5 things to consider if your company uses social media.
Social Media. Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest, and Google+. People of all ages and demographics use some form of social media. Individuals and businesses use social media. Heck, I even know of several animals who have successful social media accounts. I mean "Grumpy Cat" has 414,000 followers on Instagram. It's safe to say social media is not going away anytime soon.
In September 2013, an internet poll showed that 73% of online adults used some form of social media. One of the fastest growing age groups on Twitter appears to be 55-64-year-olds and 25% of smartphone users say they can't remember a time when their phone was not next to them. Today people get their news from social media, keep in contact with long distance friends and relatives and research businesses all on one social network or another. So, it is safe to say that social can't be ignored anymore. One statistic shows that 93% of marketers use social media for their business.
With statistics like the ones mentioned above, businesses today should not be ignoring social media. Let's focus on a few things to consider if you plan to use social media for your business.
1. Presence. Gone are the days of being in the phone book. In 2014 your business needs a website and a social media presence. Without these, prospective new clients will move onto your competitors.
2. Participate. You can not just create an online presence and forget about it. You need to keep your content up to date and communicate with followers, clients and prospective clients via social media. Don't create the accounts just to have them and abandon them. It is ok for a business account to talk some sports or local news. It doesn't have to be, nor should it be all about you. Customers and prospective customers enjoy learning more about companies and the people behind them. Now, I am not saying to over sharing, but social media is "social" if you were in a business meeting you might discuss a local team, your pets, your kids or a trip? Casual conversation helps you build good relationships.
3. Timely responses. If you use social media for your business make sure you monitor it regularly. No, I am not saying spend 8 hours a day on it. But say a morning and evening check won't kill your productive day. Monitor your accounts to make sure that if a client or prospective client is trying to reach you via your social channels you are answering them in a timely manner.
4. Privacy. If you have a client contact you via social media, acknowledge them and then request to contact them privately to discuss the specifics.
5. Be calm, walk away and think about it. If you have an upset customer address you on a social network, my best advice is to take a deep breath and step away before firing off a hot-headed response. Do some research, speak to others in your organization, get someone else's opinion on the context of the message. Don't engage in a verbal public battle. I would recommend something like "I am sorry you are not happy. How can I contact you to discuss your concerns?" You don't want to dismiss complaints (even if you find them exaggerated or ill-founded). Acknowledge if you made an error. Prospective clients would rather see you calmly answer, apologize if need be and offer a solution or attempt at a solution versus ignoring it out of fear. They key to social media is "social". If you are going to create profiles for your business you need to monitor them and use them. What is the point in your business having to say a Twitter account if you have not used it in six months to a year? Why have links to your profiles on your website if you have no intention of corresponding with potential clients who find you there? Think about it, if you went to a networking event you would not ignore someone who approached you, so why do that on a social network. If you put yourself out there, participate. It does not have to be hourly, or even daily. Maybe once a week or twice a month. If you have social profiles they are part of your brand, they may be the fist impression someone gets of your company. They say a first impression is something you never get a second chance at. So, shouldn't you be in charge of what someone sees? If you are looking for SYDCON on social media, you can find us in a variety of places. You can find us on Twitter by following me or Dave. You can find us on Instagram and you can find us on Google+ or on LinkedIn. We hope you will reach out to use on social media and learn more about what SYDCON has to offer. We would love to learn more about you!