Monday, August 17, 2015

Prepare Your Business for the Future, Embrace Social Media.







For years many businesses have still not cared about social media. They always keep saying “our business isn’t one of ‘those’ businesses.” Maybe you’ve been thinking the same thing. Perhaps you decided to dip your toes in the water, but you’re certainly not going to make a serious investment. How would you calculate the ROI anyhow? I’ve had some good and not-so-good interactions with companies through a variety of channels in the past month or so. It was shocking to see how differently each company chose to embrace (and in some cases ignore) social media. In fact some companies forbid their employees from suggesting anything that has to do with social media. For businesses that have ignored the incorporation of Social Media into their business strategies the future is more likely to be tougher than they think.

In fact, the businesses that will survive in the near future have already thought about the Binary System of operation. Here companies set up an online market operation of the business and the traditional operation simultaneously. The reason is that many are spending more time online than before and this leaves them very limited time to navigate through the physical stores for the desired items. Establishing an online presence of your business will ease choice making for your clients because they can easily view the specs of the desired item online without having to physically move to the store.

Today Social Selling is a practice that will exist as long as the social web is still in existence. Many online companies acquire more deals through their social media channels than their direct websites. This indicates that customers feel more comfortable engaging with companies that have a social platform which brings a deeper connection. Note that out of every 10 online buyers, 4 of them have been directed by their peers through social media. This can be through sharing the links that contain the commodities with friends or directly sharing the business website link.  Before we go further I would like to bring your attention to this short story as regards the evolution of Social Media.



The Evolution of Social Media
A really long time ago, a junior employee approached the CEO of a company and said “There’s this new technology that people are starting to use. My friends and I all use it, and I think that as a company we should allow our customers to use the new technology to communicate with us.” The CEO dismissed the young employee and his crazy notion that customers expected someone to answer them using that silly device called a telephone. The CEO was probably thinking, “Why do we need telephones? Our customers come into our office or store if they need something.” A similar discussion certainly happened decades later around email, after all why support customers with email when they can just call. Though technologies have changed over the years, essentially telephone and email were the channels to communicate with customers then, just like Facebook and Twitter are the channels today.

Here are my top reasons why every business establishment should embrace social media for effective Marketing, Selling and Customer care;

1.Social channels are great because sometimes people use them to say what they are thinking. Social listening tools allow businesses to pick up on that, and engage with customers without them even directly asking for help.

2.Social Media also allows companies to serve multiple customers at a time and be responsive to all parties.

3.In the past companies worked through channels, they did not have much direct interaction with customers. “Now with social, companies get first-hand interaction that is creating sincere engagement between the company and their customers.


4.Building a strong professional brand. Successful sales people have established strong professional brands that define their reputation and credibility. Simply put, they become industry players whose advice and expertise is sought after by customers, prospects and the market alike.

5.Social Selling: Helping Your Customer along Their Purchase Journey. Social listening is part of managing the buyer’s journey. Many buyers use social media during the purchase process. Smart marketers begin discussions with buyers on their own terms and in the social environments where buyers seek information. Smart companies turn social listening into the winning combination of social support, social development and social selling.

6.Social Support: Please Help Me – Or Else… Social customer service can be both an ROI driver and a cost saver. CMOs are seeing the cost benefit of shifting money from person-intensive tactics to social, mobile, cloud and analytics. And the benefits go beyond cost. Really, it’s not just social support, its social development. Your customers give and get help from each other on social platforms. If you listen in and listen carefully, it’s a tremendous source of insight to providing a better experience and a better product. Getting that real-time feedback about your product or offer enables you to innovate and move much more quickly from a business standpoint.

In conclusion, if you thought that Social Media is a passing fad, you probably need to think again because social media is here to stay. A Social Media Strategy is important for businesses that want to start incorporating Social Media into their operation. It is therefore very important to seek guidance of the established experts while drawing out the Social Media Strategic Plan. 

By Mwebya Fred
mwbyfred@gmail.com
www.twitter.com/Ugaman01 


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