I have grown up in a technologically sophisticated decade, and the world of social media has boomed within my generation. Finding an undergrad student without a Facebook these days can be as difficult as finding a needle in a haystack.
Even though social media sites have millions and millions of members, some business are still scared of social media presence and its power. But in a time where a “like” on Facebook can hold as much weight as a verbal recommendation, companies need to jump on the social media bandwagon and utilize social media to spread awareness of their brand.
Social media is free! This makes sites like Twitter and Facebook ideal for businesses ranging from huge corporations to small local businesses. Customers want to feel valued by companies, so they are looking to have dialogue.
Panera Bread is a company that stands out to me for how perfectly they use social media to their advantage. On their media site, the accept praise from satisfied customers, but also take and address any constructive criticism dissatisfied customers may have posted. Just simply responding to these unhappy customers can be the difference between that customer trying your product again or spreading their bad experience to countless amounts of friends.
There is truly no way to know how much reach someone has in the social media world, which makes each user just as valuable as the other. Companies using social media sites put themselves on the same level as the customer, which can be perceived by customers as unsurpassable customer service. Companies and the social media networks should certainly be “friends”. Social media, if used properly, can be a method of connecting with your customers on a personal level and making them feel valued. Valued customers are happy customers and happy customers are returning customers.
Not only does social media presence function to establish a relationship with customers, but it also provides the opportunity to reward valued customers by “tweeting” promotions or distributing printable coupons that will bring customer traffic into your business. Some companies will offer promotions if you “re-tweet” something and I have even received gift cards for watching short promotional videos.
Businesses cant shy away from the groundswell, the have to embrace it!