Are you suffering from social media anxiety? Are you afraid to open up yourself or your business to the social world? Although we all can agree that social media has established itself as viable marketing vehicle, I still work with some clients afraid to take the plunge.
Social Media platforms are growing bigger than countries. In terms of population, Facebook would be the largest country in the world behind China and India. The scaling of new media applications can cause anxiety to the digital marketing novice. But the only way to get over fear is by facing it. Here are some things you can do to alleviate your social anxiety:
1. Overcome Fear
So you understand the benefits (and detriments) social engagements can have on your business but you fear all the possible negative outcomes. This state of confusion can cause dizziness, depression and dry mouth. However, no need to seek medical advice. I have a proven remedy that will help you through this phase.
I understand there is still fear of social media in the business community. Based on my conversations with organizations, here are the top four fears I discovered:
- Fear of not being on social media while trolls, detractors, and haters are talking about your product or service. Giving bad reviews and telling horror stories to thousands of friends.
- Fear that saying the wrong thing on social media will have an unintended backlash that can plummet sales and destroy your rand image.
- Fear of the amount of work needed to monitor and management social engagements such as content creation, post approval, and developing a strategy.
- Fear that doing social means being social and opening up yourself to the world and everything that comes along with doing so.
These fears are valid; however, the benefits of engaging in social media far outweigh the risks and should be considered a bonafide marketing investment.
Once you understand the capabilities of social media and how it contributes to your bottom line, you will overcome fears and make the necessary investments.
The first step is something that we all know how to do–be human! Humanizing your brand will do wonders as this is naturally what your consumers expect.
They prefer a human interaction with your brand over all else. Be transparent. Show them your softer side. Have them connect with your brand personally.
One way to do this is to…
2. Listen to Customers
The biggest challenge when engaging in social is not whether you can master the technology or not annoy your customers. Its whether you are accomplishing your business goals.
In my opinion, social media is THE best market research tool on the planet and it will most certainly help with achieving your business goals. It provides opportunities for market research, customer support, product innovation, brand management and sales.
Listening is one of the most important things you can do when developing a marketing strategy as it helps with your social intelligence.
Why? Because your consumers are consistently chatting about products and brands they like all over social media.
This chatter can help you create and market new uses for your product (think Clorox Bleach for cleaning toilets), gauge sentiment from a recent marketing campaign, or identify customer services issues quickly.
As your consumers participate in social media, they will provide you with valuable clues and information about their opinions which can shape your marketing communications.
Also, their social chatter can help companies understand how consumer buzz is shifting and if their brand image matches what they wish to convey.
Need a list of social media tools? You can find them here.
3. Engage with Customers
It’s easy to engage with people we don’t care much for. Little thought goes into what we say or do in that interaction. However, its human nature to get a bit nervous when engaging with people we feel are important. Perhaps this adds to the fear of social media. Since, your core following have opted into engaging with your brand on this platform, it is now up to you to keep them engaged. You, along with all the other brands they like, must keep your brand at the top of mind.
The ONLY way to successfully execute this in the social sphere is by establishing quality engagements.
I would define quality social engagements as ones that meet the objective of your business and consumer. One that contributes to the betterment of your customer and your bottomline. One that isn’t barred with self-interest.
Remember: Sharing is caring and giving is great! Help your consumers solve their problems. Identify their pain-points and show them how your product or services will help.
Convert your Customers
Traditional consumer engagements through TV, Radio and Print are less stressful as these platforms are maintenance free. They are platforms where advertisers pay to align marketing messages with content produced by these outlets. This is a turn-key solution that involves nominal effort to maintain.
However, the success of any campaign on these outlets directly correlates to the amount of money used to drive these campaigns (i.e. bigger bandwidth, bigger reach). These campaigns also engender limited customer engagement as advertisers must piecemeal ROI reporting to gauge campaign efficacy.
Now let’s consider engaging via social media. Now the advertiser can influence potential customers at every stage of their purchasing decision to convert them. No need to spend loads of money on traditional advertising tactics hoping to convert customers. You must understand how social media has shaped the way consumers make purchasing decisions.
Now you must be nimble and adapt your marketing approach so you can truly leverage the power of social media.
As social media communications increase, the value of traditional marketing communications decrease. In traditional marketing theory, consumers are driven into an awareness phase from advertising activities. They proceed through purchase stages such as consideration, preference, and actions to become buyers. However, these traditional steps give marketers little control and influence over what happens in the middle stages.
This is where social media is key!
So, if you still fear engaging in social media for your business because of all the potentially negative things it comes with, understand that if you’re not engaging you are losing potential customers and potential profits. Nothing should be scarier than that!
Do you use social media for your marketing now more than ever before? Tell us about it.