Social Media for Business: Is it Just for Conversing with Customers?


Is the Only Business Purpose for Social Media Conversing with Customers?

I was at Borders Bookstore the other night and I picked up a book titled “The Social Media Management Handbook” by Nick Smith and Robert Wollan with Catherine Zhou. These individuals work for the consulting firm, Accenture.

In the book the authors discuss the importance of organizations facing the reality that Social Media is not just a passing fad. Remember that lack of acknowledgement has been a recurring theme for anything new for as long as man has existed.

Do you recall the naysayers when the first micro computers were introduced and how they were identified as a “toy”, a passing fad, and nothing serious? Initially businesses gave them little attention; but we soon realized that was a mistake as we watched multi-billion dollar businesses sprout up around the technology and large companies that discounted or choose to ignore the technology fail as a result.

The same scenario is developing for Social Media as we see multi-billion dollar industries sprouting up; while again people, and many businesses especially, chose to ignore what is happening. Can you really afford to put your head in the sand?

Social Media Is for Conversing with Your Customers

In the book the authors spend their time talking about how advertising is changing. They emphasize the increasing importance of Social Media and how people are again getting their referrals and recommendations through word-of-mouth only this time it is from Social Media posts.

Do not get me wrong; I believe what the authors are saying. In fact I believe that in the next twelve to twenty-four months if businesses are not showing their Facebook “Likes” or other indications on Social Media that people are paying attention to their business; those businesses will be in deep trouble!

I also believe that Social Media, like the micro-computer technologies of the mid to late 70s, cannot be pigeon-holed to a single function. People will continually find new ways to apply the technology and that is where I believe the authors missed the boat. They were almost singular in their approach to the usage of Social Media, but the reality is there are many, probably unlimited, possibilities; as we let our minds explore the options.

Social Media Offers Opportunities for Internal Collaboration, Process Improvement, and Greater Efficiency

Scenario 1: Social Media can be a collaborative tool. I consulted for a large multi-national organization a few years ago. I watched as their different IT groups used the same computer technology in different locations. As new updates to the their operating systems and/or applications were released; each group would independently test and validate the updates.

I had a difficult time understanding why they were not using a Center of Excellence (CoE) to coordinate the effort and share what they learned. In fact, one of my recommendations was that they create a CoE and assign each location to test specific components of the software updates and then share the results with the other groups to make the process more efficient?

Although a great idea at the time; the collaborative capabilities of Social Media today would make this an even easier and more efficient process. In today’s Social Media environment assignments could be carved out, results could be posted, findings discussed, questions asked like “What Ifs”, and the list again goes on. Maybe you make the process even more informative and collaborative by bringing in the vendor or other experts in to contribute to the discussion. The possibilities are endless and Social Media can make it happen.

Scenario 2: Long ago I worked for IBM and when our Division released new hardware and application software we would hear rumors of what others were experiencing. Some would report a terrible experience that simply did not work and they would put out an alarm or warning; at the same time others would report the same application to be the cat’s meow. The problem was that the people having difficulty had no way to talk to their counterparts that had it working well. Social Media could have easily fixed that.

IBM/MIT Study Identifies $948 Value for Each Collaborator

In 2009, IBM and MIT released a joint study where they determined that each collaborator on a project added $948 in value to the overall project. It was determined that the quality of the solution improved, the efficiency of the process increased, and the project life-cycle was shortened because of collaboration and this was only using email. Imagine how Social Media could have had an even greater impact!

Emails can be lost or some people may not receive them; when you move to Social Media many of those problems are mitigated by the method of distribution. Social Media can improve the speed of delivery and response. Social Media is a dialog, not a monologue or series of monologues. Social Media can be a virtual real-time process.

Social Media Summary

Businesses must recognize that Social Media is not a passing fad. Social Media is here and what we see today, however sophisticated some may think, is still in its infancy. Business owners and executives must be getting involved today or they and their organizations will be left behind when tomorrow arrives.

