April was quite a month to witness the power of social media. Social media frenzies surrounded a wide range of topics spanning from tragic current events (the Boston Marathon Bombing) to poorly planned brand advertising campaigns (KFC’s #IAteTheBones). But as social media matures, and we learn more about the speed of actions and reactions on Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, etc. the overarching lesson is quite clear: the best way to shape the social media conversation about your brand is to establish a strong social media presence.
The Conversation Has Already Started
When a client engages in any business with you they will develop either a positive or negative opinion about your company and your services. Depending on how strong that opinion is, they will share it with the people they know. This has happened since long before the dawn of social media.
But, whereas in the past one person might say to another in passing, “Oh Acme Widgets does a great job you should hire them,” or “Acme Widgets totally ripped me off on my bill,” that same person now likely wields a Facebook account, or a Twitter account and can spread that message to hundreds of people instantly (the average Facebook user is connected to 350 “friends”). And they share opinions – every single day. The question you need to ask yourself as a company is: are you willing to let that conversation unfold without being able to further promote (or defend) your business?
Establish Your Presence
A positive, established social media presence can be used to both promote your brand, and (if need be) to defend it. Facebook pages and Twitter streams trend very high in Google searches for your brand name, meaning that they are likely the first place a person might go after visiting your web site. Imagine a potential client has heard about your brand (either in a positive or negative light). When they find your Facebook page, they will not only immediately see if anyone they know also uses your services, but they will see all of the interactions that you have with other people.
I worry about Negative Interactions
“What if someone complains about my company on my Facebook page?” is a question often asked by small and medium sized business owners. The reality is, those complaints offer you an opportunity that businesses have not had in the past – the ability to defend yourself, rectify misunderstandings, and show other people in the process that you truly care about your clients and your business. You could spend large amounts of money trying to get that message across through ad campaigns in print media, or on radio. Or, you could use the incredibly powerful platform of social media to interact and engage with current and potential future clients who have witnessed firsthand the value you add to the lives of your customers.