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Engaging with customers and prospects: why Social Media will give you the edge

Twitter, like many of the other social media platforms has made communication real-time and global. Long gone are the days when news waited to be broken in the morning papers, now it is instant, making tools such as Twitter not only incredibly fast but also sometimes rather scary for the average business.

High profile companies for example must continually monitor the web to find out what people are saying about them and if necessary engage to protect their brand values, especially if they want to prevent a negative comment spiralling out of control.

However, social media is not just an opportunity for you to listen and respond to others, you can also create and distribute your own ‘content’ to share. Setting up a blog or a FaceBook page gives you that two way interaction that is often missing from the average website and is a unique opportunity to exchange and gather important information. Customers’ likes/dislikes/suggestions are all crucial in helping you to enhance your reputation, build the right product or service, improve retention or close a sale.

But social media isn’t just for the big boys, here’s just some of the ways an average SME can take advantage.

  • Build one-to-one relationships and dialogue with existing and prospective customers that are on social networks whether it’s Twitter, LinkedIn or FaceBook (not all may be relevant for your particular business)

  • Identify new customers active on social networks that are actively looking for the products and/or services that you sell locally, nationally or even internationally

  • Develop an on-line following who you can regularly communicate with and nurture long-term relationships and good customer retention

  • Drive extra traffic and potential sales leads to your website by generating valuable content via social networks e.g. direct prospects to whitepapers, top tips, special offers etc.

  • Increase the ranking of your website through better SEO (search engine optimisation) – social media is excellent for pushing you up the natural search engines

  • Monitor what your competitors are doing by tracking what they and their customers do and say on social media

  • Raise the credibility and profile of your brand and reputation – become an expert in your area by sharing valuable knowledge and information

  • Be first in your market to take advantage and therefore gain the edge over the competition – Unlike other marketing such as advertising, size or budget is NOT a barrier to benefitting from social media and becoming a leader in your field

  • Use social media for effective data-mining – much more effective than buying in lists, as you will know from how active a user is, whether the information is up to date. If you’ve been trying to get through to an elusive prospect, then social media can be a much more direct and subtle way of getting to talk and engage with them.

  • Whilst overtly ‘selling’ on social media is frowned upon, the long-term result will be increased sales based on the returns of on-going one-to-one communication that offers value to your prospect or existing customer

  • Social media is already more popular than the traditional internet – FaceBook now has more page views per month than Google! The way that people are using the web is changing fast, and embracing social media is the only way to keep ahead and benefit from the huge numbers of customers that are potentially searching for your product or service. Don’t be left behind…

So if you want to be ahead of the game, but you still are unsure about how you can make the most of social media, TTA can advise on what type of strategy is best for your business and how it can fit in within an existing marketing programme. We can also manage it on your behalf, for a lot less than you might imagine, so you can focus on what you do best.

Contact steve.shergold@ttauk.com for details of the different social media management packages available and a free initial consultation.

 

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