Why do you use social media?
What do you want to gain from your social media platform? What’s the ROI?
What can Facebook or Twitter or GooglePlus do to raise your profile? How can you use Instagram or Pinterest or Tumblr to get people to notice your brand and increase sales?
These are some of the questions I often hear revolving around the social media space. And I’ve often discussed these with clients.
But what if they’re the wrong questions?
We often approach social media wearing our marketing, promotions or sales hats. But it’s wise for brands and organisations to remind themselves of the role that social media plays in people’s lives.
We know that people:
- are spending increasing amounts of time on social media while traditional media consumption (as in newspaper circulation and free-to-air television viewing) is diminishing in the face of massive competition and choice
- can easily take to social media to support causes, encourage activism, complain about brands and customer experiences and demand change
- can be newsbreakers, first on the scene to broadcast observations or photographs
Anyone with a social media account can be a ‘citizen journalist’, thought leader and influencer. It’s incredibly exciting and unpredictable and inspiring. And that’s why social media is so compelling and of interest to brands and organisations.
Social media platforms represent an unprecedented opportunity for organisations to listen to the community. Social media is rich with public opinion, conversation, feedback, ideas and inspiration.
Make sure that you’re not always approaching social media with your Promotions Hat on. When you’re trying to ‘make a case for using social media’, listening is a good way to start. It’s simply good business if you:
- listen to what your stakeholders / customers / community is saying
- listen to what’s happening in your industry
- listen to what your competitors are saying
Of course, we know that not all of your stakeholders are on social media. Maybe a lot of the conversation is locked away in spaces you can’t access. But themes and issues relevant to you will rise on mainstream networks from time to time.
If you’re not even aware of how to use social media, if you don’t have your own accounts to enable you to listen, your own access and gateways … then you’ll be a long way behind.