In 2012 social media networks grew to the tune of 1.2 billion users or 82.4% of the world’s online population. Seventy-three percent of Fortune 500 companies have an active Twitter account and 66% maintain a corporate Facebook page. According to J.D. Power and Associates’ 2012 Social Media Usage Study, more than 90% of online US Adults use a social media networking site.
That’s a lot of consumers to reach.
Social media now touches every part of a customer interactions from brand building to sales to customer service or feedback (good or bad). With so many touch points for reaching patients, having strong social media presence has an impact. However, being a relatively new and fluid marketing vehicle, there is, as of yet, no single best plan for handling your social media communications.
For their Power Insight report entitled Three Goals to Maximize Social Media in 2013, J.D. Power and Associates searched to discover consumer expectations for interacting with companies via social media. They conducted market research within the online community using an age and gender split to reflect the US online adult population. Based on study results, they identified three goals for companies wishing to develop and strengthen their communication with consumers.
Goal Number One: Use your social media site to bring value to your followers.
While its nice to be rewarded for participating in social media channels, providing a product or service discount is not enough, customers want value in their online social media relationships like early access to product information, entertaining content and solutions for their problems.
Goal Number Two: Don’t abuse the power of posting.
With so much noise already on the internet and so many channels vying for their attention, customers tune out sites that post too often or post uninteresting content. Posting simply for the sake of keeping your name under customer’s noses is a turnoff. Companies need to determine the types and frequencies of posts for their audiences and work far beyond trying to increase their number of “likes.” The best focus is to engage with followers in a meaningful way.
Goal Number Three: Let your followers know you’re there.
Study participants expressed the idea they weren’t always sure someone was truly listening to them on social media channels. There is no voice at the other end of the line or specific person accountable for their problem or question. Companies need to let customers know someone real is handling their social media site and wants to connect with them.
For a company, creating value in your social media channels takes time and effort, trial and error. It requires more than slapping up content at regular intervals. You need to take time to understand the culture and values of your audience to create interesting content based on their wants and needs.