An official website has become a prerequisite requirement for any organisation or the first item in the checklist of an entrepreneur. Till a few years ago, the scenario was entirely different, when internet penetration was negligible. However, with increased use of internet in urban civilisation, internet became the most cost effective mechanism of marketing and one of the easiest way to set-up a sales network (e-commerce).
To me, any organisations website meets either of the two objectives:
- as a resource point to speak about your product or services.
- as a sales point (e-commerce).
With credit card usage and and Google search, generation leaped ahead by ‘googling’ for each and everything. May it be a review on a product or to identify the nearest store which hosts a discount sale. The younger generation (which includes me as well, in spite of me having a lengthy beard and a bald head), even started buying products from web portals. Value added services like free home delivery or free trial period ensured sales through a new stream where set-up/operation cost and execution time is almost zero. Moreover one store (web portal) caters to the entire country; now, isn’t that amazing?
However, technically, websites became more strong as a resource point for information and publicity with the advent of social media. If you don’t have an e-commerce portal, then your website is as good as a library catalogue.
Social media on the other hand gives marketing a resource pool…a pool as big as an ocean. For me its advantages over a website are:
- it can act as a microsite for your resources.
- it can act as a review point where you can control and get an instant update on negative reviews..and rectify it, if you wish.
- it facilitates ‘interactions’.
The third point is the most important of all. Organisations spend millions on market survey and research, when a simple poll on Facebook (for instance) can tell them the same result with greater authenticity and detail. It doesn’t stop there, if they wish to, an interaction with the participants can get more details on the outcome of the survey. So you save couple of millions, is that all? No, there lies the hidden factor where customer satisfaction gets a boost.
Customer, with reference to a basic human nature, is an attention seeker. A poll or question, helps them express their opinion (reason why polls are being participated in large numbers) and feels important being consulted. Further, if the organisation takes pain in understanding their reviews or issues, they feel pampered. Brand loyalty and goodwill ambassadors are created.
For eg: In my previous organisation, i happened to stumble on a tweet by a customer of ours complaining on service standards. I raised this matter to our marketing head and the issue was attended to, immediately. Customer then tweeted about her experience: “an angel from <company> called me and resolved my issues…thank you twitter”. Was she satisfied? Actually,no. We spoke to her and she felt listened to. Her issue was resolved, many days later, but she never raised her voice. In todays world, what people miss and why social media gains importance, is for one major reason.. a want to be listened. I could quote many examples but doesn’t want to get personal .
Also,people who have worked in Customer Relationship Management(CRM) solutions would vouch that setting up of CRM is expensive. But the costs doesn’t end there, with new technologies and changing times, a revamp of CRM is essential. This again is as costly as a new set-up or may be costlier.
Social media can cut this cost down. Facilities like ‘insights’ (Facebook) and access to profile information can provide accurate information like date-of-birth, spouse name, anniversary dates, etc., at no extra costs. This data is a marketing essentiality to decide on schemes and activities, or to learn customer interests and plan products accordingly. All these data at no extra cost with maximum accuracy is a boon of social media, as against the inaccurate data entry (if it all the data is available) of similar data, through traditional mediums like CRM software’s.
PS: here Facebook symbolises social media and doesn’t necessarily be the only medium, though they are the most prominent one in India.
I do not intend to speak too much, but i sure intend to interact with you. So post your opinion here or write down what you feel, i may have missed out. I am here to listen to you.