re·fined

Knowing your market: a critical element in your social media success

A few weeks ago, we talked about some easy steps for social media success.  We’ve gotten a lot of great feedback on that post – so much, in fact, that we wanted to elaborate a bit more on some of the steps.  Today, we’re starting at the beginning, with knowing your brand and market.
 

I’ve worked with many different brands in a variety of capacities within the social media space.  From Trackur customers, to business owners seeking advice for their own social profiles, to charities looking to expand their reach.  [highlight color=” yellow”]My most common challenge?  Knowing enough about a product or market well enough to effectively promote it.[/highlight]  Niche markets can be quirky, with challenges including industry-specific terminology and slang, specific product knowledge, and customer personality types, just to name a few.image concept of a good marketing strategy

Social media can be tricky for many of the same reasons, so how do you combine successful social media practices and great brand-specific customer service?  Ideally, you pair an amazing brand with a great social media consultant for guidance.  Most small businesses don’t have the time or the budget to dedicate a full salary to social media management.  Most consultants don’t have the time or the budget to learn a client’s business inside and out before they even begin interacting online.  The best solution?  Collaboration.  Let each member of the team do what they do best.  Have a social media savvy staff member or consultant set up social profiles and handle regular posting and reputation issues, but leave product-specific posts and responses to the industry pros.

I very recently had a first-hand experience with this.  My husband has a business selling (some very specialized) products online.  Being knee-deep in social media every day, I offered to help with the social side of the business.  (Sounds like a train wreck, doesn’t it?  Free consulting for your spouse?  Seriously, something must be wrong with me.)  We both learned very quickly that there are two key elements in shared social media management: communication and trust.  Despite the fact that I am his wife (insert joke here), it was still hard for him to trust me to run wild on the Internet with his baby business.  I, on the other hand, had to trust him to not go rogue on Facebook or write fake reviews in an effort to make himself look good.  As someone who works in reputation management, these are two of my worst nightmares.

It’s been a very enlightening experience for both of us, especially coming from a consulting perspective – really knowing who you’re hiring to be the personality of your business online is imperative not only to the success of your business, but also to your ability to sleep at night as a business owner.  Knowing how much stock he put into my ability has made me more sensitive to the apprehension other clients must face when turning over their livelihood to perfect strangers.  You really need to be able to trust that a consultant’s reputation is accurate, and that you’ll get what you’re paying for.  From a consultant standpoint, it’s made things even more clear to me how critical it is to learn any jargon or lingo specific to a customer’s industry or culture, in addition to knowing when to step aside and let them take the wheel.