The website is dead, long live social media! Here’s a quick question when was the last time you went to just
the company website for information or went to it at all? Chances are that if you were buying a mobile phone or seeking help for the best laptop to buy, you may have also used Google, Facebook or Twitter to seek information from real users of the product you are trying to buy.
The neighbourhood has shrunk, if you need advise on a purchase, the world is available to chat with you about it. Businesses would ignore this at their own peril. Social media can get your product feedback, help you do a quick dipstick survey, conduct social research and talk to your consumer one to one. Good stuff all for any business.
Depending on what your business is, here are some key reasons why you may want to build a social media presence:-
Your customer is a consumer you can talk to in a narrowcast fashion, which means while an Airtel or a Vodafone may benefit from being in the social media space, a large luxury brand may not. Social media marketing is about building tribes of individuals who feel very special within the tribe and any product or service that speaks to these tribe individuals will be able to leverage social media well.
If you are in the mass lifestyle space. For example a lifestyle store, an art seller or an artist of any kind or a restaurant or a furniture store or a movie hall then micro media makes a lot of sense.
If you working in the development sector, social and micro media are a great way to gather research, create awareness and link with supporters. For example, there are supporter Malaria for example has supporter groups that ask you to replace your profile picture with one about malaria, this has an instant awareness effect.
Healthcare businesses can also make use of micro media to create awareness about diseases.
Some of the very basic social media platforms that can be used are:-
Facebook- it allows you to build a page separately for your business on the same lines as your own profile page and you can build fan pages. You get a great interactive page which is better than a website at zero cost.
Blogs- You can use blogs to tell a story about your organisation, tackle crisis issues. Basically, it is an online dear diary, about your work. Customers read it because they are not being asked to buy directly but hear a story and are conducting a conversation.
Depending on what your business is, first take good hard looks at what will social media do for you, what you want from this exercise and whether the two goals fit. If they do then do not ignore this medium of communication. The world, it is a changing and changing very fast and those who ride this new wave will emerge on the other side as winners.
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Next week: Poll Surveys and the media, has babudom really understood the media explosion
-Paarul Chand: The guest columnist is a communications entrepreneur, specializing in social advocacy and research, writing and life skills training.