B2C Social Media Guidelines: Know and Love Your Audience
Working in social media is a funny thing. The common joke among my peers who don't understand it is that it couldn't be that hard as it only involves tweeting and facebooking all day. Maybe a few occasional cups of coffee in between water-cooler visits, right?
This theory (obviously) couldn't be way more off base. Social Media Management for both B2B and B2C clients are totally different beasts with totally different approaches. Today, I'm going to focus on B2C social media and offer some quick and easy guidelines to help you when managing an account. Let's look at a few, shall we?
Know Your Target Demographic
I know this is simple and to the point, but it really has to be emphasized. In order to effectively market to your clientele, you've got to know who they are. I cannot begin to tell you the number of businesses that come to a Marketing firm with an idea of their target demographic in mind that is a little off base. This can be easily corrected by doing even the smallest amount of research. We've all heard of "social listening" and how it can be effective. However, it goes beyond just seeing who's mentioning a company and in what fashion. In a way, you've got to analyze your customer and see what they are all about. Delving just a little into the psyche of your customer can really go a long way. For really getting into the nitty-gritty of this, I've found social listening tools such as Netbase and Radian6 work really well. Once you gain a deep understanding of who the customer is, it can give you a sense of tone. Appealing to the consumer's attitudes and beliefs can increase your client's market presence.
Respond to Your Followers
This obviously dives in to online reputation management a little bit. For some brands it may not be possible to reply to everyone who mentions you or has something to say, but you should try to respond to as many people as you can and engage the consumer whenever possible. Let's be honest here, consumers take to the internet for two reasons when they want to mention a business: they either love it or hate it. Sure, you're going to encounter a fair amount of trolls, but when problems do arise, it's easy to spot the difference between some dude who lives in his mother's basement and a person who may have had an unfortunate experience. By having a set of ORM guidelines in place with your client, you can typically respond to these people in order to correct a wrong by getting them in contact with the appropriate channels. Showing a consumer that a company actually cares about retention can create loyalists for a lifetime.
If someone says something complimentary or funny in social media, respond to it. Thank them. Let them know they were insightful. If they have a suggestion, let them know that the company will consider it. If you're more active on social media for a brand, then people are more likely to talk about your product. If they're more likely to talk about a product, then they're more likely to purchase a product, visit a restaurant and so on. Without a consumer, a business can't thrive. Therefore, it's imperative that a business listens to what their audience is saying.
Don't Spam People, It's Irritating
Yes, it's a digital world. Yes, visits to the website are important. But blast tweets, status updates, and posts about just how awesome a product is can get old and boring. Say something interesting. Provide a call to action. You want to spark a discussion between fans of a brand. Once the consumers get involved, even if they get off on a tangent - it's still positive for your brand. This differs quite a bit from B2B social media, because the goal in B2C is often not just to direct a consumer to a website (assuming it's not an Ecommerce business). You want to put bodies in the store to buy the product or in the restaurant to drink that award winning Margarita that the internet has been buzzing about. You can drive a consumer to a webpage, but if it's not an Ecommerce site, you have to make sure that after they're done with the webpage they have somewhere else to go. That business has got to make money, and you don't want the consumer spending their hard earned cash at a competitor, do you?
These Points Are Simple, Yet Effective
What I've spoken about today has only begun to scratch the surface and I know that these are really simple and basic guidelines to follow. However, if you don't understand the very basic steps, then your approach at B2C social media is going to be a nightmare. You're probably pretty social in a sense, otherwise you wouldn't have obtained your job in social media (duh). Therefore, go out there and have fun with it. I'm the kind of person who's never met a stranger - this should be a guideline for monitoring B2C accounts. We're all friends here, right? Now go forth and increase brand awareness and loyalty with your B2C accounts!