Social media is out there and it isn’t going away. It’s not just Facebook either. I’m not going to even mention Myspace….sorry Justin Timberlake…it’s not relevant anymore and never will be again. What about Twitter? What about LinkedIn?
Facebook is for friends and family. It can be about business – but not so much in corporate environments…except possibly for closed groups allowing collaboration among team members. And yes, it’s for Red Lobster reaching out to you with couplons for your next meal. But is really a business tool? As a collaboration/discussion tool, it can bel. In those instances I see it as highly useful and I’ve used it successfully on a few projects and consulting engagements with team members.
Is Twitter a proper social media tool for businesses? Definitely. It’s quick, efficient, and can definitely be far reaching. Great promotional capability. It works like people think these days…quick snippets of information – or misinformation – but quick. Becasuse we want it real-time and we don’t want to much of it. Say…140 characters…and then our attention span is gone…we’ve moved on to something else. It has a more uninhibitated,anonymous, and sassy aspect to it than Facebook can ever have. Meaning it’s more of a cross-over. Think country meets rock.
LinkedIn for business. Absolutely. Though more for networking, sharing ideas, looking for work or gigs or whatever. And promoting your own skills. “Has anyone else managed to get ‘x’ to work with ‘y’?” Post something like that in the right group on LinkedIn and you’ll get lots of responses and generate some great discussions.
Now, does your small to medium sized business need a social media presence? Should you be promoting yourself through social media? Do you need any of these tools? Yes, you actually do - and all of them. If you’re not in the game now, you’re already behind. And if you’re lingering around with 40 Twitter followers and posting tidbits here and there you are wasting your time.
A recent survey reported in InformationWeek had some eye-opening results. While two-thirds of the organizations surveyed had a Facebook presence, only 17% had a formal process for responding to customer complaints through Facebook. Only 19% have had an external presence on Facebook for more than two years. 24% of consumers surveyed stated that they were more likely to do business with a company they can interact with through a social media tool. 25% stated that social media comments influenced their opinions about companies and brands.
The real bottom line here is this….many organizations don’t know what to do with social media or how much to spend on it. And they’re probably a long way away from understanding the ROI of dollars spent on social media. But you have to spend it. Period. If you aren’t doing it now or very, very soon….you are definitely losing ground to your competitors and with your current and potential customers. It’s 2012….and social media is the new frontier. It’s real-time. It’s what every consumer, business professional and company executive uses in some way, shape, or form to gather information, form opinions, and yes – make some buying decisions.
I’ve realized this…partly on my own, partly from reading articles like the one in InformationWeek and partly because I have clients who realized it and came to me for help. I’m not saying I can solve all of your problems. I certainly can’t sell your product for you. But I can use content mixed with social media promotion to increase your traffic – increase the number of potential buyers to your software, training and professional services so that you can start seeing some ROI.
I have many clients who ‘get it.’ They understand that they must reach potential customers and increase traffic in order to obtain and sustain long-term growth in their challenging marketplace. And then I sometimes run into those potential clients who simply don’t get it – like two I’ve had just this week. They are afraid to spend money without proof that their sales will increase. Newsflash: I can’t sell your product for you! If someone downloads your free trial and doesn’t like your product, that’s not my fault…that’s yours because your product doesn’t match up well with the customer’s needs or against your competition apparently. I can’t fix that – unless you bring me in to consult on your product’s capabilities…and that’s a different type of consulting relationship altogether. But I can get the traffic to you. I can lead the horse to the water…and I can get that horse to your webinar, or to your website, or get them to download your free trial of your software. The final sale is up to you.
If you’re interested in discussing how I can use my industry expertise, marketing creativity, and entrepreneurial flair to help your organization the way I’m currently helping dozens of others, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit my website at www.bradegeland.com and fill out the contact form. Or call me directly. Leave a message – I’m here to help you. I require no long-term commitment. If you’re not happy after a month of working together, we simply quit. But I promise I’ll do everything I can to retain your business first and tweak services so you do get the results you need.