By: Enrique I. Martel
Learn how to use social media to positively influence your business’ image and reputation.
We are past the question of when. The question for your business is how. In Puerto Rico, we estimate that Facebook users account for about three quarters of the island’s population. That’s one big virtual plaza.
A quick, 5-point guide to social media for businesses follows, along with video content from a social-media workshop Banco Popular held for its commercial customers in San Juan.
- To potentially show up in front of a million eyeballs, you need an account: Businesses flocked to social media because it’s an economic medium and mostly because consumers are there. From a simplistic advertising perspective, social media has millions of eyeballs. The numbers are staggering, enough to disrupt the local and global state of media and change how we spend waiting on a supermarket line, how we are informed from public events, how we keep up with family and friends and, yes, how we interact with brands. Shaped by communities, the clout of social media intensified with the proliferation of mobile phones. Take a quick glance around and see how many people are looking at their mobile. Do you still have any doubts that your business needs an account?
- Customers are knocking, you need the right sign on your door: We used to mark the pages of a catalogue of any super store to remember the products we love. Now we search for them in Google and check their Facebook page. Today, if we have a question, calling the customer-service department is not a top choice. We ask directly to the brand’s Facebook account or tag them on Twitter. You need the right info on your page to provide the quickest solution: contact info, including telephone, service hours and a brand motto that illustrates the relevancy of your product or service.
- Silence speaks louder than words, engage with customers: No customer service department? No problem. Today customers are all over the place. There’s no linear path to a product purchase. You can positively influence your brand’s image and reputation with customer engagement in your Facebook page. Above everything, social is a two-way conversation in which the opinions of friends and family rank at the top. Some recommendations:
- Reply to comments in your page in an appropriate time
- Manage negative comments
- Take difficult customer exchanges to the privacy of the inbox or direct message
- Eliminate inappropriate comments
- Block inappropriate users when necessary
Remember, you have control of what you say and what happens on your page. You want a genuine conversation with customers, but under respectful terms.
- Don’t wait too long, increase your visibility: The days of delivering a Facebook post to all your fans free of cost are long gone. Yet you can advertise by increasing the reach of your posts or ads with a really small budget, even for the smallest of businesses. Use the low advertising cost to test your ads, whether these are simple stories showing your best case studies or lead-generation ads. Social’s eternal profile data also grants you the opportunity to segment the reach of your ads based on demographics and preferences, among other profile traits.
- Measure, measure and measure: There’s a ton of data, use it. Social’s accessible data allows you to easily measure your advertising tests. At times, though, you will feel swamped with data. So always remember to align your business objectives with your social-media campaigns. There is an art to social-media engagement that a business owner grows into, but at the end of the day, your business is your business.