At freestak we believe there is an important difference between social media activity and social media engagement. At the most basic level, we think that activity without engagement is like yelling through a megaphone whilst wearing ear-defenders: you are getting the message out there, but there is no interaction with the people you are yelling at (your existing and potential customers).
When it comes to marketing, there is a brave new world where it is not enough to simply talk at people. Traditional advertising like television, radio and print (whether that is magazine or billboards or something else) simply projects a company’s message without allowing feedback from the potential or existing customer.
Social media, on the other hand, is all about talking with customers. There are advantages and challenges with this, but the former surely outweighs the latter…?
In the new world of social media, people expect to be able to interact: with friends, with politicians, with bands and with brands and retailers. We see so many examples of this, that we are convinced that the shift from ‘talking at’ to ‘talking with’ is inexorable.
There are many recent examples that we have seen and one of the most common is people requesting information about the suitability of a product for them (yep, the brave new world of social media does make it all about the consumer). Common interactions include:
- do your shoes fit people with wider (or narrower) feet?
- are your gels suitable for vegans (or celiac sufferers)?
- do you have women’s specific versions of your products?
- I recently bought a product from you and it broke. What do I do?
- I want to buy a product as a present for a friend. What do you recommend
The list goes on and on. But the point here is that these interactions are an amazing opportunity to create a meaningful and lasting engagement with a customer.
The simple answer is that you have to be reactive to the social media networks that you have set up. If you are a bricks-and-mortar retailer, it is the same as making sure the shop is always staffed. If you are an online retailer, it’s akin to making sure someone in customer services is constantly checking the email address that is in the ‘contact us’ page of your website.
Beyond that, there are subtleties like making sure the right tone of voice is used when engaging through social media.
And there is the issue of encouraging engagement. If you accept that being able to talk with someone about your products, rather than simply publishing or broadcasting an ad and hoping that it reaches the right people at the right moment, then you should be looking for opportunities to engage. After all, if someone is happy to talk to you about your products, they are already interested in them and that is a big step towards turning them into a customer.
We believe that the majority of runners are interested in what they can do to improve their running and as a result, their curiosity will lead them to talk to companies that they believe can help them perform better (or save money or avoid injury, etc, etc)
freestak has a range of tools and a plethora ideas to allow our clients to engage with existing and potential clients through social media without having to spend hours and hours online checking for questions or comments.
The use of social media campaigns, where the engagement is focused on a competition or opportunity, can be run by us in totality. We can also use software to ensure that new followers on twitter or new fans on Facebook are recognised and encouraged (or even rewarded) for wanting to engage with your brand or business.
If you think that talking to your current and future customers through the social media networks that they already use, sounds like a good idea, get in touch and we’ll talk to you about how we can help you achieve that.