We have just started a new year and it is traditionally when we take some time away from our business. It is the time to reflect on what we have achieved over the past year and affirm what our expectations and goals are for the coming year. Most importantly though, and often overlooked, it is the time to set some achievable actions that will turn the goals into reality.
Few would claim last year was an easy one for business. Taking an optimistic point of view, it has forced us to look long and hard at our business models and come up with ways to improve on the bottom line. As a result, if you have made good decisions then ultimately you and your business will benefit as the economy improves.
No matter what business sector you represent you must have acknowledged that your relationship with the customer is an important factor to your sustainability. Foot traffic and frontage are no longer a primary solution, customers want to know they are not only getting value but they are themselves valued. To achieve this we must listen, we must communicate, engage and share our expertise in a way that was not only unattainable to previous generations but unimaginable.
Saying Social Media is not for me is just the same as those before you refusing to use the telephone, the fax, the mobile phone, email and websites as they became accessible. Sure your business may survive without some or all of these things but you will be a rare and probably much endangered exception to the rule. Social Media, like past advancements in technology, are marketing and communications channels that customers expect you to use, for their convenience not your own.
If you haven’t done so already, the time to incorporate Social Media into your customer communications and marketing strategy is now. It is not a quick fix, in fact quite the opposite. Building your networks, preparing your platforms to align with you brand and values and developing the resources to ensure you can maintain meaningful and ongoing interaction is extremely time consuming. Cheesy analogies of conquering huge obstacles by taking small steps may be appropriate but I will assume by reading this far you have got the point. The sooner you come to term with Social Media’s potential and your advantages and limitations the better off you will be in the long term.
So do start now, take small and careful steps. Get some advice, read, follow and friend those in the know. Do start to watch and listen to what is going on and only then you will begin to understand what the opportunities and risks that relate to you and your business are.
There is no one hat that fits all, thankfully that is what will continue to give us our uniqueness and our point of difference.