Take the complexity out of interacting with your customers
By Erika DiProfio
Erika DiProfio is the instructor of Social Media Strategies for Business in the Marketing Certificate Program at SDSU’s College of Extended Studies. She has more than 15 years of in-house and agency public relations and marketing experience, and is the director of marketing for Omni La Costa Resort & Spa. DiProfio has a degree in Communications and Public Relations from SDSU.
“Focus on how to BE social, not on how to DO social.” – Jay Baer
It seems everyone and their great grandmothers are using some form of social media. Brands must be social or they become irrelevant. But is social media as complicated as it’s made out to be? No.
Social media isn’t a mystical creature. Simply talk WITH your customers, not AT them. Use conversations with your customers to turn them into an army of advocates who tell others about your product or service. Engage in a conversation with your customers and really hear what they have to say.
Treat social media as a fundamental of marketing and you will be successful. If you can hold a conversation with someone about your company/product/ service, you can be social. And if you’re involved on any level in customer service for your company/product/ service, you can be social.
Sure. Social media can be leveraged in great ways. Creative tactics such as contests, boosted posts, user-generated content, and engaging videos are always cited as best practices. These initiatives will help start the conversation. But it’s up to the company to nurture the relationship and keep the dialogue going.
Measurement is also important for several reasons. It’s always nice to present success stories and metrics to the C-suite so they feel comfortable with the time and effort the marketing team puts into communicating with customers. And tracking what’s working and what isn’t is important so you can adjust your strategy in real time.
While some of these things may at some point require an “expert” or partner to bring creativity and analysis to the table, it doesn’t mean being social requires much more than an authentic conversation.
Social media “gurus” are a dime a dozen. They pitch companies on their arduous process of DOING social media and explain with a bunch of jargon how it should be left up to the “experts.” Leaders of small and large companies buy into this approach and hand over their most important relationship – the relationship with their customers.
Don’t over-complicate social media. It’s sometimes as easy as asking a question, taking your customers behind the scenes using photos, or encouraging followers to share their thoughts and ideas about your product. Take the complexity out of talking with your customers.
“Erika DiProfio’s course [Social Media Strategies for Business] was extremely valuable as it further built upon my understanding of marketing, and the importance of a social media strategy. I went into the program expecting to learn best practices from a real-world instructor, and I did. I learned how to draft a social media strategy for use at my current job, and how to quantify its ROI. Erika taught the importance of ‘humanizing’ a brand, and how social media is integral in doing that. Also, honesty and transparency are key in social media strategy.”
– Aaron Krueger
“I enjoyed the convenience of the classes [Creating the Marketing Plan & Defining and Positioning a Brand]. They were practical, timely, and relevant, with experienced instructors who worked in local companies, doing what they were teaching. The biggest takeaways were what factors to consider when developing a brand, and how rating statistics and ad pricing are used to predict and measure the effectiveness of an ad campaign.”
– Ian Cook, Analyst, Cubic Corporation
“I did sincerely enjoy the professor; he was engaging and it was refreshing to be presented information from someone who is currently in the industry and has built his own agency. I also found the class [Defining and Positioning a Brand] to be a great networking opportunity; not only was the information educational, but getting to know the other professionals in my class was almost just as beneficial. I now recognize many at industry and networking events that I attend and it’s nice to see a friendly face.”
– Lauren Holt, Marketing & Communications Coordinator, BBB
“I signed up for the Social Media Strategies for Business course in hopes of gaining knowledge that I could apply to my position as office supervisor at SDSU’s Mission Bay Aquatic Center. I took on the responsibility of overseeing our social media platforms and wanted to learn creative ways to promote our programs while connecting with customers. This class taught me applicable strategies for managing our social media posts and the importance of having a social media presence online. With the experience and knowledge that I gained from this course, shortly after completion I was promoted to office & marketing supervisor, and I am now responsible for all of our online and social media marketing.”
– Amanda Burgess, Office Supervisor, SDSU’s Mission Bay Aquatic Center