Saturday, July 19, 2014

Social Media 2.0 by J.R. Atkins

J.R. Atkins is a social media speaker, strategist and sales 2.0 consultant, who I had a pleasure of meeting in Dallas, while on an IVLP - Activism through Social Media program. His book deals with how best to use social media to communicate with prospective customers, existing customers and the employees. The book has a comfortable pace, providing practical tips for how to use the social media tools to help your business maintain its customer relationships. I will just be highlighting the main factors that I extracted from the book and think will be useful for anyone managing social media communication at the corporate level.

Social Media is no longer hanging at the side lines when it comes to marketing. In fact social media has become an integral part of almost all aspects from both an individual's perspective and that of an organization. Given its importance, it is no surprise that everyone is using the social media tools available to them. The success however, is dependent on how these tools are used. J.R. Atkins in Social Media 2.0 gives out the tips and tricks that will enable you to use the social media tools effectively to help in the success of your business.

The key concept here is that of 'effective communication', be it the use of the traditional tools or the social media tools, at the end of the day the business wants to communicate with the target audience. ("It all boils down to communication"). There is however, a differentiating factor between the two mediums and that is, that the social media now allows for a one on one dialogue and instant feedback. This is something that has given the customer a lot more power and therefore made it necessary that they be engaged with. Moreover, the cost structure is so small that any size of business can use it effectively as a communication platform.

In order to stand out from the clutter, there are three things that should form the base of the strategy that you intend to follow:

  1. Be interesting 
  2. Content is king 
  3. Give to get
Be interesting because if you are not at the head of the game, there are a lot of alternatives that the customer can shift to. Make sure that you are generating quality content and then maintain that quality to keep your customers constantly engaged. The customer is not dumb, put out crap and they will see through it in no time. Give to get; after all this is a two way communication which has changed the dynamics of how things are done.  Therefore, it is of utmost important that your words are substantiated with real quality that has been promised, because the negative word of mouth with all the technological aid spreads much faster.

When it comes to the social media strategy, it does not only include the marketing and the customer service aspects of the business. Communicating with the employees through these tools is another important aspect of this strategy. The employees are the foot soldiers of your business, especially the ones that get to interact with the customers on a daily bases. This makes them the key and the most effective ambassadors for your business and thus, it is important that they are kept in the communication loop and provided all the information and the related materials that they require to better perform their jobs.

The presence of social media however, does not mean that the human contact be lost. Without this basic communication format the social media is not going to be able to hold up. The holistic message of the book is that in order to have an effective communication it is important to reach out to all the touch points. Forcing the target audience to use the tools that you are comfortable at your end is not going to give out any sorts of results. Communicating via the tools that the customer chooses is the recipe for a successful communication that will create the base for a strong relationship and consequently a healthy business.

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