Just a few short years ago you would have been told that if your business or operation is not online then it might as well be invisible. That’s never been truer, but these days it doesn’t just end there. For the current generation, featuring some people who are in some really influential positions, the whole internet is basically the social media platforms they use.
Facebook’s Graph Search feature is terrible, for example, but it’s the only way through which many people search for anything under the sun. So nowadays it’s a matter of if your business is not on social media then it might as well be invisible. It’s crazy to have to think about modern browsing practices, such as the fact that some internet users don’t even visit the website you would have listed on a social networking platform page you created for your business, rather expecting to get all the information they think they need on the social networking platform! It’s crazy but true, to the extent that some of these users see your page as incomplete or they see your business as not having provided enough information for them to go on in their consideration of giving you their business.
In light of this, the social media strategy you should adopt to stay with the times is one which caters to your presence, your engagement with your subsequent audience, and reputation management.
Segmenting your social media presence
Even though some people live out their entire lives on social media platforms and don’t care to browse anywhere beyond what the likes of Facebook has to offer them, it’s still important to separate your social media presence from your primary online presence – i.e. your website. Sure, Facebook in particular can now function as a full e-commerce solution with the marketplace effectively allowing you to construct your own buying-and-selling portal on their site, but what if they decide to ban you for some reason or what if they experience some technical issues which severely affect your operation?
Also, for all that what is effectively a CMS solution offers, it can never match a free-standing website with regards to the level of customisation you have access to. You’d only be limited to what they allow you to do. So for these reasons it’s very important to segment your social media presence by not just merely creating one page and then running everything through that one page. If you can, create a page for each division, product or service, within reason of course.
So if for example I have a financial services business, I would perhaps only create a page on Facebook which deals with customer queries instead of one which advertises the full complement of the services I have to offer.
Practicing swift engagement
If you’re going to be doing the bare minimum as far as a social media presence goes, make the page you create for your business one which is dedicated to engaging with existing clients and prospective clients. Even if you have direct channels through which clients can perhaps complain or even send you some constructive criticism, understandably so (for the public appeal), clients will elect to engage you publically, especially if there are some public issues which appear to affect many other customers as well.
So practice swift engagement. If that’s what it takes then hire a dedicated team of two or three Social Media Representatives who can take it in turns/shifts to answer questions and handle queries as and when they come in.
Managing your social media reputation
Going back to the need to segment your social media presence, sometimes no matter what you do or how well you do it you can get some negative feedback which can really affect business. This is why it’s important to practice separation of as many units that come together to make up your business as possible. A department store with a presence all across the country can save the reputation of the brand name by isolating incidents such as bad customer experiences and attributing them to a specific fanchisee or even a specific employee if the need calls for it, something which would otherwise prove to be really difficult if the brand is being rated and reviewed as a whole for each isolated incident.