Have you ever looked at somebody’s amazing travel photos and felt as if you too could enjoy such joy, if only you had the budget, resources, and time? If you’re a small business owner, this can feel similar to the experience of seeing a huge company’s extremely successful viral marketing campaign. As a smaller business, you may feel as if these mammoth successes are out of your reach, but I’m here to tell you that this simply isn’t the case.
Flashy gestures and fancy budgets can of course add a certain pizzazz to any campaign. But there are core strategies that any business—big or small—can apply to their own marketing efforts. To see the ways big brands are using social media, we took a look at past and present nominees for the Shorty Awards, which recognize the best of social media. As a great wealth of examples showing social media done right, the key strategies of the following big brands can be applied to any small business’ campaigns. As the following shows, solid social media principles can be universally applied—regardless of whether your budget is ‘baller’ or smaller.
Case 1: Southwest Airlines
Core Strategy: Social customer care
Platform(s) used: Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, YouTube, Instagram
Anyone who’s ever been stranded at the airport, had a flight delayed, or lost their luggage, knows that information is power in these types of frustrating situations. Southwest Airlines—touted as “the most loved airline in social media”—knows this, and therefore counts social media customer service as a key element in their business model. As the first airline worldwide to reach 3 million fans on Facebook, their customers’ dedication is no doubt encouraged by Southwest’s proven commitment to their passengers.
Using a social listening center, Southwest Airlines made hearing directly from their customers, employees, fans, and the media, a priority. As they explain in their case study, “Our Customer Care Team has provided outstanding service throughout weather events and crisis situations, helping our Customers get where they need to go or providing answers to their questions—all via Twitter and Facebook.”
How to apply this strategy
While your small business might not have the same resources available that a large airline like Southwest has, there are many ways you can incorporate social customer care in your strategy. If using a solution like Hootsuite, you can set up a stream dedicated to social listening and easily monitor what people are saying to, and about, your brand. If you see anything that requires your attention (such as a direct question, or someone sharing a negative experience they’ve had with your business, etc.) you can quickly jump in and address these inquiries. This ends up ultimately saving your company time and resources, as the answer you provide is giving information to not just that one individual, but the greater public—saving you from having to separately answer the same question over and over again. For more tips and information on social media customer service, see our guide: “How to deliver exceptional social media customer service.”
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