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How Your Business Can Engage Social Media Savvy Customers

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By Hayley James, Managing Director 

Right now it’s all about social media and digital. This is the message we are constantly receiving through media outlets, business leaders, our personal contacts and even our Prime Minister. An article by David Hickey, director of media intelligence company, Meltwater, in Australia and New Zealand,http://www.smartcompany.com.au shows us how we should take up social media through our businesses to gain maximum advantage with trends, news and promoting our goods and services. One in three Australians now reads the news on social media platforms first.

So what does this mean for our businesses. David, ” There is a big difference between actively speaking to your customers and being heard.” Many businesses still long to see their head slot in their daily newspaper and most fail to realise that the print mastheads no longer drive public opinion the way they once did. Changing media consumption habits in Australia reveals that businesses looking to grow their community should pay more attention than ever online and social media chatter when developing their business strategy.

David, ” A new study by Telsyte on the media consumption habits of Australians reveals that one in three regularly reads news first on social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter.

On top of that almost 60% of Australians over the age of 16 believe online news has become more influential than print. There’s a big wide digital world of information out there and those that know how to use it will find themselves with an unfair advantage over their slower competitors.”

Further, digital and social media must be central to your customer engagement strategy. No business no matter how small or big, can afford to be invisible online or on platforms like Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. Not only does this limit how your customer can reach you, it means you can’t engage with your customers either. Television and print are important, but they don’t offer the two way engagement necessary today to build true brand loyalty. David, ” Ultimately you’re missing out on valuable insights into your position in the market that you just can’t glean elsewhere. Businesses need to be listening to what the community is saying in real time, about them, their customers and the industry they operate in.”

David frames those ways in which small business can engage with digitally savvy customers and use online and social insights to shape a smarter business strategy.

Here are the methods:

Harness Social Media News Insights To Build Your Customers

There are billions of conversations happening across social media channels every day, many of which impact you, your competitors and your industry, and you need to be able to respond.

The first step is to be on top of the news that they are talking about. What are the topics of conversation? What are they saying about bigger competitors? Tweets, Facebook posts and Instagram comments tell you what your customers and future customers care about. And what they care about and post matters.

Facebook Is Your Friend. Don’t Shy Away From Direct Interaction

Customers today expect a two way interaction-and a fairly immediate one. Creating a community for your business a product requires a conversation and many of your customers will expect to be able to raise customer service or product issues via Facebook, Twitter and even Instagram these days whether you like it or not.

Embrace these fast, direct and meaningful channels of interaction and use them to make improvements where you can. Make sure your brand personality shines through on social media but take questions and complaints seriously. With the right dedication, these channels can really boost brand loyalty.

Go Digital To Amplify Your Message Globally

For a small business, the global reach of digital content can have direct implication for your local business strategy. From day one you can be a global brand. Your biggest customer advocates or influencers may be outside the local market.

Knowing who your local influencers are, both communities and individuals, is key and will help you allocate your resources most effectively to ensure the best return on any investment. Traditional mass media messaging is still popular amongst businesses but is losing its influence as customers spend more time on line in their personal and professional lives. This is not to say that traditional media messaging has become redundant, print media and broadcast television still play a significant role, although with reduced influence.

David, ” Understanding the rapidly changing media consumption habits in Australia is critical to any business that wants to engage in two way conversations with its customers. A digital savvy approach will keep your business agile and adaptable to new challenges and opportunities, setting you up for fast growth and increased brand awareness.” Knowing how to harness social media insights to detect key trends, understand your position in the market and reach the right influences will give you the upper hand over your competitors and help you scale your business fast and in the right direction.

This summary provides a wonderful cover on the development of social media and its impact on social media platforms. It shows us how we can communicate with our existing clients and find new ones. Research finds that more Australians are sourcing information through social media platforms. There is change in the way that businesses and individuals source their information, moving away from newsprint, as we have seen in this interchange.

Social media platforms not only allow us to interact with our customers, it also allows them to respond quickly. This interaction is more efficient and gets more done and in doing so gives us the opportunity to create more jobs. More Australians now realise that online information has replaced newsprint and is more influential. This trend will continue and pick up speed. Twitter, Facebook and Instagram are presently providing the main channels for these changes.

Two way engagement through these social media facilities is arguably the largest shift away from the old information systems to the new. It is not unreasonable to expect a quick reply to any proposals sent electronically. More interchange that moves fast provides more business and improvements to existing systems that may be slow to change.

When we start a conversation with a client or a number of interested people, then with our social media platforms in place we can expect that our services will be communicated effectively and brand loyalty will develop. These platforms also allow us to exist as a global entity and as such become a global brand through developing business outside our market.

Engage now and continue to engage through this medium – this is where our future lies.

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