Once upon a time, customers could only get in touch with you by telephone, letter or by visiting your premises. If they were unhappy, they’d probably moan about you to a friend or two and you’d be non the wiser.

How times have changed. Now, if they’re unhappy they’ll tweet about it or post in on their Facebook page. Before you know it, the whole world will know they received bad service.

That’s why, as a business, it’s vital you’re using social media.

How social media can be used to your advantage

If there’s one thing everyone loves, it’s to talk. By listening to social media channels, you can learn a lot about your customers’ likes and dislikes. So you need to use that to your advantage.

1. Sales Department

The optimum time to sell to someone is when they’re ready to buy. Hitting on that golden moment isn’t easy. But monitoring social media channels will give you the advantage.

If you’re an electrical retailer and someone in your Twitter feed is asking advice on buying a new radio, you can respond and offer advice. That puts you in the right place at the right time.

2. Marketing Department

Listening to your target market will tell you whether your marketing materials are addressing the questions your customers are asking.

3. Customer Service

We’ve already looked at how an unhappy customer can use social media to vent their frustration. But imagine if you were monitoring Twitter for anyone mentioning your company name. You would be able to pick up the fact that there’s a problem and deal with it straightaway.

Then you would go from a disappointment to the best company in the world because you listened and put it right.

4. Research and Development

Eaves-dropping will tell you a lot about what people really want. But you can also use social media as a way of conducting customer research. Ask your customers what they want and give it to them.

5. Human Resources

Can social media really help with HR?

Yes, users fill out profiles showing their skills and experience (e.g. on LinkedIn). If you’re looking for someone with a particular skill, just search for them.

It’s amazing just how many ways social media can help businesses today. If you’re not already there, start using it today – your competitors are.