What key questions should marketers ask before they decide whether to participate in social media?

It may be hard to believe, but there are people out there who do not have any social media accounts. Setting up various social media accounts is probably more daunting for marketers than someone just using social networking for fun. Marketers also cannot simply set up accounts for their brand on a whim. Proper SOP (Standard Operating Procedures) must be followed with executives, the CEO, etc. If marketers get the ok, they then must critically think of what to put out there to promote the brand. Would consumers be drawn to their social media sites? Below are five questions that I think are very crucial for marketers to think about before entering the social media network:

1. Will their presence in social media help or hinder their brand?

Simply put, will the marketer contribute to productivity/success by reaching out in social media or will their site flop? A marketer will need to bring credible information and promotions to the plate for their brand to build customer loyalty on the social networking front. All marketers should know the three P’s of marketing: product, price, and promotion. Same idea holds true for creating awareness through social media. A marketer needs to effectively capture description of products, prices, and promotions to their customers. It’s all about making that first step in social media, which will essentially make or break a brand. No pressure.

2. Will they respect feedback from consumers/varying customers and respond professionally?

Another way of saying: do not simply write off negative feedback from someone. There are many educated and constructive people out there. Treat your customers/fan base fair. People are not stupid. A lot of people have great ideas; a brand needs to learn to take in constructive criticism and sift through these ideas to make themselves better than what they were before. With that being said, marketers need to respond to suggestions or questions in a timely manner. They must follow their business code of ethics and respond professionally at all times. A social media site under a company’s name represents the company image.

3. Is it clear who the social media representative is in the company?

Is it easy for someone to identify who to reply to? Did the marketers set up more than one account on the same site? It is easier for someone to “reply” or leave feedback just on one page or profile. Don’t try to confuse your potential customers. Keep it simple.

4. Does your company have a budget to hire social media experts to devise a strategy?

If a band of marketers are experts on social media, does the company have the proper budget to assign tasks? Each marketer should focus what they need to complete to be most efficient. Only social networking experts should be kept on to work on the social media side of the company. Do not complicate this department with another. Social media experts are there for a reason: a small “think tank” could devise the best strategies for a brand.

5. Do your employees know the proper time to promote your brand?

There is a time and place for everything. Some companies have strict street dated products or material. Marketers need to know when to promote something and when not to. An employee cannot talk about a new product, service, or idea that is not released yet. For example if a retail store puts new products on display a day early, that store could risk losing business between the vendor and their store. Do you think Apple wants to give away all of their ideas in one day? Respect release dates.

-John

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