One of the key differences for a business using social media as advertising instead of traditional marketing is that social media is, by definition, social. Whereas advertising in print, by radio, or on television is essentially a product pitch that screams, shouts, and sings at your audience, social networks allow you to interact with your audience. While some brands still use social media as a soapbox and do not engage with their fans and followers, using the features built into platforms like Facebook and Twitter will allow you to have conversations and gauge the attitude of your audience. This provides an opportunity to develop relationships with your audience, turning them into customers and clients who trust not only a specific service you sell, but the brand itself.
Interacting with the audience is critical for not only building a good reputation, but giving your fans and followers a voice. Being accessible and encouraging feedback gives your customers a feeling of ownership in the brand – even if it was a simple vote in the redesign of a product. When a customer feels like they have ownership in a brand or business, they are more likely to choose that business or product over a competitor’s — even if the other is priced better or is more available.
Be sure that when interacting with your fans and followers you take the time to be as open, honest, and fair as possible. While you may be inclined to pick and choose the easiest discussions to respond to or questions to answer, you may lose customers who fail to receive a response — especially if they see you interacting with others. Additionally, while you may receive some outlandish feedback, be sure to thank your customers for their suggestions — an acknowledgment that your business will take their suggestion into consideration is often enough to give that customer a feeling of ownership, which can have a significant and positive impact in your relationship with that consumer.