Ok, we’ve all seen it…those social media faux pas, and whiney and desperate posts to “like” and “follow” someone and their business. For anyone who understands it’s about relationship building and engagement, those types of things can make you blush just by reading them.
I recently spoke with Debbie Goetz, of Debbie Goetz Media Connections. She helps her clients get noticed through media and PR channels. One way is by helping them establish and maintain their social media presence through platforms such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. I asked her what she is witnessing out in the world of Social Media for Business and here is what she had to say.
On the social media side, more and more businesses are reaching out to me and my reaction to many of them is dismay. They remind me of the hippos in tutus from Disney’s Fantasia–only now it’s not charming, it’s just embarrassingly incongruous. Here are some tips for my fellow business professionals on how you can wear that social media tutu a little more gracefully. The ballet is here to stay and you need to learn to dance.
1. Know why you’re using social media. There are wonderful free “how to” resources for LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and all the rest. But wait! Know why you’re going to use social media. Don’t just have a Twitter account because your competitor does. Think it through and write down what you think social media can do for your business (“more sales” is too general). Be a wise consumer and browse the web for inspiration.
2. Separate business and personal use, but remember that Google is the common denominator. In social media for business, communicate your business brand, not your family life. This is a tricky but critical balance. Everything you post is public and is easily found using a search engine. Assume everything you post anywhere is public and all your social media apps are linked. (Note to the young man with whom I just had an informational interview about public relations: Take down the Facebook beer pong pictures since you have that link posted on your LinkedIn profile.)
3. Keep content dynamic and relevant. Social media is a serious commitment to content. Replace the case study you posted last month with a new one, and e-mail your customers and prospects that it’s there (please tell me you’ve been collecting e-mail address). Social media reminds readers regularly that your business is full of energy and good ideas. If you want your customer or prospect to pay attention, you have to give them a reason, whether it’s a FB coupon, a link to a great article or notice of a relevant event nearby.
4. Analyze your results and adjust accordingly. Unless you have a very adept 7thgrader, you spent money and time to build your website. Congratulations on your veterinary practice website, but have you ever Googled your clinic’s name? I did, and in three minutes, found a one star rating because of the single rating from a crabby customer two years ago. You can’t afford to ignore this. Be proactive and ask your loyal customers to post comments. Your public rating will rise and you’ll attract more business. Similarly, having only ten people “like” your product on Facebook doesn’t paint a successful picture. Get some signage to the stores that sell your product that tells consumers to go online for a chance to win free product. See how many thumbs up you have now!
5. Ask for help. You’ll find help available from social media believers like me, and lots of it online through LinkedIn groups, especially. Right now, I’m following a conversation thread from a question posted by a member of one of my groups six weeks ago. We’ve had one desperate appeal from someone at an airport asking for money, and one character telling he has diamonds for us all. Aside from that, the content is outstanding, and we’ve all worked together to help someone solve a tricky problem.
There you have it – the 5 Tips to Utilize Social Media without seeming bizarre. You’ll be glad I was here to tell you like it is. Now, go ahead and take down all that stuff about you such as how you like wearing a tutu in your living room. In my opinion, some stuff should just be shared and liked in person.