So often someone posts something that they think is harmless. But in reality, it could potentially cause the biggest faux pas of a companies life. Recently an article got me thinking about how you must be judicious in what you say on-line, how you say it, and to whom, because what you say will always be there.
Early in my days of participating in an on-line forum, I discovered that having a “battle of words” with another person is fruitless. No one wins. AND that discussion could stay there indefinitely. As business owners we want to avoid that potential at all costs.
Remember the commercial that says “What you do in Vegas, stays in Vegas”? Well that isn’t the case on social media. It has staying power. Yes you can delete posts that you make, but someone somewhere could retrieve that and it may come back to haunt you.
This is why is ultimately important that the person managing your social media has a firm understanding of your brand and it’s image. Whatever is posted needs to be on point/mission always. Planning helps solve that issue, but you can’t always plan for outside injections of comments. When someone posts on your page or a review site, it is important to respond in a positive way to help resolve an issue as rapidly as possible. Taking down a negative comment doesn’t show people that you wish to resolve issues. In some cases, if you have a very loyal fan base, they will take care of the negative comments for you by offering up an alternative point of view or flat out defense of you as a business.
Just don’t let an issue languish thinking that it will be forgotten. In my former life in retail (before the internet), one of the training programs said – a pleased customer will tell 2 people, an unhappy customer will tell 10. With 24/7 connectivity over the internet and social media, that unhappy customer could tell 10’s of thousands or millions before you have had your morning coffee.
Something new that I just did was participate in a recording for Blog Talk Radio. Recently I was approached by a LinkedIn group member to be a guest presenter on her internet radio show. The idea was to share some information on using social media with entrepreneurs. Always game for a new foray into uncharted social media waters, I jumped on board.
Entrepreneurs know their business – mostly because they are technicians who have become business owners. In many cases, the person is/was good enough at their craft or trade that they decided to break out on their own to become businessmen, some by choice others by necessity. How many of them have an accountant or a payroll service? an IT support firm? a transportation company?
A true entrepreneur knows when it is time to get help in the areas that aren’t in their wheelhouse. In many cases one of the most important areas is marketing. You can have a great product or service but if you aren’t reaching new audiences or able to gain repeat business, you won’t make much money.
Know your audience, know how, where and when to reach them, and then produce enough incentive or reward to get them to answer your “call-to-action” to keep you in business.
Simple, right? Easy, not so much.
A book that might interest you in to help you solve your small business challenges is “The E Myth Revisited” by Michael Gerber.
I would venture to say that almost anyone would like an organization that offers discounts or product samples, and how many “Boomers” spend time on gaming options found on-line or in social media networks.
Millennials are actively engaged in consuming and influencing – more likely than non-Millennials to purchase products that support a cause, and the 34% that make direct donations primarily donate through mobile devices. They contribute to user-generated content, spend time rating products and services and uploading videos, images and blog entries online.
Millennials favor recommendations from peers or friends – 53% reported exploring brands through social networks. They use their phones to read reviews or research products while shopping.
Millennials are “digital natives” – 72% reported using MP3 players, 67% use gaming platforms and 59% own smartphones. They are heavily engaged with social media – 33% favor brands with Facebook pages and mobile websites.
And here is an article that says 33% of Millenials are more apt to buy from a company with a Facebook page.
My thought is that you must determine your target audience. That audience cannot be “anyone that …”. Drill down to find a specific market, own that demographic, and then, if you need, expand from there. Where will they find you if they look?
Once you pick a specific audience, find out where they “live”:
How will they find you?
Do they pick up a newspaper or their Kindle?
Do they find out about your business from Yelp or a phone call to a friend?
Are they searching for you on Google or driving past your business?
Social media isn’t the only tool you should have in your marketing arsenal, but it is one that you should be using. If your business is going to succeed, you must investigate all aspects of marketing your business and social media must be included into the mix.
Recently, I read a great article on using social media to engage Kym McNicholas from Forbes. She does a great job of explaining the topics, so I would like to share it with you – click here.
If the thought of managing all of those tasks overwhelms you, perhaps you should consider hiring a community manager, if not full-time, at least part-time or on contract. Whatever you decide, make sure the person sharing the information understands your brand and your message to keep it consistent.