How Your Business Can Exploit the Social Media Trend

by on August 2, 2011

Social Media Trends

Can your business benefit from the social media trend? In the Impact of Social Media on Business, I discuss how Amazon and other large companies improve their bottom line by helping customers make better decisions. Amazon enhances their customer’s experience by tailoring it to their immediate interests, and sharing other customers’ related information.

One of the innovators in social media marketing is Whole Foods Market, a natural organic grocery chain. Whole Foods Market’s conversations with their customers are essential to the company’s success, in a store or on a social network. The company’s goal is to meet customers wherever they may be, not merely pick the places and wait for customers to come to Whole Foods stores.

Start your engines with social media

Start by adding valuable and interesting information for your customers and enhance it with content generated by users. Whole Foods published recipe reviews, product ratings, and blog comments. You might build your company blog by using content such as testimonials, educational articles, or informational brochures. Make sure it is written from your customers’ viewpoint rather than your own.

Find out which social media channels your customers or prospects use. Whole Foods Market uses Twitter and (an online service that hosts communities for companies’ customers), and drives traffic to its blogs through Facebook. A financial company may find customers reading the Wall Street Journal and following Twitter, and start writing comments on the newspaper’s website, building authority and traffic. A company selling tools for website development might post answers in the popular forum, a favorite of webmasters.

Monitor the conversations for each channel, learn what interests your audience, and set a goal for each channel. According to Marla Erwin, Interactive Art Director for Whole Foods Market,

I feel like social media is falling into buckets right now where people are using it for sales and marketing, people are using it for customer service, or people are using it to establish a corporate personality and corporate culture. We’re trying to do a lot of these things, and depending on the venue, one medium might have a greater percentage of one of those than the other, but they all balance out in the end.

Now you are ready to share valuable and interesting information with your customers and prospects, related to your market. Consider using topics that are central to their interests:

  • When a customer makes a purchase, online or in person, make available a list of products or services that other customers purchased when buying the same product or service.
  • Request online product or service reviews from your customers. Do not worry about receiving less than raving comments. No business receives only 5 star reviews, and people do not expect it. Online reviews also provide the opportunity to improve your customers’ experiences.
  • When customers have a credit or gift card that is expiring, send them an email, direct Twitter, or text message that encourages use of  it, rather than letting it silently expire.
  • Plan and implement a social media campaign using your company blog, Facebook and Twitter that offers valuable commentary, advice and news about topics that interest your audience and are relevant to your market and expertise – make it a conversation.
  • Offer videos in the form of testimonials or case studies showing your customers making decisions or using your products.

Many of your customers are already active with social media, web and mobile networks. If your company adapts to the changing norms, it can strengthen customer relationships, and grow your business.

How can your business leverage the social media trend?


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