Connecting and interacting with customers is now more important than ever

In one way or another, social networks are always with us, whether in word of mouth, in a conversation with a friend, family member or even with a neighbor. The truth is that technology advances and social networks gain more and more popularity, conversations become online. This implies that connecting and interacting with customers is now much more important. Companies have to understand the importance of social networks and be part of them.

Consumers talk about the products of different companies on social networks like Facebook, Twitter or YouTube. Being in them makes this conversation even easier. Fighting against them is not the solution, integration in them.

Although these networks can have a lot of value for companies, most managers still see them as a mystery and it is time for that to change. Companies need to be part, to be part. Although this is another medium with a different strategy, companies should start betting heavily on it.

If after all this you still think that social networks can not be so important, take a look at the data, do not cheat. According to the data provided by the company DoubleClick Ad Planner, Facebook already has 880 million visitors a month, YouTube with 800 million, BlogSpot with 340 million and Twitter with 160 million. It is a global phenomenon that grows very fast. According to the data provided by Nielsen, Australia and Brazil are the countries whose users most use social networks according to the hours they spend in them per month. In South Africa, for example, the average number of hours per week on social networks is seven.

The pillar on which we have to rely when it comes to starting in the world of social networks is transparency. If we rely on traditional businesses we see how only the necessary information was shared and among a certain number of people. But that and it does not work like that. Internet seeks to offer all possible information and consumers are what they want from companies now, the greatest access to information that can be and that everything is based on the principles of clarity and transparency. Because most things on the network are public, social networks are the fastest way to gain or lose credibility.

Gerd Schenkel, founder of Ubank and director of Digital Testra, believes that to be part of social networks the first thing to do is to understand the purpose of each of them. For him YouTube proposes entertainment, Facebook consumption of content generated by your friends and Twitter is a conversation with certain people. Regarding blogs, for Schenkel they serve to share points of view.

From your point of view there are seven tips that we should never lose sight of during our inclusion in social networks:

1. Do not focus exclusively on the metrics that inform us of visits to our Web. Instead, you have to go where the consumer goes.
2. Be authentic and consistent. If we are not, our efforts will be seen as simple public relations strategies.
3. Beware of outsourcing services, especially regarding Twitter accounts and blogs.
4. Forget about being able to control the message, it is not possible. Just apologize if you do something wrong and the users will support you.
5. Have realistic expectations. Social networks will not improve a bad product.
6. Nobody is an expert in social networks and the strategy of each company differs depending on many details and factors.
7. Do it, but you must be prepared to learn and adapt.

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