The Internet is one of the most powerful tools in the world today at the disposal of your business, and it’s available around the clock to you and your clients. There are many discussed aspects of the Internet, and one a practice that is slowly growing is taking companies Public Relations online.
As a business owner, you know how important it is to be aware of what your customers want and what they think of your product or service. This not only helps you make more sales but also to grow and move in the right direction of ever demanding customer requirements. But yesterdays approach of targeting customers with pestering mail delivered questionnaires and shopping mall kiosks with overly forward representatives jumping down their throats and pulling them away from their day-to-day tasks. This was a big problem for businesses until the Internet came along. You can now reach out to customers by offering them the opportunity to communicate with your business online, and around the clock. Not only is this convenient, but it is the most effective way to get to what is important: your customers honest opinions and demands. There’s a high chance your customers have access to the Internet at work and home – even in their pocket with smartphones today.
You’ve made the decision and now you want to get your customer reach online as quickly, easily and most cost effectively as possible. And that’s not being too specific, because you have a wealth of options. Better yet, you can have them setup and operational in little more than a day once you’ve established what your business wants out of its customers and you’ve gotten your technical department or personnel on task.
You can use sites like Facebook, where customers spend hours daily in their own time and combine this with powerful targeted ads and even make the experience enjoyable, enticing advertisements and even competitions that customers see on Facebook results in curiosity and before you know it they’re voicing their opinions and providing valuable feedback direct to your marketing department. And on top of this, you’re seeing where your customers come from and other demographic statistics that your next product development task force can use to boost sales and the image of your company. As well as Facebook, there are other social networking sites (namely Twitter) that offer very attractive and instantaneous commercial packages waiting for companies like yours to approach and harvest their user base for real world data. You can also get a bit more technical and setup your own website where customers can communicate with your company as popular brands such as Coca-Cola often do to host competitions and other marketing content rich channels via the internet to attract customers.
Any wise business-minded individual would be asking this by now, and be pleased that we’ve considered each key attribute for you to consider about taking your public relations online and maintaining the flow of information from your customers to your desk.
You don’t want to bombard customers with advertisements and requests all the time. It’s much more effective to casually roll out the latest offering from your company by agreeing a reasonable time scale. You may find on Facebook that customers are clicking on your ads around 8pm on a Friday – excellent. Now you can set targets to prepare posts and updates to be ready and on queue to post at 8pm on Friday when you know customers will see it and act on it most. You can queue as many posts as you like at once but set a timer when each will go public to your companies followers meaning spending a limited time in the office with the public relations team and reaping the rewards all week.
All large companies who have taken their public relations online have thousands of comments under every post they make from customers, fans and even critics voicing their opinions – even questions. Ford, for example, have many car owners asking questions about their cars on Facebook each time promotional material is posted. They have allocated members of their public relations department to respond to these questions, serving customers and creating a very personal and effective company image to others following them. They are acting on the publics feedback in situ. Talk about effective marketing!
Maximise the potential of your Press Releases
When companies are found to be misbehaving and the public read the news, they become filled with opinion and information about your company or its products. Often, they take to social media and bombard companies with questions or critical thoughts. For example, when Starbucks was found to be using a loophole to avoid tax in the UK its British customers were furious on the topic and spared no time in filling Starbucks’ Facebook page with abuse. Starbucks was still making use of Facebook by responding immediately, posting its Press Releases on Facebook to reach its fans ensuring they are amongst the first to read official responses that are tailored to restore faith in the brand. Starbucks knew when to apologise, and their online public relations was key to overcoming that problem.
Getting more from the public
Finally, reach out even further. Work with Marketing to produce fun, interactive web apps and games online that engage customers and get them to participate as they provide their personal details, experiences and thoughts on your products as they were in with a chance of winning a holiday or cash prize.