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Pie Graph depicting age range percentages on facebook
In traditional marketing, companies worry about their message to the customer. In social media marketing,  what matters is not what you say but what others say about you. Jet Blue put millions into promoting their brand and in one incident, Steven Slater, the employee that “blew his customer service cool,” jumped out of the plane on the evacuation slide and became the new Jet Blue brand.

Social media is a platform for showing your personality and building relationships. By commenting on other’s status you can begin to show you care. Any social media presence on Facebook needs someone who’s “social” to build the brand. It doesn’t have to be the owner or CEO. Although according to Melissa Ward, Managing Partner of New Ward Development, LLC, a company specializing in helping businesses develop a strong online presence, she believes it’s a good idea for the CEO to be in the social space.

“This way the CEO can spend time posting/writing so he/she can learn what their prospective customer wants to know. It shows the CEO is listening and sharing with the consumer, says Melissa. If the company is small,  a consultant can help them create a social media plan, implement the plan and track the results.  Facebook needs to monitored by someone who loves engaging in the conversation. A larger company can hire a “Community Manager” with staff to promote and monitor the Social Networking space. “

For many businesses their primary customer has moved from male to female. According to a new study released by Oxygen Media and Lightspeed Research, as many as one-third of women aged 18-34 check Facebook when they first wake up, even before they get to the bathroom. According to research finding at   the University of Southern California, 67 percent of women under 40 said they feel as strongly about their internet communities as their offline ones, while only 38 percent of men said the same. It’s no secret that women like to talk and engage more than men. Unless you can engage them, their monetary value is useless.

What does this mean? Women are becoming everyone’s target customer and we know they are taking over this aspect of social media.

Knowing your customer on line is as important as off line. “You can’t build a strong on line marketing program unless you know your target customer, says Melissa. If you don’t understand who you’re talking to, how will you know how to engage them?  Social media marketing starts with the customer and ends with the customer. Although there are companies that have their campaigns run by “experts in social media,” most successful social media marketing campaigns are run by the company.”

A few tips from my interview with Melissa:

Know your customer. Just like traditional marketing, you need to find the right ones.

Try different campaigns to engage your prospective customers; use questions, discussion and surveys.

Try campaigns at different times of the day to see if the time makes a difference. Maybe your customer is on line at 7am rather than in the afternoon.

React to what’s being said and interact. The best way to get to know your Facebook friends is to check out their posts and get involved in the conversation.

Watch for negative comments and take them seriously. Make it possible for people to deal with you offline as well as on line. Handle all complaints as quickly as possible. If you feel the complaint is not serious or you are being harassed, notify Facebook (or whichever site) and deny them access to your site.

Melissa’s theory, “Having an outside company design your strategy and work with you for the first few months is a good idea. This way you can understand the technology and how it works. After your company is comfortable with the technology, I turn it over to them.  I may be the social media expert but when it comes to knowing “your’ customer”, you’re the expert.

Be mindful of what you post; your mother wouldn’t approve, it’s probably not a good idea. Melissa’s personal policy is: “If I don’t want my grandmother or daughter to read it, I don’t post it online. There is always looking on your behalf, for good or for bad.  “

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