The World Of Social Media is here to stay and that has major implications for the business sector, organizations and Corporate America. There are over 220 million bloggers, over 600 million Facebook users, 175 million Twitter users and 34% of these folks post opinions about products and brands. These shared opinions are a big deal, as research shows 78% of consumers trust peer recommendations and only 14% trust advertisements.
The problem with social media advertising is that many companies don’t have a clear understanding of how to leverage social media for their business. There are a growing number of businesses whose primary focus and business model is to help organizations leverage social media and they will even do all of the social media work for the companies.
There are a growing number of businesses that seem to have a functional Social Media plan. If used correctly, Social Media can be an amazing value-add to a company. There is definitely more than one way to skin the Business Social Media Cat; however it’s important to employ a method that makes sense.
Here are 7 Ways Businesses Should Leverage Social Media
1. Develop A Plan- The old proverb of those who fail to plan, plans to fail is definitely true when it comes to businesses and social media. Develop a plan that starts with the end result in mind. Do you have a desire to promote offers, promotions and coupons? If so how are you going to do it. Are you going to make Social Media the main communication hub for your customers, how are you co-branding your social media platform with your existing brand.
Developing a plan takes time, energy and research. Take your time, develop a plan or hire someone to help you with the plan before you get jump in and get started. If you have already begun, you should assess your existing plan and re-engage with the new plan. Abraham Lincoln says it this way, “If I had 8 hours to chop down a tree, I’d spend 6 hours sharpening my ax.”
2. Know Your Voice- This is the golden rule as it pertains to Social Media. If you are speaking on behalf of John Q Organization, make sure that you speak from that voice. Businesses tend to confuse or overlap the voice of their personal brand with their business brand.
If you are tweeting or posting Facebook updates for your Coffee Shop, you should not be tweeting about mowing your grass, unless of course you are mentioning that it’s time to have a nice cup of Joe afterwards. An easy solution to make sure your business voice is the one speaking is to ask this question before posting — If my company could tweet or post, would they share this?
3. Be Social- The most important thing about social media is the social part and not the media. If you look @Starbucks and @Southwestair Twitter streams, they are always interacting with customers and people. One of the best organizations in the country that appropriately leverages the aspect of being social is @KCIAirport. These guys are brilliant, if you want to see how you can be social, handle customer concerns and build a social media brand by doing the basics. Check them out! Be Social, Be Accessible, Be Social, Be Relevant, Be Social, Be Authentic, Be Social, Be Real, Be Social, Be about Your Brand, Be Social, Be Entertaining, Be Social and did I mention BE SOCIAL!
The statistics that I shared in the beginning of this post about 78% of customers trust peer recommendations drives home the importance of being social. I think that research could be extended to say that people are more likely to trust and promote brands they feel connected to. Be Social!
4. Make A Name For Yourself- This is a two-part solution. 1.) Make sure that your Twitter and Facebook names are simple, easy to remember and relevant to your company. 2.) Make a name for your company by being active in the world of social media. Have tweet-ups at your place, provide social-media only specials, have promotions that demand viral interaction and be creative. @dealsplus has done a great job of demanding online viral interaction. It does not matter if your company is large, small, on-line, or has a physical location, you can Make A Name For Yourself. Familiarizing yourself with the 111 Twitter Tools will help you to become efficient at making a name for yourself.
5. Make Your Profile Work- Make sure your Twitter and Facebook profile represent your company. If your business is a coffee shop be sure to have your logo as your profile pic. and not your personal glamour shot. Check out my 6 Ways To Make Your Twitter Profile Work.
6. Have a Primary Social Media Application- The cool thing about the success of Twitter is that Facebook and Twitter have become kissing cousins. There are many applications that automate the connection of the two platforms. Although I encourage the multi-updates in both spaces, it is helpful to focus on one platform as your primary. For me personally, my primary is Twitter, although every single tweet goes to my Facebook community.
It is great for a business to encourage their customers to connect with them on multiple Social Media medians; however having one or the other as a primary helps with clarity. Imagine your company as bi-lingual. The question is: Is your company’s native language Twitterese or Facebookese etc.? Answer that question and speak that language to your customers.
7. Make It Fun- No matter the strategy you choose, make it fun for your customers. Fun, engaging, enlightening… should be the words your customers use to describe your social media presence. This isn’t necesarrily “crack jokes” fun, but it’s definitely not blah blah blah boring.
The bottom line is that Social Media can definitely be a benefit to every business and business owner. Use It, Try It, Be It, Become A Fan Of It, Study It, Know It, Become Good At Leveraging It. In the future, “It” Can Make or Break Your Company.
“It” Is Social Media!
What do you think? What companies do a great job of leveraging Social Media? Share your thoughts.