Why are you on social media? Everyone says it’s the “place to be in 2013,” but do you really know why your store needs to be there? Maybe you know the why, but you have an uncomfortable feeling about how to do it. You’re not alone.
A recent Princeton Review study says more than 85% of customers expect businesses to be active in social media and 79% of companies are either using or planning to use social media. However, only 12% of them are doing so effectively. Yes, 12%.
It’s like this: Your staff has access to countless tips on social media marketing. They attend webinars, read books and follow blogs. They make their way onto Facebook and Twitter, and maybe you even start allocating resources and budget. Then, inevitably, they find they’re not getting the results they’d hoped for and you, as the owner or GM, conclude that social media doesn’t work.
Eric Schwartzman, social media marketer and author, coined the term “digital illiteracy.” Social media is, after all, marketing and it’s not for amateurs. Many businesses are suffering in this ever-changing world of social media simply because they lack the basic knowledge and skills.
Jay Baer, founder of Convince & Convert and author of “The Now Revolution”, has a fabulous podcast (I highly recommend it!). As Jay and Eric were discussing digital illiteracy, I realized the more I inform everyone outside of my social marketer’s bubble – how these tools work, what to expect and what’s realistic – the better the chances are that everyone will become social media savvy.
Everyone in your organization should know something about how social works. They know how the phone works. They know how email works. In some cases, social media is your customer’s preferred form of communication. Your staff should be familiar with social, what’s expected of them by the social customer, and how inbound marketing happens.
Now is the time to act. Back in the ‘90s, it took some employees to come around to using email and that was fine because it wasn’t adopted as quickly as social media has been. Things move considerably faster now. There are too many platforms where people go to share their opinions and experiences for your staff to not be participating in those conversations, one way or another.
If you’d like to be a social business (and why wouldn’t you?), you must implement the unique communicative properties of social media across all levels of your store. Everyone in the organization plays a part. Some are in a unique position to create content. Others are working with your customers on a daily basis and recognize the opportunity to relay the importance of online reviews. Each department has its unique contribution and your culture should support those efforts.
No one watches your brand like you do. People (buyers) search for and pay attention to all the chatter about your store. Please don’t leave that to chance. Start with a ground floor, fundamentals curriculum for you and your staff. Move up to an advanced learning program for your key social players. Your aim is to dissuade any one of your employees from committing the marketing equivalent of, “I want to learn how to play football, so let me try and evade Ray Lewis.”
There is a certain level of apprehensiveness that comes with first forays into social media and it’s not comfortable getting your feet wet while everyone’s watching. Get some guidance from a social marketing coach or consultant. It’s a lot easier when you have someone who can teach the basic techniques and breakdown the information into small, digestible, bit-sized chunks.
Effective social media marketing produces results (ie: leads and sales). It engages your loyal, happy, repeat customers, fosters a relationship with future customers and can generate quality leads from those in the market ready to buy. I’m glad for that 12% who are rockin’ it but to those in the 88% group, let’s just say you have a huge opportunity for success.
If you’re part of that 88%, where would you like to grow?