Engage with the World of Social Media Marketing

The Social Media World Forum Africa kicked off on the 1st of June 2011 held at the iconic CTICC.

The SMWF provided talks, discussions and presentations by some of the leading thinkers and brands who have been ‘early-adopters’/ fore runners in the newly established social media industry.

It also provided attendees with interactive discussions, close nit networking opportunities, banter filled discussions amongst delegates and presenters (often fuelled by the TwitterWall), and 3 streams of presentations to choose from.

Most organisations jump into the ‘social media’ scene however it should only be done with a clear plan and in relation to your brands customers.
Here are a few things to take into consideration before entering the scene:

1. Listening – the first step to managing your social reputation
Before you do anything it is important to listen to what your customers are saying. Use listening tools like radian6 or brands eye to keep tabs on what’s happening in the environment.

Look at the user profile created with this information regarding social media and select platforms that are relevant to your customers.

‘Fish where your customers fish’

Map out a plan for all social media you are going to take part in. It is important to use the information you have gathered to plan strategies and targets for each platform you select. For example, you may select Facebook as an information source for your customers and Twitter to alert them about new products available. All of this will depend on what works best for your customers.

When you start participating in the social media space be proactive not reactive in your interactions and responses with customers.

Don’t treat online media as a separate entity to the traditional media your company makes use of. Link traditional media with online media.

2. Integrating social media into traditional marketing strategy
It is important to integrate your social media with your traditional media strategies and campaigns. If implemented correctly they can feed off one another.

Social media and marketing is not a new era, it uses the same core principles as traditional media however simply requires one to adjust to a new ecosystem: Social Media.

Traditional media can be used to engage customers or make them aware of your brand whereas social media can be used as the next step in creating a meaningful relationship with them.

Use social media to tell stories

3. Social Media & Social Customer Relationship Management

Social MediaThe profile of a customer today is a social one – 90% trust their peers opinions.
Social media should not only be for marketing purposes. The main reason why the growth of social media is so vast is because it is human nature to seek belonging.
It is therefore a challenge for businesses to begin connecting authentically with their customers and potential customers.

So, with social media in mind, brands need to work on social customer relationship management.  In order to connect authentically brands need to drop their facades and add value to their customers life. Brands can add value through relevance, and by this I mean by creating relevant interactions, not just interactions for the sake of interactions. This can be done through social media channels.
Creating relevant interactions requires building a community 24/7. Due to the nature of the Internet, consumers expect a response immediately. If you don’t respond, someone else will.

Social CRM should be measured by engagement not by for example, by the number of ‘likes’ you have on your Facebook page.
People trust their peers when it comes to brand choice so build a relationship with your customers and you will develop their trust. Trusting a brand develops into brand loyalty which allows a company to enter a collaborative relationship. These individuals become brand advocates and so the cycle continues.