Buyer behaviour has transformed drastically in recent years. Today, all they need to do is log on to the internet, find the items they wish to buy and purchase them online at the click of a mouse and from the convenience of their home or office. Additionally, smart online buyers also seek the opinion of their friends and acquaintances on social media sites to get a fair idea about a particular product or service before moving ahead with the purchase.

But it’s all just people talking about what they ate today!

If business owners underestimate the power of social media and think that these sites were only meant for making friends, sharing comments and reading each other’s status messages, they are in for a big surprise. Smart businesses who want to maximise the return from their online presence are now going ‘social’. They are exploring the places where their potential users hang out. They not only monitor the views and opinions of their customers or target audience but also formulate and manage their reputation online. Social media therefore can be used to take an online business to new heights!

Social media sites such as Facebook, Google+, Twitter and Pinterest offer a huge potential customer base for brands and businesses to engage with. The number of ‘likes’, ‘shares’, ‘pins’ and ‘comments’ that a particular brand or business gets helps to determine its popularity and spreads awareness of the company to a much wider target audience.

Why do we choose to go with popular brands and are apprehensive about new or emerging names in the business?

This is because leading brands have a well established reputation, especially those brands that actively manage their online reputation by engaging with their customers. This can include added value information (exclusive sales, latest news etc), real time support and updates.

Recently a customer on an airplane tweeted how bad the sandwich he had just eaten was, this was picked up by a ground worker who then contacted head office. They spoke to the air cabin crew who were then able to speak to the customer and offer a refund and get feedback.

If you visit the Facebook page of your favourite brands, you will be surprised to see how actively they keep their fans and followers interested in their activities and news. This serves two main goals. The more ‘likes’ or ‘comments’ they get, the more exposure they get to a wider target audience and a better perceived brand. By attracting, interacting and engaging potential customers, these brands also build a bond with their target users and prompt them to recommend them to their friends. The more ‘buzz’ they are able to create, the more traffic their websites will attract.

Thus, a strategic social media optimisation strategy not only helps a brand or business to create brand awareness, brand recall and brand loyalty but also helps it to push more and more sales and ultimately provide better returns on investment.

A note of caution – is it right for your business?

It is easy to think that ‘going social’ will deliver masses of new fans, sales and customers. Whilst this is possible, investing into Social Media should be seen primarily as a brand recognition / building opportunity that sits right at the top of your sales funnel rather than a medium to drive immediate sales. Some of the people you interact with at this level may convert to actual customers but that number may be relatively small.

As a business you should think carefully about whether Social Media is right for your business. You should research and plan your social media strategy to ensure the following:

  • Are your target market using that particular social network?
  • What features of the social network are relevant to your business?
  • Do you have easy to generate content and or the time / resources to create and manage it?
  • Make sure you plan out your content and strategy in advance so you are not scrabbling around trying to find content and not delivering value to your customers.
  • Ensure you monitor and track the effectiveness of your social media campaigns

It doesn’t have to be hard

With all of the above in mind it does not have to be hard to ‘go social’. If it is well thought out and planned and you have easy to source content that adds value to your potential customers then you are ready to go!

If you have not dived into the waters of social media, take a dip today! Remember, one less ‘like’ that your brand or business gets mean one more ‘like’ for the business of your competitor. So, go social and get to know your potential customers. They, in turn, can help to push your sales and pump up your online reputation!

If you would like help planning or running Social Media campaigns then get in touch with Ivan today on 1300 77 3569.