Social media is an important new factor in the business world. A lot of people thought it would go the way of the dodo, become a tired old fad. So far, it has not. So we have to face facts, social media is here to stay. You and your business should get involved if you aren’t already. If you are already, you need to step up your game a bit. In this new always connected world, it’s the social bird that gets the worm.
But how to kick start your social media platform into place? There are number of ways. Below are three helpful tips that should get your company into starting position:
First and foremost, you have to listen to what people are saying about your company. I don’t mean monitoring, spying or something. No, actually listen. Rohit Bhargava makes this point and refers to it as “active” listening: Don’t just track a conversation in which your company is the subject, rather engage with it mentally and think about how it actually relates to the various organizations within your company.
So, it comes as no surprise that the first step on your social media agenda is to install a listening platform. Techrigy, Radian 6, Cymfony, and Collective Intellect all offer easy-to-implement solutions with core features like conversational analysis, trending, and workflow (allowing you to automatically send a post that references a defective product to your warranty services manager.) Taken together, these features really help to make your life easier.
Business Objectives and Audience Profile
Number two on your “get going” list comes from the beautiful minds of Groundswell: Get some clarity about your business objectives. What is it you are trying to accomplish anyways? If you can’t answer that question quickly and succinctly, then you have some thinking to do.
Once you have your business objectives cleared up, you can really start to get your audience’s attention. You can finally get a grasp on what social media is and what you hope to attain from it. Very few people have a concrete grasp on this. They hope to just stumble upon a million followers somewhere like Tila Tequila or something. That’s, usually, not how it works. Just start with your business objectives and people will come to you.
One of the best ways to get a handle on what social media is and how it can help you is Forrester’s Profile. This tool gives a nod to the idea of collective thought. The profiler gives data away for free. Everything that has been collected, via various businesses and their experience with social media, is available here. Once you use it, you also submit your own information, thus making the widest pool available. It really is a neat idea. Check out the Profiler.
Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and a Blog
Now that your business objectives are defined and you have a grasp on what to expect, let’s wade into the world of social networking. Look through the following list, then pick one and give it a try:
Facebook. Facebook gives you access to, well, just about everyone. The social networking site certainly has blown up over the past few years. With so many people available, it’s all about who you target and how. Facebook offers Business Pages, complete with viewership stats via the Insights data available to Business Page admins. You can embed Facebook applications in your business page, and you can drive traffic to it since it can be viewed, but not interacted with, by non-members of Facebook. This is the opposite of their Group pages, so be sure to make the distinction. Also, be wary of mixing business with pleasure. Facebook prohibits one person or entity having more than one account.
Twitter. Everyone is talking about this little service that could. So no information needed, right? Well, not quite. Here is the thing about Twitter. Your customers are using it right now to talk about you. That’s what people do on there. Twitter is a fantastic listening post. Sign up for an account, and access a service such as “Tweetdeck” so you can access all mentions of your company in real time. You can also set it up to look for mentions of your competitors. May as well see what is being said about them as well.
LinkedIn. You probably know all about LinkedIn’s free directory service. You are also probably a member already. But did you know that you can create a company page? This works similarly to your personal page but but this page represents your company and all of the various connections contained therein. Be careful, though. There aren’t many checks in place to keep out fakers who may or may not say they work for your company. Be vigilant.
Your business blog. This is last, but not least. Your business blog is the anchor on which all other social media interaction rests upon. Your blog is where you lay it all out, everything your company is passionate about, topics regarding your industry and everything you offer. In short, it’s the holy grail for your business. Make sure to have links to it everywhere else you are visible online, be it Facebook, Twitter or elsewhere. Don’t have one? Set one up at WordPress for free. You can also find cheap templates that will do all of the heavy lifting for you and make your blog look professionally designed in no time.
Taken together, these three points will help send the social media end of your business into the stratosphere. Once that happens, the rest of your business is sure to follow suit.