Social Media: A Whole Bunch of Donuts

Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Tumblr, are all common social media platforms you might be familiar with. What is social media? According to Moz social media is “a way for people to communicate and interact online.” Here are social networks explained through donuts:

social media explained in donuts

There are three types of social channels:

  1. Owned – blogs, forums, homegrown social networks that are owned and fully under your control instead of having a page on a parent platform
  2. For Rent – Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr – having a presence or a portion of a channel on a parent platform
  3. Occupied – no ownership of any kind – for example forums or communities sites that can be changed at any time

So why is social media important for businesses?

  • Customers are on social media – get closer to them and reach more people
  • Potential to build valuable networks – opportunities to make lasting and scalable relationships with customers
  • Promotes customer advocacy and loyalty through continuous and positive engagement
  • Abundant amounts of information can be derived from what customers share on social media – provides valuable customer feedback
  • Customers are actively looking for and sharing information, recommendations and entertainment
  • Helps build an image for your brand

Here are some infographics from Moz, that further show how involved people are on the internet, and how prominent social media is in people’s lives. Therefore proving why it is necessary for business to have an online presence to be successful.

If Facebook were a country, it would be the world's 3rd largest (after China and India) and 3.5x the size of the U.S. population. 75% of brand 'Likes' come from advertisements.  72% of online adults use social networking sites.92% of companies use social media for recruitment.9 billion photos are uploaded to Facebook each month.

Twitter is adding 300K users per day.
Customer advocacy is the best kind of marketing for a brand. According to Moz, “advocacy is the nirvana of social media.” Having continuous and positive engagement with customers builds relationships, earning customer advocacy. Advocacy isn’t something that can be bought, it has to be earned. This is important for a brand because it shows the company is doing things right, and doing things so good that people want to share and talk about it with others.
Whole organizations can benefit from the feedback that social media can offer. Here’s how:
  • Content Creation: there should be 3 types of content made for customers
    1. Learn & Improve – content that optimizes workflow, usually through education or assistance
    2. Explore & Discover – content that produces ideas and community – content that is creative and might offer new ways to use your product
    3. Question & Answer – content that meets customer support needs and provides solutions to users problems
    • Examples of content:
      • Adjacent content – relevant topics that your audience are interested in
      • Tips & Tricks – content that makes customers’ lives easier
      • Responses – share ideas from other people
      • Non-promotional company information – personalize and humanize your brand – if your company does volunteer work, etc.
      • Job openings – people actively search for jobs online, take advantage of it, social media is a perfect channel to do so
      • Jokes – humor based on your brand’s personality – this can be a tricky one because jokes may not be appropriate for what your brand embodies, and may come off as offensive. Use with caution!
  • Customer Service: often people complain on social media versus contacting you directly. By listening and engaging with customers, you can prevent those angry status updates or posts
  • Product Development: “If I had asked the people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses” – Henry Ford
    • Create beta/tester communities – group of power users in a online community where they can talk, engage and network in conversations you facilitate, offering insight on your brand
    • Listen for competition – listen for product feedback, analyze attitudes and identify problems, and for what customers are saying about the competition
    • Measurement – get insight on products through analytics and traffic of social channels
  • Human Resources: social media can motivate employee engagement, assist in recruitment and support retention.

When deciding on how to frame your business case, consider these questions:

  • What are your objectives?
  • What problems are you solving?
  • What is rationale?
  • What resources will this effort require?
  • What type of investment is needed?
It is important to keep in mind your brand personality, what your brand stands for, your differentiating factors, value proposition and defining brand elements. Sometimes things go wrong and there has to be some crisis management. For example, US Airways accidentally tweeted an inappropriate picture in response to a customer. You can further read about that recent incident in this article from Forbes. When dealing with crisis management, Moz provides a short and sweet infographic of the the stages to be aware of:
social media crisis management
more friends facebook southpark gif
southpark finding new friends gif

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