These days businesses are feeling the effect of the fast paced technology boom we have all experienced in our lives. For a business owner it is a daunting task to figure out how to stay ahead of the curve and know how to use these new tools to help the business have more success.
One of these major tools is Social Media. With the advent of social media the way in which a business markets itself has changed dramatically. If you think about it, over 20 years ago when a business wanted to let people know they were in business you would run ads in the local newspaper or send out a mailer and have a spot in the phone book so people could find you. The goal was to help people become aware that they can shop with you. In the 90’s businesses were given the internet and websites as a way to help more people connect with you and learn about your business. With Social media a business can actually reach out and connect with its current customer base as well as future customers all the time.
The challenge for a business is to realize that how consumers shop is changed with these tools. Rather than have to call numerous competitors to find out who has the best deals customers just have to go to Facebook and ask their friends to recommend businesses to them. Gone are the days of looking for a company. Now it’s a matter of leveraging their network of online friends.
The part of this that most businesses have not caught on to is that with the improvement in the way people communicate it is harder for a business to not have good customer service and still stay in business. It is important for all business owners to recognize that potential customers can now talk with your current customers to learn if it is worth their time to do business with you. No sales pitch or sales or deals. Just the straight truth on if your customers like you. What this means for a business is that traditional marketing is losing it’s effectiveness. As a business you no longer control your message. Your customers control it.
Businesses that fail to realize this and do not work to provide customers with a great experience will find themselves struggling to succeed in this new reality. The companies that understand this realize that their best marketing is their current customer base. The questions to ask yourself is: Do my customers come back? What brings them back and stay loyal to us? What value do we offer our customers above and beyond pricing or deals? If we asked our customers to refer people to us would they?
Today it is important to be a part of the conversation and make sure we can provide value to customers before, during and after the sale is made. Social Media provides us with an amazing set of tools to accomplish this if we are willing to learn and adapt to them. How have you use social media in your business?