Effectively utilizing social media, or any communication for that matter, is about familiarizing your audience. Share with your audience who you are as a company, and/or as individuals, by telling your story. Don’t think of social media as an elevator pitch, think of social media as polite cocktail conversation. It is a way for customers to get to know you and your business as intimately as possible leading up to, or in addition to, face-to-face interaction.
Social media can be a vague term, but in my opinion, it encompasses many platforms: Blogging, micro-blogging (Twitter), Newsletters, visual content (Flickr, YouTube, Slide Share) and Facebook. Although I believe it benefits companies or individuals to use everything that is available to them, using the tools that suit you and your culture best is what will be most beneficial overall. If you’re not going feel comfortable doing it, don’t waste your time. Do what you like because that is what you'll do best.
Blogging - What to talk about?
Blogging is a great way for one to express their ideas with written & visual content. A way to demonstrate their knowledge base & their expertise.
Words like “conversation” and “engagement” are key buzz words that people like to use a lot when referring to blogging, and more generally, social media. Basically, it means that people should listen to and speak with their audience. What is it that your audience is looking for? What information are they currently searching. Do some research and be timely with your blog responses.
Communicate your experience to potential new clients and offer continued support and news to your existing clients. A blog is a good place to touch upon and teach what you know. Give your readers enough information but leave them in a place where they want to know more about your business. Think of your blog as a real-time portfolio of you, your work and your business viewpoints.
• Talk about your clients + your work + your successes
• Talk about conferences you attend + new learnings
• Talk about awards and recognitions + promotions of employees + pat yourself on the back a bit
• Talk about the nature of the business + the current climate of the business & where you see it going
• Be truthful, what are your business obstacles and how have you, or do you plan to, overcome them?
Even when you’re dealing with B2B, personalization is still key. Your customers want to build a personal relationship with you, they want to do business with someone they like, someone they know and someone they trust.
This tends to be tougher for most people. Many feel silly creating a flickr page or a YouTube channel, but properly tagged visual content (particularly video) has a tendency to rank 3X higher in web search (or google search) than websites and blogs.
Video production can be extremely time consuming and expensive to produce. If you have someone in-house who is good at creating, editing and producing video, great! Otherwise, hiring a professional is the right option. This can be something we can look into when you’ve decided what your budget and what is going to be best for your business. One of my favorite professional video production companies in Chicago is Big Teeth Productions. Big Teeth produces corporate branding pieces with an entertaining twist. They make potentially dry material captivating.
A flickr account is something that is easy to do and doesn’t take much time, effort or money. Setting up an account takes minutes, a professional account is about $30.00 a year and it is as simple as uploading pictures. Many businesses use flickr to upload pictures from conferences, a new office move, office parties, etc. The key is writing a proper profile, tagging photos correctly and naming them properly when you upload them so they are found in web searches.
Here is a post I wrote as a guest post for B2B Voices about Visual Content, click HERE.
Slide Share is another great business tool. Everyone creates powerpoint presentations for clients or internal purposes, all you have to do is upload the slides you've already created to Slide Share. Why? It helps others (and social media is all about creating a feel-good world) and it gets your name out there and further establishes you as an expert.
What about Twitter and Facebook?
They are fantastic if you’re going to update them. But you need content to distribute to make it worth your while so don't put the cart before the horse. When it comes to business networking, I prefer Twitter to Facebook. I have yet to see a REALLY valuable Facebook fan page that offers a service. Other than Mashable or TechCrunch, companies that are primarily information sources, OR lifestyle brands, I haven't seen a Facebook fan page that has offered any true value to me as a consumer. Updating, staying engaged, relevant, keeping up with the Jones’s and providing fresh content is key on these platform. It's true, you have to keep up with the Jones's, aesthetically and informationally. You need a good looking site and you have to provide information that is more valuable than your competitors.
1. Determining what is the best tools are for you and your business
2. Determining which tools you will realistically use?
3. Determining what you want to communicate and who you are talking to?
4. Determining what “success” means for your program, creating benchmarks for measuring successes
5. Producing the content
6. Communicating the content
Oh yeah, and, if you don't already...YOU SHOULD FOLLOW ME ON TWITTER! @leyla_a