Helping Your Customers Understand Social Media

As a workplace educator in the province of Nova Scotia, I see a lot of business owners trying to understand how social media will improve their business. Social media is still so new that the warranty is still not off it. Many businesses are still waiting to see what social media will do for them.

Businesses need to know why they will be using social media. They need to understand that by adopting social media because someone else is doing it, or because someone said that you had to do it, is ridiculous. There must be a clear goal for using social media.

As social media consultants, we should be aware that many businesses are struggling with technology and many of the terms we use everyday are foreign to them. Even saying the word “Twitter” amongst a group of business owners will surely get you a smile. We need to help them bridge the gap. Not only that, as consultants, we need to be above reproach as we work with businesses. I recently heard a story of a web designer wanting to charge a customer four hours to embed a YouTube video into their web site. This type of tactic is certainly not going to win hearts and minds. When we deal with our customers around social media, we need to always take the high road. Not because it is easy, but because it’s the right thing to do. This is an essential point of working with social media. Customers can tell when something is not right.

Now regarding social media essentials, we as consultants must not assume that business owners are in a place where they understand the “Why” or the “How”. We will have to explain the “Why” message and show them why they will be investing their time and effort. We need to show them how to use social media to get starting off properly as well. For many businesses, social media marketing is relatively inexpensive, but there is still the time factor that has to be taken into account. Furthermore, businesses need to see social media as a long term marketing tool that compliments what they are already using, such as E-mail marketing and radio. Giving the customer the idea that social media is the silver bullet that will solve all their marketing woes is deceitful at best.

When you are working with a business, please make sure you take extra time to show them where key locations for controls are, and show them how they can be effectively used. Do not assume that they will find their way. As I work with more and more customers, I see how difficult social media applications can be for those who have never used them. Never assume they will figure out how to send a tweet or a Facebook message on their own. Make sure you show them.

What I am saying is that some of these social media tools take time to get used to. It’s important to get businesses off to a great start. So don’t take anything for granted. Giving your customers the essential social media skills is key for setting them for success.