Is Social Media right for my company?
Is this a question you have been asking yourself, or has your staff been asking about where your company’s Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn Profile is? Has the question who and when will you be posting your Blog or who is responsible for managing your video on YouTube come up? Many businesses are asking these questions or experimenting with one or more, but, are they effective?
The purpose of Social Media is for members to find groups, clubs, companies or individuals that share a common interest and to communicate and connect with each other around that interest. Most Social media sites are considered successful; not be everything to everyone in a mass quantity basis but more of a limited and focused “tribe” who interacts often, usually daily, if not multiple times per day. The benefits of this limited but engaged audience typically results in conversations with real customers, real potential employees, real industry authorities and people who share your or your company’s ideas and values. The focused tribes rarely will engage in an area they don’t connect with, they rarely are “tire kickers” and because of this, your company won’t be wasting time communicating with people who are not united to your company’s mission.
Why should you engage in the Social Media Platforms?
Social Media is also another way for you to reach an audience who is using the Social Media platforms to do research on a product, service, or a company. While the search engines have been great tools for people to do research on a product or service, many people today are looking to social media platforms for information as well. For example, my retired parents are in the market for a Flat Screen TV. Ten years ago, they would have bought Consumer Reports Magazine and done their research there. Five years ago, they would have gone to Google or Yahoo and researched for their TV there, but now, my mother is getting the majority of her research accomplished by reading blogs by consumers who have posted their experience with the different products. She narrowed her list based on feedback in the blogs on which manufacturer and which retailer seems to have the greatest reputation, and from there, she now knows whom to call, which website to visit, and which product to buy. In essence, the blogs are almost the same as Consumer Reports used to be as the magazine organized a bunch of consumers’ data and assembled it in a product report and sold it in a magazine. While that gave product information, they did not list the retailers who might have been more reputable or price competitive. The blogs do!!!!
A second advantage would be Organic Search Rankings. The search engines LOVE high quality links that are built within these social media sites, helping your company’s brand be found higher in the search engines as a result and generating an awareness that might not take place without your commitment to a Social Media strategy.
A third benefit of the social sites is Brand Awareness. If you can build a fan club in one of the social sites, it is a way for you to post messages, events you might be hosting, or in some cases, even coupons to the “tribe” you have built.
The last benefit is cost. Of all of the ideas I shared above, they can all be done without paying a single dollar, but, time is required. While “the price is right” it is a bad use of time if not well managed and will fail.
What are the Risks of Engaging in Social Media
Social Media does have its’ risks, usually a result of not thinking through completely what the commitments are. As you set up and post information on these social sites, it does require administration and maintenance. Remember, most of the communities expect daily, if not multiple times per day interaction. If you do not maintain your conversations in these communities in a timely manner, your audience will find someone else to engage with and may notify others of your lack of response.
Social Media is not the place for you to plaster every company Press Release about your new client win, recent hire, or other messaging not intimate within the community. Social Media is also not about posting content just for posting content sake, especially in the thought process of using a Ghost Writer as your Subject Matter expert or as a substitute for your CEO.
Lastly, a third risk of Social Media comes to companies who simply set up Social Media sites with the goal of spreading their message to the world. This is similar to companies that send out mass email to unknown recipients with no focus on message or need. We all know that as SPAM and the same is true in the Social Media sites. The companies who do this will probably receive a negative reputation in the social communities and what they thought would help them actually hurts them.