Our faculty member, Laurie Sowa, often gets asked how to use social media effectively in business. Here’s Laurie’s answer:
Social media has created a new trend in communication. Rather than a one-directional broadcast approach, it has created a new dimension of interaction and engagement. Social Media is about connecting with our customers and building brand awareness along the way.
In the past decade, we have seen its growth from Twitter and Blogs, to Facebook, YouTube, etc. With the increase in smartphone users and the mobile marketplace, social activity is increasing exponentially. This activity has created an insatiable appetite for information.
This need for information is exactly why social media is considered better for long-term relationship building rather than promotion. Its goal is to build brand preference and strengthen customer loyalty – through knowledge. There is a temptation for businesses to want it to be for advertising, but better results are found from a subtle approach to educate and supply knowledge.
A successful social media project engages our customers. We measure the success by our ability to form a following from content that users want to read and share. Aiming to win the goodwill of your customers through information is crucial. This allows us to improve customer service, discover patterns of behavior, and uncover new ideas.
This engagement, however also creates a host of challenges in analyzing the material and results. How do you to determine that the right message is in front of the right people? Are your clients returning for more information? Are they sharing this information with potential new customers?
These questions have given rise to a rapidly growing field of data analysis – not only from the quantitative side (i.e. numbers of visitors), but also from the qualitative side (why did you select our product over our competitors). This is why it is also so important to have a strategy and plan for what you expect to accomplish. When a clear goal is set prior to embarking on a social media campaign – measurement of those goals becomes routine.
Next time you are planning to change any aspect of your social media campaign ask yourself what you hope to accomplish and put the means for measurement in place first. Your campaign will then naturally take a path toward success.
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