Facebook shares. Twitter retweets. TV commercials. Internet banner ads. Our lives are constantly inundated with these nuggets of media communications for consumption. At times, it becomes taxing to have to wade our way through the tide pools of content that gets thrown our way; that difficulty, however, does not make the task any less important. Chapter 11 in the Humphreys text about Social Media Marketing brought up topic after topic that shed a light on many realities we experience in current media landscape; choosing one or two to highlight is incredibly challenging. But just like my previous call for perseverance in the face of tough challenges, I will buckle down and winnow my points of discussion to two concepts that really spoke to me and my observations on how companies use social marketing: customer service as it relates to social media, and the decision journey consumers regularly undergo.
One may wonder why we increasingly hear companies boasting their social media platforms, enthusiastically pushing for supporters and customers to engage with their posts. This illustrates the point made in Humphreys’ chapter on Social Media Marketing–companies need platforms to directly engage with consumers about their concerns. With the role that social media plays in word-of-mouth information sharing, the risk always exist for companies to lose control of their message from online hijackers. To avoid this risk, it becomes wise to create a direct channel for disgruntled customers to voice opinions directly to a channel that the company can control; with this new open channel, instead of the complaint floating in mid-media space, it is placed in the laps of social media managers, a message-spinner’s reputation management dream. Now, with the issue in the hands of the company on their social media page, the company can directly respond to the issue and turn a customer service nightmare into a pleasant reality.
The second point made by Humphreys in the chapter on Social Media Marketing that resonated with my personal experience online was the importance of awareness in the first stages of marketing. Like Jared, I too am involved in a student organization that requires incredible amounts of student engagement for success. Student Government Board, the governing body of the undergraduate student population, works to provide a number of services to students. Crisis relief funds, travel grants for conferences, allocated funds for events, and judicial hearings for disputes are only a few of the many services that we can provide for student groups. Lack of knowledge regarding our services, however, cripples our ability to be efficacious , and we move to now find creative ways to get out the word about what we can provide for students. This reality demonstrates the importance of awareness when it comes to the decision journey on which consumers embark from day-to-day. People need to be aware, whether that be through traditional or non-traditional, paid or earned forms of media, and that is the most important first step when selling a cause, organization, service or company to audiences.
Both of these concepts really stand out as important principles that practitioners of social media marketing must take into consideration. Even if the awareness of your product results in a complaint on the company website, that can be considered a success when navigating the world of social media communications.
“Social Media: Enduring Principles.” Ashlee Humphreys – Oxford University Press. N.p., 12 Feb. 2017. Web. 15 Feb. 2017.