Just when you thought social networking is right for your businessBY TERENCE LIM
These days, there are companies set up that uses social networking to market products and services online. It works especially in Singapore where almost everyone carries a smartphone.
Smartphone users either have a social network account or a messaging service which allows advertisers / marketers to reach potential customers. Businesses want to get on this bandwagon because of its low cost and wide reach.
“But is it good for my business?” Weiling asked me one day over breakfast at a coffeeshop. Weiling runs a small eatery with a crew of two in the heartlands.
Her business has been good enough to maintain the rental and operational cost with plans for expansion into another outlet. Over the past few months, she has been surfing the Internet to find out more about social marketing.
“You know, I read somewhere this shop got ‘flamed’ badly when someone found out that the owner has been creating multiple accounts and commented only good stuff about his own business,” she told me.
“There is also rumor that some restaurants been paying off food bloggers to write good stuff since they have so many followers. Average tasting food also become tasty because they say so.” “Negative commenting is also a serious problem,” Weiling added.
“It’s already bad that the people remain mostly anonymous, but social marketing is very difficult to handle if it gets out of hand.”
Social Marketing companies claim to have the right mix to promote the business and products online. However, it remains to be seen how involved or how deep does the business want social marketers to be involved in their interaction with customers, otherwise they will find themselves in need of crisis management instead.
“Weiling, at the end of the day, businesses survive because of customers, and having more avenues for feedback is a good thing. However, one must not forget that the word ‘social’ means ‘living together’ and that being said, it requires a two-way communication to maintain harmony.”
So, if Weiling can manage complains and react to it properly, social media marketing will work out very well.
“Uncle Ben told Peter Parker that with great power comes great responsibility,” I cheekily slipped my favorite quote to her.
“Just visualize that your social marketing campaign will give you great power to spread your message, and it is your responsibility to manage your customers well in the cyberworld.”