Social media should be a tool businesses use to build relationships with clients, not to make sales.
That was the message to those attending a marketing conference last week.
“Truth is probably the most important word we have today when it comes to marketing,” social marketing strategist Ted Rubin told the Cayman Islands Marketing Professionals Association.
Mr. Rubin, the chief social marketing officer of Collective Bias, talked about social media during the association’s first marketing conference, held at the Grand Cayman Marriott Beach Resort on 7 May.
Saying that social media tools like Facebook and Twitter are powerful ways to engage customers on a personal level, Mr. Rubin repeatedly cited Dale Carnegie’s 1937 book How to Win Friends and Influence People as containing tips to succeed at communicating via technology. Mr. Rubin said, “I’m not a guru. I’m not an expert. I’m just a guy with opinions who’s not afraid to voice them.”
From a business perspective, social media allows companies to help customers and listen to their feedback.
“A brand is what a company does. A reputation is what people remember,” he said.
Mr. Rubin emphasised that authentic personal engagement generates loyalty from customers, which in turn drives sales. So the focus of social media for businesses should be building relationships instead of simply trying to hawk products.
“Return on investment is about dollars and cents. Return on relationship is about people,” he said. Assessing the success of a company’s social media strategy is more complex than counting the number of ‘friends’ or ‘followers’, and goes deeper than automated scores of ‘influence’ by online companies.
“Stop thinking about your Klout or Kred scores. Nobody cares about them,” Mr. Rubin said, saying the social media metrics are produced by companies who also are trying to push their products.
Companies should encourage their employees to use social media constructively during work hours, saying that people who use social media tools are actually more productive than people who don’t.
“If you don’t trust your employees, you have the wrong employees,” he said.
He said that if someone doesn’t want to work, there are a lot of ways not to work and a lot of ways to kill time.
Mr. Rubin’s presentation was part of the day-long marketing conference, which also featured local marketers as well as international guests.