Continuing our mini-series for those who just don’t “get” social media, here’s the second installment – using social media for instant communication.

So, you have something you want to tell your customers. If you’re not using social media, what do you do?

Send out a mailer? They won’t get that for a few days, and they might not read it at all. And every individual communication costs you for printing and postage. Take out an advert in your local paper or trade magazine? Again, there’s a lead time – and the costs may be even higher. Put it on your website? You absolutely should, but who knows whether your customers will be visiting your site that day.

Now, imagine you have a direct line to a big section of your customer base, which costs you nothing to send out a communication, and arrives immediately onto their computer screen or mobile phone. Then imagine that those customers are going to look right away at what you have to say, so that you can influence what they do the next day, or that evening.

Well, that’s social media. Whether you just want your customers to know something – our winter sale starts next week, or we’ve just found a fantastic new product that you’ll want – or you want them to know something right nowwe’ve had a cancellation at the restaurant tonight and the first to reply gets a 10% discount off their food to fill that table, or there are returns available for this afternoon’s theatre performance.

So, what could being able to talk to your customers “right now” mean for your business?

Next up: Getting in on the conversation