The steady rise of social media just about all over the world has (for better or for worse) effectively changed the very face of marketing as we know it today.
As a matter of fact, the old tried and tested ‘ BTL (below the line) and ATL (above the line)’ activities just simply no longer hold people in the kind of thrall, that they used to before. This is in spite of the really heavy budgets that different marketing departments from a number of companies (ranging from telecommunication sector to the FMCG market) still try to allocate towards such activities in order to make sure that they remain relevant in an increasingly more contested marketing space.
Today, various corporations are in the process of quickly losing their market share, at least as far as their terms of engagement viz-a-viz their target markets, are concerned. Yes, it is most certainly true that absolutely massive branding campaigns still have a place in the grand scheme of things, especially when it comes to new product launches and brand awareness campaigns. However, as of now, the initiative is slowly but surely flowing from the erstwhile marketer to their consumers who are now quite willing and able to initiate conversations that are based on their own highly specific demands, Instead of the products that the companies want them to purchase.
o The ever rising role of social media in the world of marketing today
There was a time when social media was once taken as a fringe activity that would fade into oblivion, but many people who thought so, were proved completely wrong. Especially, if we take into account the fact that it is an extremely valuable commodity and becoming a veritable replacement of the mainstream mass media. This sentiment can be backed up by consumers everywhere now looking at social media as an effective means of successfully eliminating both pre as well as post-purchase dissonance, whenever they make an expensive purchase.
Here, it is pertinent to note that the days when the various popular channels of communication were decidedly one-dimensional in terms of their advertising pitches, with many different companies broadcasting their own POV (point of view) via TV as well as the mainstream print media, too. Now social media thanks to the ready availability of 4G technology as well as the proliferation of smart devices has given the end customer a voice and a very vocal one at that.
While it is certainly true that the typical social media post might not have the overall authenticity of their mainstream media counterparts as such, but nonetheless these are news and views that are decisively shaped by our fellow peers. Indeed, this is precisely why they are far more easily believed by the potential customer and also shared and re-shared to the point that they go ‘viral’.
o Social media Vs. the mass media
In many ways, social media has become a veritable bonanza for many net-savvy social media marketers who are now all too easily able to tap onto various social media platforms and help their client company gain really impressive results. These results are being provided with far less resources that might have been required for either of mass marketing’s favorite BTL or ATL activities. Actually, this is only possible because of the fact that customers who are online all the time (which is easy, because just about everyone now sports a 3G/4G capable smartphone) might easily ignore the brand’s message regarding its products. However, these potential customers may be far more inclined to take actual real-world decisions regarding any really important and expensive purchase based on the ‘virtual impression’ the product (and by extension, the brand has) has on social media.
o Resolution of real-world problems via social media
The above is only possible if the interaction that the social media marketers and specialists have with their customers includes the quick resolution of any and all problems in real time, rather than on chat windows alone.
Unlike a real-world call center, social media interactions regarding product features and complaints in real time are also open for everyone. This includes potential customers to both see and subsequently evaluate the problem.
These people may then go on to share their own personalized feedback on the brand’s page/account for everyone to see; up close and personal. This is a critical time for the company. Because its reactions are under observation. If it leads to complete customer satisfaction, the end result will almost certainly be greater and more positive brand association. This in turn, will lead to higher sales and customer satisfaction, leading to a win-win situation for all concerned parties.
o The ‘other side’ of social media customer care and interaction
However, there is a dark side to social media as well and it is absolutely imperative to both understand and realize that there is huge price to pay for not giving a social media customer the care and interaction they deserve. If the customers get angry, they will almost certainly end up ‘sharing’ their frustration on their individual accounts and groups that they participate in, where everyone will be free to see and share it on their feeds, as well. Moreover, they can also write really negative comments on the company pages that are open for all to see.
This is why hiring well-trained specialists who have the requisite skill and expertise to be able to adequately respond to customer queries are an absolutely truly priceless asset for the whole company. This is due to the fact that the really satisfied customer will always look at the company and its products in a favorable light, writing about them in glowing terms, thereby effectively enabling the company to leapfrog over the competition, in the rush to grab market share.
by Bobby J Davidson
We love our company and we love what we do. Check out the ‘Why Percento‘ page to learn more: Love of Technology and Business! As the President of Percento Technologies International, I provide day-to-day leadership to the company’s senior management and I am personally involved in the strategy, business development and sales activities of the firm.
The company was founded in 1999 with the purpose of providing a one call source for organizations in need of Enterprise IT Consulting and Management. We also provide a line of products in the boutique Cloud Server space with a touch of high-end website strategy consulting and design services. We personalizes the IT Service experience with a team approach, working with clients from diverse sectors of industry, including energy services, financial, legal, entertainment, healthcare, hospitality, retail and general and/or corporate business. percentotech.com/contact
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