There are probably as many ways for a Los Angeles distributor to use social media as there are to use Microsoft Excel. That said, a social network is not the same as a spreadsheet application.
Social networks are all about connecting and interacting with other people. Social media accounts can be valuable for business, but also come with personal relationships that need to be handled with care.
Here are five ways LA distributors use Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Instagram, and other social networking accounts.
1. Sell Products or Services
If you can add your voice to websites and online pages that others read, the temptation is to sell, sell, sell. Unfortunately, this approach is no more useful in cyberspace than in real life. People using social media do it with the aim of having a conversation, not listening to a monolog.
Balancing promotional material, content from other people, and valuable information for your target audience is the preferred way to approach this. Some online marketers recommend a 10-20-70 split respectively (promotional, other content, valuable information).
2. Become a Leading Industry Resource
This is a longer term approach, but one designed to build more credibility and loyalty. LA distributors can offer videos on YouTube about how to use the products they distribute, thought-leadership pieces on Facebook or LinkedIn, and industry-oriented tweets on Twitter.
With a little thought, you can find ways to create content that goes viral the fastest to get the biggest bang for your social media activity buck.
3. Provide Quality Customer Service
With so many people using social media accounts, they naturally become a channel for questions and support. They do not replace telephone, email, or chat channels, but can add significantly to them. Beware however that customers often expect a rapid response via their social network of choice.
Make sure to regularly monitor your social media accounts to meet and exceed your client’s expectations.
4. Crisis Communication
Whether freak flooding disrupts shipping, vendor products have defaults or any other crisis, your customers want to know what’s going on and what the distributor is doing about it. If you’ve ever waited for a plane or a train that is significantly overdue, you’ll know how frustrating an absence of information can be. Conversely, you also understand how even a short but timely update can make you feel a lot better.
Social networks give you the power to turn customer frustration into appreciation. Twitter is an especially well-adapted medium for this kind of ongoing crisis and progress update.
5. Customer Feedback and Sentiment
At this end of the social networking interactive scale, you do not say anything. You only listen. Resellers and end-users may express opinions on their social media accounts with their peers that they would not do to your face.
Applications are available to help sift through the vast quantities of conversations out there to pick out the ones particularly relevant to or directly about a distributor. Smart software can sort through all the unstructured data and assess customer sentiment for you to surf on or repair as appropriate.
Which social networks have brought you the most business benefit so far? Tell us about your experiences in the Comments box below.
To follow up on the tips in this article, download your free guide, How COOs at Los Angeles Distributors and Manufacturers Get More Done: A Guide to Productivity, Data, Staffing, Delegation, and Making It Home for Dinner Most Nights.