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“Social Media 101”

==Published on TechLeader.co.za==

Social media is almost as ubiquitous as the cellular phone (if it isn’t, it will be soon).

The widespread ease of setting up your business in the social universe and the inherent low cost in doing so, has spawned many attempts both successful and some not so — by businesses trying to harness the power of social media.

Before venturing down that road, it’s crucial to establish your goals and this needs to be done before you even develop a strategy of how to get there. Ask yourself these questions:

1. How will we build awareness?

2. How will we increase market share?

3. How will we generate leads?

4. How will we make a sale/s?

5. How will we interact with our base?

6. How quickly will we act on an interaction or query?

7. Will we be able to make internal changes based on customer interactions, if need be?

8. How will we reach new channels of customers?

9. How will we increase our customer base?

10. How will we integrate our activity on the social networks with the company at large?

11. Are you ready to handle negativity?How will you respond?

12. How will you measure results?

This is by no means an exhaustive list of questions and you can add as many as you wish — the goal here is to start your own internal discussion around these points, get used to discussion and debate as this is an important element of social media.

Too many businesses approach social media from a purely marketing or PR perspective, which is a recipe for failure in the long term. Social media involves constant engagement and communication with your market and this requires focusing your efforts firstly on the communication element, integrating a more customer-centric approach and enabling a higher level of customer support by leveraging social media channels.

This not only increases the brand equity of your business but makes it that much easier to introduce the marketing and PR element into the mix because your customers or potential customers will already be a lot more receptive.

When you meet someone for the first time at a party, do you try and sell them one of your company products or benefits? Generally you try and build up some kind of initial relationship, if possible — build trust and the rest will follow.

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