The lure of social media is everywhere today. (I watched my Twitter stream all day yesterday to see the fate of Tim Tebow.) Nearly anyone can be found online and in the social media world. As recently as the last couple years the largest segment of growth online were Boomers and Seniors.
Businesses of all shapes and sizes are being inundated with “gurus” who are insisting that no business can survive without a social media marketing plan. Yet, thousands and thousands, and thousands, and thousands (you get my point) of businesses don’t really know what to do with social media or how to do it.
Let me give you three quick tips on how to use social media in a real business:
- Create a social media plan that is heavy on the social. The point of social media for business is to build relationships and to actually carry on conversations with your customers and prospective customers. Most companies believe that if they just send out enough information to enough people they will gain enough customers. (That is really just “old school” marketing in a new medium.) Social means social, so talk!
- Create a social media plan that allows your customers and potential customers to ask questions that then get answered for everyone’s benefit. The more you can answer questions before and after the sale, the more people will buy from you again and refer you to others.
- Create a social media plan that allows you to monitor your brand and respond quickly to any negative comments. People today are more apt to take their anger with you and your company online these days than they are to talk directly to you. If you are monitoring your name and the name of your company, you can usually respond to and defuse most complaints in real time. This kind of open and thoughtful response will go a long way in repairing relationships with an existing customer and showing potential customers the kind of effort you will make with them should an issue arise!
Real businesses (not the shame groups teaching you to make money online by teaching people to make money online to teach people to make money online) need to have an online presence these days. But, don’t let the lure of the online cause you to loose sight of the rest of your business planning, marketing, and efforts. Social media is one tool in the tool box. Essential …YES! But, not to the expense of all others!