Yes, there are concerns and issues that must be figured out; but the solution to figuring them out is not ignoring the existence of the technology.
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Tom Staskiewicz speaks and coaches on structuring Social Media and Professional Networking to help businesses, organizations, and individuals establish and manage their Social Media presence to increase efficiency, improve decisions, and respond to your audiences. Your Social Media presence doesn’t just happen and will not take care of itself. Tom helps you with those processes so your Social Media efforts will work for you.

If you are interested in learning more about how you can apply Social Media within your business you can download our Top Fifteen List of Business Uses for Social Media or email Tom for information.

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What Can You Do with an Email Service


What Email Service Is Right for You

Have you thought about using an email service to stay in touch with your customers and prospects? I’m sure you have, if for no other reason than the intensive marketing being done by Constant Contact.

Before You Select a Service; Know What You Want to Do

The truth is that all email services are not created equal. Some have features that others do not. Some charge based upon the number of emails sent and others charge based upon the number of subscribers you have.

How Many Subscribers Do You Expect?

Knowing how many subscribers you will have and how often you plan on contacting those subscribers can make a huge difference in the cost.

How Many Email Lists Will You Have?

Another factor is how many email lists will you have? Will you have both a list of active customers and prospects? Will it be a single list? Will you have a list for customers of each type or category of product or service you offer?

Are You Going to Do Email Campaigns?

Maybe you are asking what is an email campaign, so I will give you a brief overview. A campaign is typically a series of emails sent to subscribers.

The campaign starts with a letter of invitation to join the list (usually an opt-in or double opt-in) process to make sure you have the correct person.

Following the opt-in there is an immediate follow-up with the additional promised information. A few (7-10) days later there is another follow-up to ensure that they received the information and provide a second promotion. 12-14 days later there is another follow-up typically with some type of incentive to sign up. That may be it or 60 days later there could be one last follow up. It’s really up to you.

Some email services support email campaigns, some do not, and others only limited email campaigns or a limited number of campaigns.

To Opt-In or Not; or Will You Spam

Opt-In basically says do you want to participate and lets the reader know that they can opt-out at any time.

Do you want an opt-in or double opt-in process where the people signing up must go to a sight or respond to an email and confirm that they want to be on your list. If you don’t have an opt-in some, maybe many will report you as spam and can get you blacklisted; opt-ins are preferable to blacklists. Unless you are closely monitoring the service you won’t know that your emails have been blocked.

If the service isn’t offering an opt-in option that can be a problem. Maybe you don’t irritate the users but that doesn’t mean that someone else using the service won’t irritate their recipients and the backlash can hit you!

Opt-ins protect you as much or even more than they protect your recipients.

Will You Have Mini-Memberships?

A Mini-Membership has people sign-up typically paying a fee for a limited-term-membership (compare it to a four – 12 week class and sometimes up to one-year). Each week or month they will have the next part of their course delivered to their email box.

Some email services support this and some do not. Some will support several limited-term-memberships and others will support only one.

Before you select a service know what you services you are expecting them to provide.

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Tom Staskiewicz speaks and coaches on Social Media/Social Networking topics helping businesses, organizations, and individuals establish and manage their Social Media presence. Your Social Media presence doesn’t just happen and will not take care of itself. Tom helps you with those processes so your Social Media efforts will work for you.

Helping Your Children by Building Your Network


Your Network Has Value to Your Children

While you may typically think of your network as your list of contacts that will help you in your business or career. Your network has the potential to help more than just you. One of the most important benefactors of your networking efforts can be your children.

How Your Network Can Help Your Children

Through your connections, you can provide your children access to influential people they may otherwise never know. Whether your child is looking for a connection to a college, an opportunity for an internship, a job, references, or some other interest that can benefit from a connection; you can be the missing link.

Almost daily most of you come in contact with interesting people with varied backgrounds. Capturing these connections brings value to you and your network, but it may also bring a needed future connection for your children.

As a parent building your network can be one of the most unselfish acts you ever take as you work to create the connections that your child will need as the progress through their career.

Read my other networking articles on this Blog for more reasons why you MUST be networking.

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Tom Staskiewicz is a Social Media/Social Networking Coach helping businesses, organizations, and individuals to establish and manage their Social Media presence. Your Social Media presence doesn’t just happen and will not take care of itself. Tom helps you with those processes so your Social Media efforts will work for you.

