I recently saw this question asked in an online forum.
I believe companies that are not engaging customers and prospects on social media are reluctant to admit that the consumer is now in control of their brand and the perception of their brand.
Failure to engage with customers or prospects gives them even more control.
If a company wants to be an industry leader, they must be a leader in social media as well -- sharing information of value, educating prospects and customers, addressing industry issues.
Empower employees to engage with customers and prospects online to answer their questions, educate them and provide information of value.
Small businesses have a tremendous opportunity to compete with large companies with significant marketing budgets, by providing information of value to build awareness, credibility and trust as well as traffic and leads.
Don't have any information of value to share? Think again. What questions have you ever been asked by a customer or prospect? Every answer to every question is the topic for a blog post.
Restaurants that change their menus daily of weekly should post them on social media.
Retailers that have new items to feature should take a picture of them and post them on Pinterest, Instagram and Facebook.
Did you just make a presentation to business professionals about how they can use your services to save time and money? Why not post the PowerPoint on Slideshare, LinkedIn, your website and targeted LinkedIn Groups.
The more you share content and interact with people online, the more they see there's a real person behind the company. This engenders trusts and begins to develop the type of relationship that can lead to a long-term customer.
Companies must also provide an acceptable, if not outstanding, customer experience. Those who don't will be called out on social media, whether they're participating in social media or not.
You employees need to know this and be empowered to deliver outstanding customer service and resolve issues in favor of the customer in the first call, email, post or exchange.
A customer whose complaint is resolved is more likely to be a long-term customer than the customer who never complains.
Be relevant, be reliable, be responsive, be real, or be gone.
Why do you think companies are afraid of social media?