The Human Side of the Business
Many business owners struggle with their usage of social networking sites to bring new customers, or to keep existing ones. As a matter of fact, they try to use social media as an advertising tool. Social media can be a marketing tool if used the right way, but what is the right way? And how relevant is it to use social media for advertising?
The answer for the latter question is not at all; there is a much bigger image, a culture might I say, when it comes to social media. Understanding this culture and how it operates is essential to the understanding of ways to connect with consumers more effectively. Reading some statistics will help us understand some phenomena and trends in the usage of social networking sites.
Compete studied how consumers are embracing social media as an online marketing tool, and showed results that are interesting.
Businesses should not focus too much on selling their products via facebook or twitter because 60% of consumers never use social media for shopping. This tells us that businesses shouldn’t try to sell or advertise the product or service directly via social media; consumers are embracing change very slowly on this one. However, 68% of respondents visit retailers’ facebook page to keep up to date with sales and promotions. Great!
Now we have a general image about how social media is a new whole culture for marketing that emphasises the human side. Following are a few tips to using social media for ecommerce:
1- To sell or not to sell? Just because 60% of consumers never use social media for shopping, does not always translate to forget about having a shop available on social media. This might be exactly what your business needs. As a matter of fact, 1-800-Flowers allows customers to purchase flowers by being the first to embrace the idea of having a shop on facebook. This is one direct way to promote your business, however, you can sell indirectly by updating customers about best-sellers and new products.
2- Don’t forget to be human. Business entities should keep in mind that customers are people, developing connections with other people rather than a business. This is where social media plays its role, and where business should forget about itself for a little bit and reflect on what the customers have to say. The subject of a business showing the human side is a long discussion, and to sum it all up in a few words, following are a few tactics to help show the human side of the business:
Use images of people (ie. customer service representatives, satisfied customers, etc.) on your social networking site rather than the business’s logo. Use a human tone when trying to converse with customers. Give feedback and comments in case a customer criticizes your business.
3- Stimulate senses with video. Adding videos to your social media strategy is an effective way to improve sales. Customers like to know a product personally and in action, and videos are a great way to demonstrate your products. By having videos on youtube, you also allow customers to share your videos and embed them on their social pages, increasing clicks and hopefully customer base.
4- Social time as part of the job. A business is now able to allocate sales revenue from social media, and once the business is hooked to social media, it must keep up with it. That is, a frequent and regular maintenance of your social pages is necessary for the success of your business. You can schedule time for yourself and your marketing staff to spend on social networking sites, converse with customers, and read their comments and reply to them. Distribute these times throughout the day so that you show customers that you care about them.
5- Don’t always try to sell. Customers are not always interested in buying your product, but especially on social media, they are more interested in hearing your story, reading about what makes you special, etc. Use social media to tell stories about your entity, stories about your products, news, statistics with regards to your business, and some other content related to your business.
6- Make the customer feel special. Glenn and Beal call it “exclusivity,” which refers to offering special coupons and discounts available only to those customers subscribed to your pages on social media. That is a great way to keep current customers, and it encourages new customers to join your social network.