Social media often operates in a nebulous grey area of “we should probably do something with that” for business owners and CEOs. Yet, it’s often ignored or social media management ends up in the hands of someone young the boss sees using social media stuff. Given that more than 70% of adults spend time on at least one social media site every day, that’s a strategic error.
Social media can prove a potent ally in the success of your business when handled correctly. So, let’s into why the right social media management is so important in business.
Customer Relations Tool
It’s easy for businesses to overlook the social in favor of the media element of social media. You can come to see it as another purely advertising channel, like TV or radio. Yet, social media offers you an astounding opportunity to connect with and question your customers.
Let’s say that you run a small restaurant. Your customers follow your Facebook page and comment on it regularly. Now, let’s say that you’re thinking about adding something to your menu.
You have three ideas, but only want to add one thing to the menu itself. You can agonize over the decision in solitude, or you can ask your customers directly which option they prefer on your Facebook page. Tally up the results and let that guide your decision.
You cement your relationship with your customers by seeking their input. You also prime them for the new menu option.
How many people will show up on day one to try the new menu option when it’s going live in the restaurant? If they put in their two cents? You can probably expect a lot of them.
Strengthen Your Brand
You likely spent a lot of time thinking about what you want your brand to be. Is your company the solid, reliable choice? Is it the fun choice?
Is your brand built around a story? Maybe your immigrant grandparent who came to this country with nothing but the clothes on their back, a mind-boggling work ethic, and a dream founded the company.
Social media lets you solidy that brand in the minds of your customers and people who might become your customers. You can build on that brand through everything you do on social media.
Let’s say that story about your immigrant grandparent is actually the case. You can put together a short, documentary-style video about your grandparent and post it on your business’ YouTube channel. Then, you can share that video on your Facebook and Twitter profiles.
Since people connect emotionally with stories, your brand and the story become intertwined. That makes it memorable, which puts you top of mind when potential customers make a choice about what business gets their business.
Protect Your Brand/Business
Good social media management isn’t just about putting out fresh content each day. It’s also about making sure that you don’t make the wrong kind of posts.
In 2018, UPS offered to shred kids’ letters to Santa for parents. While the tweet does contain a certain logic — those letters have to go somewhere — it overlooked the protectiveness most parents feel for their kids’ innocence. It was a comparatively low-grade fail as these things go, but it marked the UPS brand as insensitive.
In 2014, Stephen Colbert “deleted” the Twitter account for The Colbert Show after the social media manager in charge of it posted an out-of-context joke that most read as offensive. While both Colbert and The Colbert Show survived relatively unscathed, it could have gone another way very easily.
Good social media management takes into account what values your business or brand represents. Then, it ensures the content posted reflects those values. This protects your business and, again, reinforces your brand.
Every business gets it wrong occasionally.
Your delivery guy was rude to a customer. An order shows up damaged. Someone sat on hold for 25 minutes while trying to resolve an issue with their account.
Guess what happens next. That’s right, people go onto social media and talk about it.
If you maintain a good relationship with your customers, they’ll often approach you directly on your social media accounts. You can take that opportunity to resolve the complaint and commit to doing better.
It tells everyone that you take customer service seriously. It also protects the business.
Getting It Right
Some businesses excel at social media management. In small businesses, the owner often takes on responsibility for social media posts. That helps ensure close alignment between your brand values and your social media content. What if a business owner only uses social media casually in their regular life?
That can leave you ill-prepared for keeping up with the demands of often daily social media posting. A poorly thought out post before you get your morning coffee can haunt you for months or years.
Sporadic posting because you can’t carve out enough time isn’t as destructive, but it can harm your customers’ engagement levels.
On most lists of social media tips, you will find a few pieces of advice. You can hire a dedicated social media manager to oversee all of your accounts.
If you lack experience with social media or the time to do it, you can also outsource. You can hand off your social media accounts to consultants or a social media management company.
If you do outsource, though, make sure the company or consultant has a very clear view of your brand values.
Social Media Management and Your Business
Every business owner deals with limited resources. Your time and your employees’ time are limited resources that you might not want to devote to social media management. Yet, not maintaining a social media presence can hurt your business as well.
Approach social media slowly at first. Focus on one site that best suits your needs and master that site’s ins and outs. If that’s all you can manage with your available time, stick with that site or consider outsourced solutions.
Looking for more social media or marketing tips? Check out the posts in our Marketing section.