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Social marketing is actually quite difficult to get into. The good news is that you can learn a lot about social media while moving forward with a strategy. Over time you learn how to better utilize a platform, what type of content gets the most interaction and how best to reach your audience. Despite all of that, using social media in a poor manner can do more damage to your company and brand than having no social media presence at all. At least, that’s what marketers said while speaking during a recent panel held by UKFast.

Essentially, they said that company flaws can sometimes be more evident depending on how social media is used. For example, if you take much too long to respond to customers through social media then that shows you offer poor customer support. Whether the latter is true or not matters very little, because that’s how it will look to outsiders. This could potentially cause you to lose customers.

Lawrence Jones, UKFast CEO says that full-time support is absolutely essential to a successful social media campaign. He says that if his company were to log off they would not be able to provide the kind of always-available customer care that they are known for. That in turn would result in losses for the company.

Heather Baker, managing director for TopLine Communications says that social media is “exposing gaps in customer service.” Companies that were able to get away with shoddy customer support in the past are going to find it difficult to stay prevalent on social media platforms. This is because they will likely include the same lack of support in their social media strategies. Customers would much rather see engagement happening sooner than later. 12 Keys social media strategy includes responding to each inquiry on their Facebook page, in addition to posting sharable content that resonates with their target audience. In a logical sense, the same holds true with traditional customer support because no one wants to wait on hold for hours, while trying to get in touch with a company or support rep.

Everyone in the panel identified that a poor social media presence is a warning flag to consumers. This means that if you do not yet have the resources to devote to a proper social media campaign you should wait until you can do so.

Every business big or small should devote resources to a social marketing campaign. These days, it pays off to devote a full team of professionals to the task. That ensures your company is providing the kind of support that is necessary across social channels.

A lot more goes into a successful social media strategy than just proper interaction. With more traditional advertising campaigns, there are specific ways to target various demographics. For instance, if your brand is trying to reach younger audiences like teens, then posting from 9am to 11am is a bad idea — they are generally in school during those hours. A social media team can devote the full resources needed to identify information like that.

Social campaigns are no longer optional for any business, big or small. That doesn’t mean you should dive in headfirst without a proper strategy. Find a way to devote the time and resources so you can maintain a constant presence and the real rewards will come. On the other hand, if you act poorly your reputation may suffer and that’s something you should be acutely aware of.

2014 is gearing up to be a big year for social media. Therefore, now is the ideal time to put together a more effective strategy. If you don’t already have a marketing campaign, then it is imperative you get it right early on. The most important thing to take away from this article is that you should invest all of the proper resources in a social media campaign if you want to be successful. This includes time, manpower and even money. If you skimp on something this year, don’t let it be your social marketing strategy.

 

See also: The Many Faces of Social Media