Your Circle of Communities Are Your Key to Going Viral


The Key to Going Viral

Everyone wants their Fan Page or business for that matter to go viral, but for most it is a huge challenge to make that happen. This is especially true for local businesses. How do you get your word out?

For your Fan Page or business to be successful it must go viral to your target market. So what is your target market? Have you defined it? Do you know your target market?

Local Businesses

For the brick and mortar business – which includes businesses like restaurants, salons, medical practitioners, etc. – your target is your local community. The people that will be using your service are local and therefore you need to reach out to people within your community.

When I talk about your community; it is actually your collection of communities. You have many communities where you participate. There is the community at large where there may be some relative awareness of who you are; within that community, however, there are many smaller communities where you are well known.

Your Circle of Communities

These are the areas you must penetrate to be successful. These communities include your church or synagogue, your school where you or your children attend, your sports activities where you or your children participate, your work and volunteer efforts, etc.

All of these communities are important to your business objectives when it comes to a brick and mortar entity. This is where, as Malcolm Gladwell says in “The Tipping Point“, your connectors, mavens, and salespeople exist.

Connectors, Mavens, and Salespeople

Your connectors, called that because they have lots of connections, put you in touch with the people you need or want to know. The mavens are those that spread your word far and wide. Your salespeople are those that promote your product or service to others.

As you successfully reach into your Circle of Communities and they become your fans; you need these contacts to be promoting you to the friends in their Circle of Communities.

The Power of the Ask

This is where the “power of the ask” comes in. You need to ask these friends to “like”, comment, or share what you have shared with them. You need them to be reaching out to others if you want your message to go viral!

Here is my power of the ask… If you like this Blog; please share it with your friends and others that you believe would benefit. Thank you.

Check us out on our Facebook Fan Page the UPPROACH Support Center and take a look at our Fan Page How Tos and Webinar schedule while you are there. Whether you are looking for the basics or advanced features we have or can have the webinar for you! Let us know what you would like to see.

You are welcome to use this information in your newsletters or Blogs, but please extend the professional courtesy of referencing UPPROACH as the source. Thank you.

Copyright © 2010, UPPROACH

Social Media Does Not Provide Instantaneous Results


Going Viral Takes Time

I was talking with one of my clients recently about their Social Media efforts. The owners had been questioning whether the Social Media effort, which they had started about 5 months ago, was producing anything tangible. She told them that it was and was able to give one or two examples. That provided a little bit of satisfaction, but not too much.

Ironically I had been thinking about that same thing with this client and had done a couple of Google searches to see how we were doing. I was pleasantly surprised at the results. This client had two pages of Google results and upon review I saw that some of the results were from reposts of our Blog articles.

I forwarded the search criteria so they could perform the same search and see for themselves what was happening. No, it is not bringing droves of people into their office thus far, but it is starting to take effect.

You Must Have Patience

The reality is that there are billions of businesses, articles, blogs, and everything else on the Internet and taking or making your place in that thriving world takes time and patience. Even when you are attempting to make a dent in a small segment of the Internet it still does not happen overnight.

You Must Create Your Own Following

To be successful you must be able to create a following and you do that by having interesting and informational posts. The fact that you post something is of little consequence; the fact that you post something that interests and attracts an audience makes all the difference.

Identify Your Target and Then Focus Your Efforts

Creating a following takes time and effort. Here are some key questions that you need to answer before you proceed:

  1. What is your target market?
  2. Is your target market…
    1. Local?
    2. Regional?
    3. National?
    4. Worldwide?
  3. Who is in your target market?
    1. Male?
    2. Female?
    3. Young?
    4. Old?
    5. Metropolitan?
    6. Suburban?
    7. Rural?

Obviously there is much more to the process than these few questions, but the ability to answer these questions will make your process much more successful and targeted. There are many people pushing the idea of building your list by the thousands every day, the question is whether you are adding valuable names or simply adding names. Be focused in your efforts so you create an audience that is interested in your message.

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Tom Staskiewicz consults with individuals and businesses on the use of Social Media to help you build your brand and your business. Don’t waste time where there is no value. You must have a strategy so you don’t throw your money away on wasted efforts.