Real-time engagement and strategies are necessary for small and large businesses alike. Social media is increasingly becoming consumers’ go to avenue for contacts with companies. Instead of visiting official websites and looking for “contact us” forms, potential clients are stopping by Facebook pages or sending queries via Tweets. Unlike a contact email that usually comes with a 24 to 48 hour promise for a reply, the comments, questions and complaints through social media are live and visible immediately.
Here are six tips to best utilize in-the-moment marketing at your company:
Prioritize. There is simply no way to comment or respond to every online item that has a direct connection to your company – let alone the marginal ones. Decide what areas of focus are most important to your business success and address those in real time first. Create a hierarchy that outlines what comes next after the most important online issues are confronted, commented upon and highlighted.
Double-check. Mistakes are inherent when it comes to quick turnaround of any material but try your best to keep them at a minimum. If possible, have another set of eyes look over every status, Tweet or other online posting before they are live. If time is of the essence, read your posting aloud to yourself in order to catch any mistakes in content or grammar. It is far easier to make a correction on the front end than try to address it once other people have seen the error.
Act professionally. Unfortunately much of the interactive content online is negative, even aggressive, in nature. It is tough to sit back idly and think ‘the customer is always right’ while a disgruntled customer or client berates your business, especially if it is in an anonymous fashion. Remember that your reaction to negativity online reflects upon your company philosophy and brand image. Sometimes the best comment is conveyed privately or not dignified at all.
Stay out of it. When there is a debate going on about your company or one of its products or services, there is no reason to involve yourself in the conversation. Most times, another customer will come to your defense against negativity anyway and that is a more powerful endorsement than any official company stance. Know when customers are looking for outreach from you and when it is best to stay silent.
Empower. If every form of communication must have the approval of a company leader, you are sure to miss real time marketing opportunities. Give other employees that are in-the-know permission to act when there is a chance to maximize timely company outreach related to posts on your business or industry news.
Plan ahead too. Real time marketing is not all running around putting out virtual fires all day long. There are some opportunities that you can plan for in advance. These include upcoming events in your industry or the predicted passage of legislation that affects your company. Get geared up to implement your real time strategy the instant that it makes sense to do so. Planning ahead in these situations means less room for error and strength of information that benefits consumers.
A strong social media presence is necessary for an effective real time marketing plan which means that a solid base of followers is also vital. The more people that see your statuses, Tweets and blog posts in a timely fashion, the higher your credibility. Find ways to build up your following online and then roll out a strong strategy for real time marketing.
Megan Totka is the Chief Editor for ChamberofCommerce.com. Search the ChamberofCommerce.com directory to find local business providers and solutions.