Contributed by Dave Thomas
If you have ever been late to the dance, as they say, you probably missed out on a good time.
Well, the same holds true as it pertains to your business and social media. If you’re not much of a social business owner, you’re more than likely missing out on some really good things – things that could be boosting your company’s profits.
Although you have probably come across studies that claim more businesses are using social media, you can’t help but question them when you peruse various company websites.
Stop for a moment and look at the sites, then see if they have the little Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, Pinterest etc. icons on there. And if they do, click on them to see how truly active they are in these arenas. There is a good possibility some or a sizable number of these businesses are only semi-active on such sites.
So, what’s a business to do if they’re social networking efforts are mediocre at best?
Among the things they should be doing immediately:
1. Assess the game plan. First and foremost, why do we need to do social media? Have we put a solid SM game plan in motion, or are we pretty much making things up as we go along? While being active on social media sites is important, doing it the right way the first time around is as if not more important. You can’t just throw stuff out there and see what sticks. You may find that you’re actually making matters worse by having a scattered social media game plan in place, this as opposed to being concentrated.
2. Who is in charge? - Some businesses like to handle their social media from the inside, while others are comfortable with farming it out to a consultant or company that specialises in this field. Whichever you choose, know who is in charge from day one. If you are doing social media from within, make sure you and/or the person or team in charge of it knows the mission. They need to know where to apply social networking efforts, how often, and measure the success of such campaigns. If you outsource the task, make sure that the person or persons speaking for your company understand both your voice and your mission. One of the dangers of outsourcing your social media needs is that it sometimes does not come across as the voice of your company.
3. Interact with consumers. One of the biggest gaffes you can have in your social media efforts is not engaging both current and potential customers. Remember, you have essentially a 24/7/365 window to engage with these individuals, so use it. Unfortunately, too many businesses fail to address consumer questions, issues and problems, thereby leaving the consumer to become frustrated and go elsewhere. Timing is of the essence here, so review your Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and other accounts regularly to see what people want from you. It should not come as a surprise that being more responsive to consumer needs increases the chances of a sale today and more tomorrow;
4. Don’t be too sales heavy. Always keep in mind what social media is truly about. One thing it should not be used for is trying to push a sale down a consumer’s throat. If you come across as too pushy when it comes to sales, what reason is there for the consumer to come back to your Facebook or Twitter page? Your efforts should be geared towards assisting and educating the consumer, not trying to make them open up their wallet or purse (at least not yet.)
About the Author
With 23 years’ writing experience, Dave Thomas covers a variety of small business and social media topics, including Internet reputation management services.