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Yes another article on the usefulness or not, of social media channels for business.

But have a look at these four categories of applicability:

1. Customer engagement and CRM

This of course depends on your client base – are they likely to use social media channels? If so, then you should be in this game but not operate this channel in a silo. Have a think about your customer engagement strategy and how your CRM will incorporate these. Do not leave customers to fall between the cracks.

2. Crisis communication in real time

Imagine you are sending technical resources to a mission critical failure for a life and death circumstance. Think of a radio communication failure among emergency services that requires a live technician on site, for example. Now imagine there is a problem getting that resource (Plan A) to the right place at the right time.

An instant channel for live crisis management with the client’s monitoring centre will accrue many benefits, not least of which will be the ability to collaborate on putting Plan B into play – in real time. The clients’ sense of  your awareness, committment and ability to respond must be higher with such a channel. I am working on this idea with a client right now.

3. Building communities

For many in the not for profit world building communities is a guiding principle. I am involved in building a plan for rolling out a knowledge based service to new markets and we are developing a strategy and an action plan for incorporating social media as the core building block for attracting new communities to our services.

4. Discount deals

What if you have an amount of product that you are able to sell at a discount to a small test market? This is an interesting way to test that pricing strategy without compromising your usual channels.

I encourage you to think about your social media strategy.

But rather than think about what the tools do or don’t do, think of where you have a problem that is not quite solved.

Can a social media tool over come that problem? Can it actually help you get closer to your customers in some way.

If you answered yes to either question, you have already started to think of your social media strategy!