With so much hype surrounding social media sites like Twitter and Facebook, it’s difficult to determine if and how such activities can help your business. Are these stories actual news? Or are they exaggerated accounts to generate more interest?
In all honesty, we don’t know for sure. But what we do know is that there is great potential for social media to enhance your business in ways you may not have thought of. We decided to poll some of our successful clients who have taken advantage of Nexternal’s integration with Twitter and Facebook, to see what they were doing and if it was enhancing their business model.
We found three compelling ways that our very own clients were using to leverage social media:
1. Direct Product Promotions
For Vegan Essentials, a vegan-owned cruelty-free retailer, involving social media in their marketing efforts has resulted in a direct increase in sales as well as fostering a more “caring” image with their customers.
The Vegan Essentials representative we interviewed reports:
“We have seen a definite increase in sales since going with social media options for promoting our products and specials. The viral nature of how one simple note about a promotion can spread like wildfire and reach new potential customers in minutes has changed the game for advertising, and we’ve been able to increase sales by a fair margin while slashing our advertising budget by 30% over the past 5 months. It’s a very valuable tool to use, and businesses that have not gone that direction yet are definitely missing out.”
Creating product promotions specifically geared for social media outlets is not only a great way to create buzz for your products, it also allows for an easier way to track how social media is directly affecting your sales. Many companies give up on Facebook and Twitter because they don’t see a direct correlation between their social media efforts and an increase in sales. However if you’re able to track product sales that resulted from an online promotion, the pay-off is much more apparent.
2. Customers as Customer Service Personnel
People talk. And given a chance, customers will talk to other customers about you and your products. DiNotte Lighting, an innovator in LED bicycle and recreational lights, has always valued its personal touch when it comes to dealing with customers. They view social media as a natural extension of this personalized approach.
Says a DiNotte representative, “We do believe it will be a tool for customers to seek answers from other customers, reducing overall customer service questions.”
Imagine an open forum where existing customers can recommend products to prospective customers, or answer technical questions about products they own. Your own staff would be freed up that much more to focus on other tasks. Such is the potential power of social media.
3. The Voice of Your Customers
For Simple Truths, a retailer offering unique gift books that anyone can read in less than 30 minutes, social media is a way to tap into the collective consciousness of their customer base. One Simple Truths representative told us, “I have a sense of what topics are relevant to them, and I can see how our efforts do make a difference.”
One important aspect of business success is knowing what your customers want. By leveraging social media, you can gain valuable perspective that might otherwise be hidden to you. Additionally, opening a dialogue with your customer base gives your company a personality that they can perceive. “People love our social media presence, and appreciate the opportunity to ‘talk back’,” says the Simple Truths rep. “I personally feel more connected to our customers.”