Pimlico Plumber
Charlie Mullins

Should we all join the new social club?

It appears the whole world has joined a new kind of social club, one where you can’t go a step without seeing someone posting from their smart phone, or mentioning something they’ve seen on Twitter.

Even the politicians are at it now! Not to mention presidents, the monarchy and even the Vatican.

And don’t get me started on the recent and very public shaming of Paris Brown, Kent Police’s new youth commissioner. She is one person who really should have thought more about her use of social media and is a lesson to anyone trying to forge a career – plus to employers. Check people out BEFORE you hire them! It’s not rocket science.

I guess you may not expect the boss of a plumbing firm to be a big social media fan, and to be honest I’m still more of a traditionalist at heart. But we’re embracing it at Pimlico because our customers embrace it. It’s still all about knowing your customer base, same as in the old days.

To me, social media is no different to any other kind of media when it comes to what you need to put into a campaign. The clue’s in the name ‘media’, that’s the different part. You still have to catch the attention of the right group, offer them something of interest, and make it worth their while and simple to take up whatever it is that you are selling.

And bosses shouldn’t be wary of social media just because they haven’t had experience of using it themselves. To do so is the same as not using radio or TV just because you don’t understand how pictures and sound get beamed about the planet into little boxes in people’s houses. I certainly don’t!

Certainly more people are using all types of social media now, to the point that some have already, in a few short years, become practically establishment. But it isn’t for everyone. It’s like anything - it works for some businesses and not for others. Just because it’s cool and cutting edge doesn’t mean it’s going to get to your customers. Facebook, viral emails, video and blog content are great tools, but if your demographic can’t switch on a computer you’re sunk.

Another example is I have an online (real time) booking facility, which is really paying dividends. But I also have a 24-hour manned call centre to respond to messages straight away, without which it would be a waste of time.

In reality of course you need to constantly evaluate all forms of marketing you do. If it’s not leading to sales then you need to reassess, as business is ultimately down to sales, measured in cold hard cash. How much does it cost to use the social media, subtracted from how much more profit you make. In the end, it’s all about the figures.

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