The traditional image of marketing is of a one-way street. Companies tell consumers what they have to offer, why they need it and how beneficial it will be to them. However, with the rise of social media, a different type of etiquette needs to be practiced. You will find that, rather than a one-way street, social media is all about creating two-way conversation. There are some significant differences there that need to be explored.
Two-Way: This means that information flows from you to the consumer, but also from the consumer to you. You have to be prepared for this. People expect you to listen to them. If you do not, then you will see very few results from social media.
Conversation: If you were paying attention, you noticed that the first paragraph stated “two-way conversation,” rather than marketing or some other term. This is because you are creating conversation between you and your customers. You are not browbeating them with incessant commercials or marketing material. You must converse with them, and they will leave you if you do not.
It’s Not About You
While it might seem a bit strange to long-time marketers, social media really isn’t about you. It’s not about your company, your products, your brand or your profitability. It’s about your customers and what you can do for them. It’s about learning from your customers, about accepting feedback (positive and negative) and building a relationship with your customers.
Respond to Messages
In the past, most people thought of companies as faceless corporations, with no personality and no character. However, social media enables you to lose that unflattering image and emerge as a business that consumers respect and like. However, you have to take the time to respond to your consumers for this to happen. If you receive comments on a blog post, respond. If you receive comments on Facebook, respond. If you receive a tweet on Twitter, respond.
At its heart, social media (and all of Web 2.0 for that matter) is about generation real, direct conversation between individuals and between individuals and businesses. If you fail to understand this and act on it, then your business will fail.
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