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Social media gives companies a chance to get to know customers in a way never before possible, and to use that interaction to build brand loyalty, get product ideas and understand customers, said a panel of social media experts at Utah Business magazine’s People’s Choice award breakfast Thursday morning.
The panel focused on Facebook and how companies can use it effectively to help their business. People’s Choice: Utah’s Most Admired Companies, in the magazine’s July issue, is a new recognition program that evaluated companies on how well they built a Facebook presence. A full award winner list is below.
Panel moderator Matt Bradley, Whitehall Ventures manager, said social commerce is the next disruptive wave of innovation and can be good or bad depending on how well companies use it. He says it increases five Rs: a company’s reach, revenue, customer retention, referrals and rate.
“The point is we need to adapt and learn to ride it or we die,” Bradley said. “Why social? Because that’s where your customers are. That’s where your potential customers are.”
Jonathan Munk, Skullcandy director of interactive, said there’s a huge difference between a customer coming from an affiliate and a customer coming from Facebook. Facebook fans are more loyal to the brand and will spend more money in the long term.
Spending time interacting one-on-one with Facebook fans and really getting to know the customer not only creates brand advocates, said Munk, but understanding customers leads to better products and more effective marketing.
Being engaged with people on social media means transparency, said Sharon Cook, Mountain America Credit Union, SVP of marketing and PR. Businesses shouldn’t delete negative comments or feedback unless they’re really abusive. By responding to concerns and being open with people, Cook said you can win new fans.
Part of the advantage of using social media is being able to have a more personal voice, said Dan Young, president and CEO of PC Laptops. Young said Facebook interaction is like flirting with someone—you want to figure out what they like and seem sincere and approachable.
Facebook and other social media have benefits beyond their immediate sphere, said Travis Ashby, Oozle Media president. For example, social media is becoming an integral part of search engine optimization (SEO). “You cannot do SEO if you don’t do social media,” Ashby said.
By taking advantage of the personal and visual nature of Facebook, businesses can build strong presences and remain relevant as their customers increasingly move online.
People’s Choice Honorees:
Mountain America Credit Union
Snowbird Ski and Summer Resort
America First Credit Union
Utah’s Hogle Zoo
Burg Pediatric Dentistry
Hartman Plumbing, Heating and Air
Hotel Park City
All Points Travel
South Davis Community Hospital
Bank of American Fork
The Grand America Hotels & Resorts
Workers Compensation Fund