Be in it to win it!
Savvy companies know they must have a good social media presence to help them form lasting relationships with new customers, stakeholders and their community, but which are the best platforms for business and how should you use them?
Kate Slater, Managing Director of Kate Slater PR and Marketing gives you some useful tips on business social media and explains how you can get the best out of it.
“Social media has changed the way we do nearly everything. We make buying decisions, play games, find jobs, listen to music and learn socially. For business however, it’s been more of a challenging shift.
Many businesses have been slow to embrace social media because it requires a fundamental change to the way businesses – especially large businesses – function and think.
Although LinkedIn has a certain amount of credibility within the business community because it was conceived purely as a serious business networking tool, the potential of Facebook and Twitter has yet to be tapped within many organisations.
This could be because many people still think that Facebook is where kids post their party invitations, and that Twitter is for people promoting relationships with their own egos. But if you only believe that, then you and your organisation are truly missing out on a fantastic way to form sustainable, valuable and mutually beneficial relationships with people and organisations that could be crucially important to your business, namely:
- Potential clients
- Existing clients
- Potential employees
- Publications and journalists
- Local community
Many businesses aren’t sure how to portray themselves on Twitter and Facebook or some people have a system that simply posts the same comment to different platforms – usually LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook. But this misses the point that although these sites have dialogue and connection opportunities in common, the atmosphere within each is subtly different. Here’s a quick guide:
LinkedIn is purely business. This is where your virtual CV will live and where you can let your professionalism shine. On LinkedIn, you will find your business acquaintances who can influence your future.
Facebook is business casual. Your business Facebook page should be a fun environment. It’s a business outing and a community party rolled into one. Have a good time, engage with others, comment on industry news, post pictures, hand out a few business cards, but keep it light. Look at Pizza Express Facebook page or Innocent Drinks for great examples of companies who do it well.
Twitter is business cocktail. This is where first impressions count. You’ve got 140 characters so make sure you use them wisely. Dazzle… work that room. Collect cards and make contacts. Ask questions, direct people to your Facebook page, suggest your followers take a glance at your website…. share your news but keep it snappy.
Your posts for all these platforms should be slightly different, but business social media should always remember to:
- Be authentic
- Begin and encourage conversations
- Build trust, relationships and loyalty
- Address concerns and respond quickly, publicly and politely
- Use manners – show gratitude to supporters
- Provide value to fans, friends and acquaintances
And three vital tips:
- People connect with people – not corporate jargon. Make sure your business social media doesn’t simply spout marketing messages. Allow yourself to engage and get involved with your audience.
- Speed matters in social media. Big corporations tend to move slowly but there is no time for bureaucracy in social media. Larger companies need to create social media guidelines and policies while making sure their customer facing employees are carefully trained and know how to engage and respond appropriately.
- Results require patience. Social media is about creating relationships and trust. Both take time. You may have to act quickly on social media but look to the longer timeline to measure results. It will be worth it.
Social media is like sales support, marketing and PR all rolled into one. It’s like having an amazing new member of staff who is ever watchful, and who keeps his ear to the ground and his eye on all the opportunities as well as the competition. Businesses who ignore it are missing out on valuable opportunities, no matter what sphere of work they’re in.
This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Kate Slater .
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