“Does my company need a Twitter account?”
“What about LinkedIn?”
“How often am I supposed to post?”
Many companies are ask themselves questions like these. When it comes to social media, it seems like there are countless options out there. So many, that it can be hard to keep track.
But these companies have the questions backwards. David Ogilvy, the iconic advertising executive, once said, “Consumers decide to buy or not to buy based on the content of your advertising, not its form.” Generations later, this wisdom holds true.
No matter what marketing or sales materials companies produce, they should make sure their content is clear, helpful, and compelling. They should also keep in mind that once they’ve developed high-quality content, they can replicate these messages across their print media, website, blogs, and yes, social media profiles. Good content can go anywhere.
No matter a company’s industry or current familiarity with social media, they should plan their communications by starting with their customers. And the question they should be asking is, “what do my customers want to know about?”
Companies should have at least some understanding of who their customers are and what kinds of information they seek. (If they don’t a 3C Needs Map is a good place to start.) For example, if the key buyers of a company’s products are equipment end users, they may be interested in reliability and service plans. Maintenance workers may want to know about spare parts availability. Design engineers may have questions about increasing speed to market.
From there, companies should ask themselves where their target customers are likely to search for answers to their questions. By reading industry publications? By asking their peers? By doing an online search?
A company should also think about its own capabilities. What makes it different? Where does it excel? How does this compare to what competitors are doing?
With this knowledge in mind, companies can then begin to answer their questions about whether to invest in social media. If a company’s buyers are young, tech-savvy individuals who get their information online, then sharing content via social platforms may be the way to go. On the other hand, if a company is fairly confident that their buyers are not interested in social, then they shouldn’t worry if they choose to ignore it.
So before setting up a YouTube channel or developing a Twitter strategy, companies should take a step back and think about what their customers really want. Then, they should proceed with their customers’ needs in mind.