Social Media For Business

Looking at the digital marketing trends in Northern America, it will not be long before marketing in Asia will evolve and change from its current to a comprehensive combination of traditional marketing and a plethora of social media elements. 

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To convince the old school might not be a walk in the park, so I’ve gathered a few pointers on how to influence your board of directors or management or bosses on why social media is an important element to consider in today’s marketing efforts.

1. Building a list of customers, potential customers, prospective customers via social media

Use your existing website / social media assets to get website visitors to sign up for your mailing list.  No one wants to be on a mailing list for fear of spam, so keep it creative – instead of “Sign Up for Mailing List”,  you can opt for “Get a free report on how to double your revenue and reduce marketing spend by 50%” or “Your first purchase at 90% off… just enter your email here and we’ll email it to you”.  Remember to comply by CAN SPAM Act of 2003 in all your newsletters, you don’t want to get on the wrong side of law for being ignorant.  If you don’t have a dedicated personnel to manage your email marketing, go for one of the many hosted email marketing solutions that is easy to manage and subscriber management is an ease.  Trust me, the investment that goes into it far outweigh the benefits you reap from it.  Once you have a list of customers / potential customers / prospective customers, you can send informative newsletters, deals and information – so you get an engaged audience to promote to.

2. A two-way channel to listen and provide feedback

The truth hurts, and some companies choose to ignore constructive feedback or ‘listen less’ of such feedback, and assume that they are the minority.  With social media, even the minority’s voice can become major if not handled carefully.  People are talking and sharing thoughts/ideas/experiences all the time ~ you don’t want a multiplication effect for the wrong reasons.  So, listening is important, and social media can help you reach out to listen.  All these feedback are also important areas for you to understand how the market is behaving towards your product/services and even the changes that you have introduced.  Use it to your benefit and the tool that can help you is via social media.

3. Be in the loop of industry trends and discussions

Catch the latest news, discussion and industry trends via social listening.  You can use social media tools like what I’ve mentioned in my earlier post and of course other tools (that I’ve not mentioned) to ‘listen’ to real time conversations.  You have a chance to participate, put your opinion in or just simply listen.  Use those information to make business decisions and react to it.  You’ll be surprised and amazed by what you can learn just by listening.

4. Be an industry leader / influencer

Who doesn’t want to be anyway?  By listening to social media conversations, you also have an opportunity to ‘strike when the iron is hot’.  You can response and provide your views / thoughts on discussion topics, and most importantly get yourself recognized as an industry leader.  Get yourself out there to be heard and look at it as an opportunity to subtly promote yourself.  Look at all the large organizations and their leaders – do they keep quiet and to themselves all the time?  You see them participating in discussions (online and offline) very actively which gives them free PR, and that’s what you would want to achieve via social media.

Speaking from experience, I’ve also had my equal challenge convincing my previous management on the importance of digital marketing while it is still in its infancy in Malaysia.  Most equate social media as a selling tool, and expect zero investment simply because social media tools are freely available.  The investment of time and resources are the most valuable portion of social media and building engagement, trust and loyalty would be the eventual goal of social media strategies.

Social media for businesses is still in its infancy in Malaysia, however in the coming years the trend will catch on and we will see more businesses adopt it as they see their competitors hop into the bandwagon.  The question is when?

Written by chewmeiling

Chew Mei Ling is a marketing professional with a broad understanding of the different aspects of digital marketing, social media and offline marketing. She currently heads a global marketing department and loves learning new stuff via the web.

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