At its heart, the best marketing is about identifying what your customer wants and delivering that service or product to them better than anyone else (and doing it profitably of course). Fine words Mr Marketing Textbook, but the problem has always been how to put that theory into practice without spending vast resources on market research, focus groups, customer events…Hardly a practical option for most small businesses.

Fortunately there’s a weapon lurking in the marketing cupboard, alongside those faded event invitations, novelty mailshots, business cards, branded mouse mats and golfing umbrellas: it is social media.
And here’s five reasons why you should consider turning your business into a ‘social’ one:

  1. Want to have a conversation with your customers and find out what they think about your services? Social media.
  2. Want to tell customers about a new product? Social media.
  3. Want to give customers the option to comment and shape the development of a new service? Social media.
  4. Want to manage a potential crisis? A product needs recalling? Your office is flooded and temporarily out of action? Social media.
  5. Want to drive more traffic to your website and improve your search engine ranking? Social media.

 

A cure for all ills?
Of course, social media is no marketing panacea. It can’t make a bad product into a good one (unless of course you listen carefully to that customer feedback and act on it), and it can’t prevent a crisis when your supplier lets you down (although it can help limit the reputational damage). But what it can do, for the first time, is give your business an almost unlimited and ongoing opportunity to take part in a genuine, two-way conversation with your existing and would be customers.

It’s those businesses that grasp the opportunity social media offers that will really prosper. And if you don’t take the chance to find out what your customers really, really want, rest assured that your competition will. They could be chatting to them right now.

What are you waiting for?