How to Set Sail on the Seas of Social Media
Social media is as easy to control as the ocean. Some days are so calm you wonder if the world has taken a day off. Others are filled with activity that sends customers and prospects clicking to your site. And some days bring hurricane-force winds that threaten the foundation of your business.
It's hard for cross-channel retailers used to managing every aspect of their marketing programs to adapt to the free-flowing social media world. There isn't any way to control it. Positive comments can yield negative results, all led by one disgruntled person. Negative posts can rally customers to your defense.
We're in the early stages of a new marketing world. Some people are sitting on the fence, trying to decide if they should participate. The question shouldn't be if, but how.
Your customers and prospects are participating in social media. They chat about things they like and things they don't. Customer service issues are often posted online before companies are even made aware. A quick response and resolution keeps negative forces at bay.
Before diving headfirst into social media, make sure you understand the four levels of social media participation and where your company fits in.
Level One: Basic
Every company needs to participate at this level. Start by constructing a social media policy for your company, employees and vendors. The corporate portion should detail how the company will participate, including specific guidelines. The employee and vendor sections should specify expectations for protection of proprietary information, and consequences for activities that hurt the company. Begin monitoring, responding to and measuring the online conversations taking place about your company and products. Every comment doesn't need a response, but use the opportunities provided to enhance your reputation or resolve problems. Success measurements for this level include: