Oh No! Not another Social Media Expert?!

2 Mar

The last post I wrote focussed on Twitter. It was a tongue in cheek attempt to break down some of the confusion that surrounds my favourite Social Media platform and it was gratifyingly popular. A small section focussed on business use but really it was a more high level attempt to allay some of the fears residing in individuals making their first foray into this brave new world.

Social Media remains the buzzword of the day. Everyone is suddenly a Social Media ‘expert’ and businesses are confused or running scared. The thing is it’s all beginning to look and sound like a very old story. Emperor’s New Clothes anyone?

From over here it’s pretty simple. How businesses market their products and services is changing, as it always has. The difference now is the immediacy of response and how that is handled is critical. Up to now the most interactive tool in any B2B company’s arsenal was its sales force: its foot soldiers, carving up the front line and delivering key messages direct to the customer.

  • But how accurately was that messaging relayed?
  • Who processed the feedback?
  • How was it built into the marcomms strategy?
  • How long did that process take?

Because that’s the beauty of social media, it’s a super-highway direct to your core consumers and all you have to do is keep up the maintenance. Building a social media profile takes time, investment, consideration and strategy. The fact that the platform is ‘free’ to use is no excuse not to do the job properly, as even large corporations have discovered recently to their detriment.

Your presence on any social media platform should be just another personification of your core brand. If your website and marketing collateral is aligned (and if it isn’t, why not?), then it’s crucial not to slip up here. You can do this in-house or outsource it to your incumbent marcomms agency: if you’re happy with the job they’re already doing you’ll be happy with how they handle this too.

There are lots of businesses trying and, taking Twitter as an example, there are countless businesses getting it hopelessly, utterly wrong. You’ll find tons of advice ‘out there’ about getting it right but let’s talk about the basics:-

1. Twitter is an ongoing dialogue….it’s not there for you to broadcast about how great you are. If you do, no one will listen.

2. You need to work at building up a presence. Use the rest of your marketing mix, add your profile name to your business cards, tell people, ask them to follow you, FOLLOW THEM if they have a twitter presence.

3. ADD VALUE! Ask yourself why anyone would want to listen to your utterings and work at making them worthwhile

4. Be intelligent. (Related to #3) Out and out selling is the quickest way to Twitter purgatory. Be engaging, ask questions, go looking for feedback and when you get it- use it!

5. Ensure commonality of voice: It quickly becomes obvious when businesses allow multiple operators access to their twitter feed. It may be impossible for the same person to keep up with everything, but the same parameters that you apply to your visual communications must be strictly enforced here.

There’s so much more but that should get you started, and if you’re looking for a nice new suit made out of the finest fabric anyone (n)ever saw…call in a Social Media Expert. But on the off-chance that you’re looking for something with a touch more coverage…feel free to call me!

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9 Responses to “Oh No! Not another Social Media Expert?!”

  1. Heather March 3, 2010 at 6:59 am #

    Twitter has such potential i think for a business, being able to chat with customers, find out instantly what they really think of your product would be such an invaluable tool and yet so many use twitter just as a free advertising platform…so much potential wasted.

    • Paula March 3, 2010 at 2:23 pm #

      Exactly Heather, and it’s those same businesses that clog up the feed with rubbish that also say “It just doesn’t work for us, we get no return from Twitter”. A move away from the expectation of instant gratification is needed….you don’t get nothing for nothing!

      Thanks for your comment 🙂

  2. HUN March 8, 2010 at 7:53 am #

    …and don’t play fast and loose with the password (as Vodafone UK found to its cost last month) 🙂

    • peabee72 March 11, 2010 at 10:51 am #

      Good point…Vodafone made a massive faux pas* of the Ratners variety there… not one they’ll live down in a hurry.

      *IMHO 😉

  3. Rosie Scribble March 13, 2010 at 7:36 pm #

    I agree with Heather that Twitter does have potential for businesses. The problem, in my opinion, is that too many are using is purely as a promotional tool and not using it as a two-way conversation at all. Then people like me log on and use Twit Cleaner which identifies those businesses tweeting just links and not engaging in conversation and it’s easy to unfollow them, if anyone actually follows them in the first place, which I tend not to. I am followed by about 200 businesses. I have not received a single tweet from one of them.

    • Paula March 15, 2010 at 11:39 am #

      That’s exactly the problem Rosie….most businesses got stuck after Social Media 101- In Which We Set Up A Free Twitter account. It’s so frustrating to see link after link when they could be harassing it in such a positive way. It’s generally as much about investment as knowledge….social media is not the great marketing panacea- like everything else it needs to be worked at, and that takes time and money!

      Thanks for visiting me over here!

      Px

  4. Emily O March 14, 2010 at 9:40 pm #

    It’s going to take businesses time to get the hang of social media. Some are clued up but they’re in the minority. Most of them could do with reading this post! I wonder if people with good twitter accounts (ie lots of followers, good twitter grader score, good reach and influence) will actually be approached by some businesses and paid to tweet their products and services? Twitter has to be used very subtely by businesses to promote themselves. A clever combination of promotion and engagement. I’ve tagged you today at mine!

    • Paula March 15, 2010 at 11:43 am #

      It’s already happening with the bloggers isn’t it, so only a matter of time I’d say Emily! You hit the nail on the head with the word subtle; that’s the biggest thing. It’s a free platform but you’ve got to play a long game and too many businesses simply cannot see that.

      Thanks for the tag! Clearing out my wardrobe to find something appropriate!

      Px

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Mums The Blog » Blog Archive » March Business Mums Blog Carnival - March 15, 2010

    […] from marketing & communications agency Battleplan Creative, lays down some sensible ground rules for using Twitter for business and Tola from Chocolat a Toi has some suggestions how you can make the best of Follow Friday on […]

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