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Be transparent. Transparency is different to honesty. Honest is when you are asked a direct question. Transparency doesn’t require a question. It is an attitude that shows people the inside of your organisation and invites your customers to participate in the journey you are on. Enable them to collaborate with you on developments – this will engender a greater sense of ownership and loyalty.
Deal with customer service issues. Since your customers don’t have a one-dimensional view of you, you fail them when you take a one-dimensional view of them. You might consider what you are doing on Facebook, Twitter or Foursquare as a marketing activity, but your customers consider it as another way to tell you about their experiences with you. Deal with it.
Don’t stop talking when bad stuff happens. You immediately lose credibility in what you are doing. Get the PR guys on board from the start. If they don’t get social media, fire them – they will do you a big disservice when you really need them to help you with the crisis that will inevitably happen.
Give something of value. Providing your fans with content that is relevant to them that they will be interested in is bread and butter. But your fans who engage regularly are your best marketing tool. Reward them with stuff they really want and will remember you for – free stuff they will like, exclusive invites to events or gigs that no one else can get and even really decent discounts on your products or the products of others.
Entertain. We very often use social media sites as an escape from the hum drum of nine-to-five. Brands that help to enrich that time by amusing or sharing the unusual and remarkable will be rewarded with repeat visits. There are but a few social media brands that I check out on a daily basis to see what’s new, interesting and amusing – as a result I am much more tolerant of the things they do wrong.
Facilitate conversation. A really powerful thing for a brand to do is to be the facilitator of conversation. You don’t always need to be in the centre – you won’t be able to economically sustain it anyway. Create forums for people to interact with each other to talk and share the things that interest them. Enable them to talk about your brand. Don’t step in to dominate the conversation; only to show you are listening, to clarify where clarification is required and to demonstrate how you are responding with action.