please note that none of these goals include sales. More and more social media mavens and czars are coming out with admissions that perhaps social media is tougher to translate into traditional sales than we had hoped. Is that so terrible? In my humble opinion, not really.
Our relationship as individuals with corporations has changed. Trust is at an all-time low while our desire for personal branding and association has grown. We want to be affiliated with certain kinds of companies (think Apple or Trader Joe’s). We expect businesses to be responsible citizens. We want to be “in the know” when it comes to new products, good deals, safety updates. Social media allows your business to address of all these desires. And even if the sale doesn’t happen through the tweet or the post, the relationship with the consumer does. And that eventually leads to the sale.
On the flip side – for consumers – think about our involvement with businesses through social media. Do you give companies feedback on Facebook? Retweet their content? Check-in with Foursquare? What about using SMS text coupons? Do small businesses’ email newsletters give you the info you are looking for? What are some of the most helpful ways small businesses can engage with you on social media?