Social media can do many things for your small business. It can help you generate qualified leads, reduce marketing expenses, increase search engine ranking and build brand advocates. There are plenty of statistics proving how effective social media is.
As powerful as social media can be, it is not the end-all, be-all solution for your business. Before you embark on your voyage into social media, it’s important to understand what social media can NOT do for you.
Substitute for a good marketing strategy
Turn a bad product or service into a good one
It doesn’t matter how much hype you generate in the blogosphere for your new product, if it’s a bad product, it’s a bad product. In fact, it will only make your product or service appear worse because you’ll have that many more people talking about how bad it is. You can use social media to crowdsource and generate ideas for improving your product, if you’re open to listening.
Provide a quick fix for a bad reputation
Social media is grounded in transparency and honesty. You can try to spin a negative story about your company, but it’s not going to work. Today’s online consumers are savvy enough to know what is spin and what’s not. You can use social media to begin telling your story in an authentic and sincere way.
Replace good customer service
There simply is no substitute for good customer service. If your company is using social media, it’s only a matter of time before you will find a customer service request on your Facebook wall or on Twitter. Failing to respond is simply publicizing poor service. If you’ve got a solid customer service policy in place, social media can be an avenue for delivering on your promise.
You can’t use social media cover ups to account for bad products or bad strategy. Social media should be considered an important part of your overall marketing strategy, but it shouldn’t be thought of as a silver bullet. Use it as something that it’s not and you may find yourself in a bad place. Use it wisely and reap the rewards of customer loyalty, engagement with your brand, and ultimately, sales.
Have you encountered companies using social media to cover something up, gloss over a bad product, or instead of providing true customer service? We’d love to hear your examples in the comments.