Social media have become an obligatory tool for marketing products and services. But to make a genuine connection with customers, you have to use them appropriately. “By using social media, brands have become more human and approachable to people,” said Mariel Arraiza, Executive Vice President and Director of the Marketing and Intelligence Division of Banco Popular. Arraiza agreed, however, that achieving this goal is always a challenge.
To navigate the Internet and differentiate yourself from the competition, consider these tips for succeeding in social media:
- Become an expert on each platform
The first step, according to Arraiza, is to understand what each social network offers for both the user and the business person. Facebook is still king, in terms of popularity and reach, but there is a marked trend among youths to move to Instagram and Snapchat, said the executive.
“Pinterest is also interesting, but it still does not have the penetration. For professional contacts, there is LinkedIn; for news and influencers, Twitter. Periscope is beginning and in time will have a solid base of followers,” she added. Determine which platform is best for you, based on the nature of your business and your target audience.
- Discover your voice – and don’t lie
It is important to be strategic when choosing the message you are going to send. According to Arraiza, you have to be authentic and transmit honest information about your business’ products or services. You have to have a balance between the spontaneous and the professional.
“You can’t be so serious that you lose the emotional connection with the customer. If you are distant, you will not be able to communicate your message in an authentic way. But you also can’t be crude,” she said.
- Stay relevant
One way to “humanize” your brand is to be up to date with news and situations that are relevant to your audience. The most recent example of this was the Supreme Court’s decision about the legalization of same-sex marriage. Dozens of brands took advantage of this to align their messages with their audiences in the context of the event.
The social media are an excellent way to invite customers to become committed to social causes, the executive said. This kind of communication adds value to the product, she explained.
“You have to remember that social media are communications mechanisms available to any person or business. Your message will have value if it is relevant. And you will be relevant if you meet a need,” Arraiza noted.
- Be careful with direct sales on social
Never forget that social media, although they certainly can be used for direct sales, are mainly focused on providing orientation and answering questions from user. “We’re talking about creating solutions and meeting customer needs. It’s not selling for the sake of selling,” she said.
To use social media appropriately, offer basic profile information, such as hours of operation, location and telephone number. If you want to generate sales, offer discounts on social media and share important content, such as photos and videos of the products or services.
Finally, what’s most important is to update your social media frequently and respond to questions or comments from users. This way, you can capitalize on your use of social media and give your customers a memorable interaction and experience.