Taking advantage of Social Media

Social Media has had an enormous impact in making it easier and cheaper for businesses to talk directly to their customers and to produce a loyal customer base.  In the past years, in order to find out what your customers wanted, you run overpriced surveys and/or expensive focus groups. On the other hand, to tell them what you want them to think about your products or services, you used to pay expensive traditional advertising. Now, every business can open a Face book page within a few minutes, start micro-blogging through Twitter and broadcast to the whole planet through YouTube.
However, to make a loyal online community, businesses need to handle their social media presence in the same way as the political parties do. They need to listen to the community and not just talking to customers.
Everybody has seen businesses that open Facebook, Twitter and YouTube accounts just to offer discounts (and sales-related information) to their customers.  This is a mistake. Businesses must use new mediums to engage in meaningful, transparent and mutually beneficial communication.
Social media must be used to promote the dialogue, not the monologue.
Businesses can learn exactly what their customers want, simply by asking them through social media. They can see, in real time, what their customers are thinking, what products or services they want and what they think about the company and/or the industry. Needless to mention that if the company mess up and have a delivery delay or make a mistake somewhere, it has to be prepared for its customers to be loud and vocal.
Business isn’t about never making mistakes. It’s about learning from these errors, taking on constructive criticism and implementing new processes to resolve existing issues.
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