Social Media, Your Digital Duct Tape
It’s a handy man’s dream and one of the most versatile pieces of equipment in your toolbox. You may have fixed your car with it, taped up a blistering foot while hiking, or even used it to design matching outfits for prom. There is no doubt that duct tape is a well-used and dynamic tool. If someone asked you, “What can duct tape do?” you could look at them with a smile and say, “Well, what do you want it to do?”
That’s how I feel about social media. Many people new to the social media scene will ask, “Well, what can social media do?” and I normally respond with a smile and hearty, “Well, what do you want it to do?” It’s important to first ask yourself what you want to get out of it. What’s the goal? Knowing that will dictate whether social media is the right tool and if so, suggest how you might use it.
Here are six different ways you can utilize social media to reach your goals:
- Reach. Is your current marketing strategy not working? Is it working, but you want to expand your reach and connect with more potential customers? According to Mindjumpers, social media sites and blogs reach 80% of all U.S. internet users. That’s a large number. Let that soak in for a minute. 8 out of 10 Americans are utilizing some form of social media. So, if your goal is to expand your current reach, social media might be a great place to start.
- Search. Marketers rate social media as the second-most important factor in search, second only to strong content (BtoB Magazine). Let me give you a personal example. Google me. “Jon Bausman.” Right now. It’s okay, open a new tab (‘cause you’re going to want to come back and read the rest of this blog!). What do you see? I own the first 8 results when it comes to my name on Google, with the top three being Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook. Click on Images and run the same search. Do you see a consistent image showing up? Not only do I own my web search but also when you search visual content, my social media avatar dominates the landscape.
- Engaging Content. Did you know that YouTube is the third most searched site on the web (Alexa)? If content is king, then video and visual content are ruling the kingdom. It is powerful to take your content and add visuals and sound. Facebook also gives priority to this type of content which is illustrated by their Edge Rank algorithm.
- Monitoring the Conversation. Whether you’re on social media or not, people are talking about you. About 40% of online users have mentioned a brand on Facebook or Twitter. Is it good? Is it bad? Either way, it’s important to listen to what consumers are saying about you. If you don’t already see the impact this can have on your business, allow me to transition to “digital duct tape” use #5.
5. Social Commerce. According to AYTM, 81% of customers reach out to their friends and family members on social networking sites for advice before purchasing products. You skeptics out there might be saying, “Well, people may ask for advice on social media, but do they listen to what respondents have to say?” Uh, yeah. AYTM reports that 78% of consumers trust peer recommendations.
6. Transparency. Social media allows online users to readily access information and provide companies the opportunity to share their information transparently. eMarketer reported that 94% of buyers felt C-suite social media participation enhances a brand’s image and 77% said they are more likely to buy from a company whose CEO uses social media.
Allow me to paint a picture for you using these 6 “digital duct tape” points.
I purchase a widget from your company, and after trying it out, I am frustrated with the product and poor customer service. Not an unfamiliar experience, right? I’m so upset that I want to share my experience with others – Reach – and I turn to my strongest and most powerful outlet, my social media channels – Search. I decide to make a YouTube video explaining what I don’t like about the widget, why it was a bad purchasing decision, and how it was a terrible customer experience – Engaging Content.
Your company decided not to invest in monitoring conversation surrounding your brand on social media. So, not only did you miss the opportunity to resolve the situation, but you also missed the opportunity to see my video views climb higher and higher – Monitoring the Conversation.
Someone else across the country is contemplating buying your widget, but wants to do some online research first. He Googles “widget” and, due to my search rank and frequent views, finds my video explaining my terrible experience. He is quite surprised by my feedback and decides to ask on Facebook and Twitter what some of his family and friends think of the product. Sure enough, he hears back from a few people with stories similar to mine (Social Commerce).
One of his family members recommended using the competitor brand and shared that. After monitoring the online conversation, a competitor company noticed that consumers were unhappy with a certain feature of their widget. The competitor CEO tweeted a video apology and assured his viewers that they would fix this issue and this new feature would be implemented in their next widget. (Transparency). The fact that competitor company was listening to its customers and the CEO went out of his way to communicate that they were making the changes on the product was enough to seal the deal for me to buy the competitor’s widget.
So there you have it: 6 different ways social media can be the most versatile tool in your digital tool kit.
SOUND OFF: How does your company use social media? Have you explored all the different ways social media can help you reach your goals?