Out with the old, in with the new? Not exactly. The best marketing strategies involve the use of old and new tactics together. Think of old tactics being print publications and traditional mail marketing; new being the obvious, ever-growing, Social Media. Social Media can be used to attract customers, expand markets and inform them of a business’ future developments and strategies.
Today, being a Social Media – friendly business means sometimes having to share with your online community information you wouldn’t normally via e-mail, phone call, advertisement, etc. This also means that as a business your chances of receiving negative comments through Social Media are increased.
This is simply because one of the first places, if not the first, that disruptions expose themselves online is through Social Media. Marketers need to view this as an opportunity; an opportunity for product-marketing, creating repeat customers, and enhancing the business’ online reputation if handled appropriately.
Truly listening to online reactions about a new offering, to the competition, and/or about perceptions of your own brand can be tough. Businesses, and their marketing teams are made up of people, and people can be easily upset by one negative comment out of thousands. Your marketing team has to be prepared to turn that negative comment into a win for your business. Read: 10 Ways to Deal with Upset Customers Using Social Media.
Social Media can be so much more than a way to advertise for your business without additional costs; it can serve as a means to receive feedback for your business’ executive team, product team, and/or marketing strategy sessions. Using data collected from Social Media to inform product teams of customer trends, responses, and behaviors is considered a form of market research.
In order to turn your data into useful market research, marketers must practice Social Listening. Social Listening occurs when a business listens to the conversations that take place in Social Media environments about their brand, industry and competition. When businesses practice social listening, it’s best to consider the following four areas:
- Competition. An examination of a competitor’s positioning, offerings, and marketing approaches.
- Consumer. Understanding the wants and needs of your target market, their media-use patterns, social behaviors, and reaction(s) to previous offerings.
- Statistics. With the help of VisiStat or Google Analytics, an examination of a potential customer’s interactions with your business’ website and Social Media accounts and a brutal assessment of its strengths and weaknesses to reveal your business’ opportunities and threats.
- Industry Movements. Set-up specific Google Alerts for topics such as competitor news, competitor offerings, competitor customer responses, customer desires, etc. Your business needs to be aware of where they stand within the market at all times. Set-up alerts for yourself as well to be notified when someone is mentioning you so that you can react in a timely manner. Why? Because it’s always better to know before most than to be the last.