Look up a definition for social media and you’ll get a hundred different answers. Ask a group of marketing professionals and you’ll get a range of responses, from it being an advertising and marketing tool and others that tout its ability to position brands.
The one definition that I prefer to use is; social media is an online platform for interaction, relationships and networking. I believe this is social media in its purest and simplest form and, therefore, it’s very important to remember when developing strategies to engage your building product customers.
Effective social media is by, for and about your customer. And it cannot be delved into lightly. It demands a deep understanding of the cultural and social dynamics that drive this media form.
Social media shouldn’t be thought of as another channel to complement traditional media. It should be thought of as a platform for your entire customer experience, and in turn your entire marketing mix. More and more so it is becoming the primary way your customers experience your building product brand.
As a marketer of building products, it’s up to you to lead the organization in creating your brand’s social experience that delivers twofold: value to your customers and helps meet business goals.
Being social can serve a variety of purposes:
- Distributing content and building reputation (Lowest engagement)
- Customer service and support (More engagement)
- Managing influencers who are driving conversation around your brand (High engagement)
- Turning customers into brand evangelists (Deepest engagement)
In order to get the most out of your social platforms, you first have to understand how your customers will benefit from participating in your social conversations. And in order to understand this, you need to know what the primary drivers are for people to use social media:
- Self-expression and sharing (B2B translation: Exchange of information and expertise)
- Making and connecting with friends (B2B translation: Professional networking)
- Getting attention (B2B translation: Improve standing with management and colleagues)
Your social media program needs one, two or all three of these benefits to truly be successful. The more you are able to connect with your customer emotionally, the more time he or she will spend with your building product company and connect more deeply with your brand. If you are not providing at least one of these, you aren’t harnessing the true power of this medium.
PHOTO CREDIT: photo by Gellscom on flickr