Lesson 1: The Basics

Why Is Social Media So Powerful?

To put it simply: that’s where all the customers are.
Over a billion people use Facebook alone. Wow!

Important things to understand about social media:
1.     The beauty of social networks is that businesses and customers are both on the same platform and can interact directly. This direct, inexpensive channel to customers is revolutionizing customer to business interaction.
2.     For the first time in modern history, businesses can post content to customers when they are away from the store and without intermediaries. This can be both explicitly commercial content (such as the deal of the day) and general content that could be of interest to customers and will enhance the business’ brand (such as a pet store posting grooming tips for hamsters).
3.     Customers can react to content posted by businesses. They may like/follow/pin a post, share it or comment on it. Each interaction increases their connection to the brand and helps share their enthusiasm for the business helping increase its visibility to that customer’s network and leading to more customers knowing about the business.
4.     Customers can post their own content to business profiles and in other places online that the business has no control of such as review sites, the customer’s social media profiles and private blogs. Customers may post general content of interest to the community of customers or it can be content directly related to that business. In the latter case, we enter the most sensitive part of social media management: reputation monitoring. Customers can be very vocal when they are disappointed with a business, and they can do so exactly where other customers and potential customers will see: on social media. Dealing effectively with negative customer generated content is one of the most important functions of a social media manager.
5.     A side effect of customer access and amplification of customer voice is that it can be abused. Former or disgruntled employees, personal enemies, and competitors have the same access that customers do. They can abuse this access to wrongfully disparage a business. This kind of online behavior often goes against the terms of service of social media and review sites. In many cases it can be outright illegal. The problem is that such cases are difficult to prove and costly to handle. It is a sore topic that social media, review sites, and the internet at large have yet to address with a full blown solution.
Posting content and reacting to user-generated content, both positive and negative, is the essence of a social media manager’s job.

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