Being a new media or process there are a lot of questions about Marketing on the Social Networks. As those questions are posed to us we are going to use this forum to keep our friends, clients, and prospects informed. Check back frequently for new content.
What Are Your Customers Saying About You?
One of the questions that we hear frequently is: "If we use Social Networking are we giving our customers and others a forum for complaints and negative comments?"
The truth of the matter is that regardless of whether we provide a forum or not customers are talking about us. By providing a forum you have the opportunity to put those comments into one place and have the ability to respond and dialog with the individual. Without the forum the comments will still happen, but you may not be aware and may be limited in your ability to respond.
Most forums where people can post, that are outside your control have a moderator who can choose to display your response or choose not to display the response. Would you rather the control be in someone else's hands or yours.
Additionally as a business owner you need to know if they are talking and what they are saying. If it is good reward them! If it is not good: either fix it or, at a minimum, you must get your side out. If it is inappropriate you have the ability to delete the comment when the forum is under your control.
Today the majority of these conversations occur in the Social Networking environment and if you want to know what is being said you must participate. The first thing you must do is invite yourself to the table where the discussion is happening. You want to be polite but it is imperative that you are involved so you can clear up any misinformation and ensure that you are represented.
Social Networks are about conversations. To this point a majority of these conversations are between individuals. Increasingly businesses are learning that Social Networks are also the place where you customers and prospects "hang out". Job seekers are learning that Social Networks are where their prospective employers and consulting/contracting clients "hang out". If you are not "hanging out" in the places the same places where your opportunities lie; are you doing the right things?
Large businesses are learning the importance of being on the Social Networks; some are doing it well and others are not, but they will learn. Small to medium sized businesses are there as well, but not necessarily with a strong strategy. Where the strategy is weak or non-existent; problems arise. Businesses and individuals can spend countless, unproductive hours on Social Networking if they have not developed a strategy and goals for their Social Networking.
If it is not part of your marketing mix; are you missing opportunities? Where are your customers?
Are your customers asking ...
"Where Are You?"
Social Networking has taken hold with your customers; more and more of your customer's hours are spent on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Blogs. If that is where your customers are; is that where you need to be? If that is the place where you must be; what do you do? How do you allocate your resources and spend your time?
This means that you join Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and any other place you identify where your customers have a presence. In the past this was called voyeurism. Today it is called good common sense.