Okay so I got an email this week (someone read my blog and sent me an email and no comment go figure) and well I’ll paraphrase. I’m old and I have a business and I see I need some of the social media stuff, but having not grown up with it where do I start? Well that is a great question might I add and the simple answer it depends on where your clients are? I know right, if only we all knew that we would make millions.
Well if you a small business and you want know your customers then ask them. Your a mediums sized business randomly selects some customers and ask them and same goes with bigger businesses. Sample sizes can be smaller than you think to get a good feel for your customers. I know it just doesn’t seem that easy but it really is. Your saying you want to make it easier to communicate and do you think they will say no I don not like the free flow of communication. By the way there is no point in being on Twitter if your customers are on Facebook, or any other social site it just would not be a good investment or time and resources. Remember it may be free but your time and energy are never free, so don’t get sucked into the lie that social media is free marketing (I hear that a lot). If someone says that ask them to do it for you for free and see what kind of look you get. Also lets not forget that it may take you longer than you think to get you audience involved in your social media and that does not mean you are doing something wrong.
That said it doesn’t matter if you end up on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Tumbler, WordPress, or well any of the however many of the other sites out there (one sure there are at least hundreds more) a company must do it well. I will offer up my guidelines for how to conduct social media.
- Have a purpose in what you plan to achieve in the social sphere. You wouldn’t talk about your mom to a customer so don’t share that on your social media site.Think of it as your spending you money on this work to get the best return possible. This will take some (okay a lot) of your time up. Social Media is not small undertaking or build it and they will come you have to give them a reason to come back and better yet a reason to talk about you.
- Now that I said “best return possible” do not use social media as a sales tool. I am willing to bet it will not work. Would you want to be sold to on-line? Think of it as the friendly neighbor chat and in the neighbor chat you don’t try to sell you build a relationship and then they well hopefully (if your a good neighbor) they will want to bring you their business.
- Stay in your area of expertise. Oh and that said unless your a controversial company try and stay out of the controversy no point in loosing a potential customer just because you keep talking about something they do not agree with.
- Keep it fresh. If you going to do social media a post once a week might work for blogging, but you better be monitoring it all week and replying to people who ask you questions. However, once a week will not work for most other forms of social media. Facebook or Twitter at least a few times a day surely you can think of something.
- Monitor, monitor, monitor. I hope the old rule of three times means it is important. With new technology come new ways to monitor that technology and well social media is no exception. Some are free and some are pay (pay may not necessarily be better here I personally do not know). With that monitoring keep up with what people are saying if they are negative find out what is wrong and make it right (accept responsibility), but get in the conversation but no need to get all jumpy over it.
- Sorry I tried to keep it to 5 (5 just seems easier to remember), but I couldn’t. Do not replace your other marketing forms with social media. If you doing direct mail and it is working well keep it up (I mean I hope you are monitoring it at least). Social media is not the end all to marketing it is a piece of the newly enlarged marketing pie and use it as such.
There you go six rules (or guidelines for those who hate rules) to help you in your social media journey. Remember this you can do it even if you are as the email said “old”. It is something to have fun with (hope work is fun) and it can give your brand some added personality. That personality should help reinforce who you are as a company. If your fun loving your social media had better be fun loving as well, if you’re a strait laced financial firm well you need not be (even they can have fun).