The last post I wrote focussed on Twitter. It was a tongue in cheek attempt to break down some of the confusion that surrounds my favourite Social Media platform and it was gratifyingly popular. A small section focussed on business use but really it was a more high level attempt to allay some of the fears residing in individuals making their first foray into this brave new world.
Social Media remains the buzzword of the day. Everyone is suddenly a Social Media ‘expert’ and businesses are confused or running scared. The thing is it’s all beginning to look and sound like a very old story. Emperor’s New Clothes anyone?
From over here it’s pretty simple. How businesses market their products and services is changing, as it always has. The difference now is the immediacy of response and how that is handled is critical. Up to now the most interactive tool in any B2B company’s arsenal was its sales force: its foot soldiers, carving up the front line and delivering key messages direct to the customer.
- But how accurately was that messaging relayed?
- Who processed the feedback?
- How was it built into the marcomms strategy?
- How long did that process take?
Because that’s the beauty of social media, it’s a super-highway direct to your core consumers and all you have to do is keep up the maintenance. Building a social media profile takes time, investment, consideration and strategy. The fact that the platform is ‘free’ to use is no excuse not to do the job properly, as even large corporations have discovered recently to their detriment.
Your presence on any social media platform should be just another personification of your core brand. If your website and marketing collateral is aligned (and if it isn’t, why not?), then it’s crucial not to slip up here. You can do this in-house or outsource it to your incumbent marcomms agency: if you’re happy with the job they’re already doing you’ll be happy with how they handle this too.
There are lots of businesses trying and, taking Twitter as an example, there are countless businesses getting it hopelessly, utterly wrong. You’ll find tons of advice ‘out there’ about getting it right but let’s talk about the basics:-
1. Twitter is an ongoing dialogue….it’s not there for you to broadcast about how great you are. If you do, no one will listen.
2. You need to work at building up a presence. Use the rest of your marketing mix, add your profile name to your business cards, tell people, ask them to follow you, FOLLOW THEM if they have a twitter presence.
3. ADD VALUE! Ask yourself why anyone would want to listen to your utterings and work at making them worthwhile
4. Be intelligent. (Related to #3) Out and out selling is the quickest way to Twitter purgatory. Be engaging, ask questions, go looking for feedback and when you get it- use it!
5. Ensure commonality of voice: It quickly becomes obvious when businesses allow multiple operators access to their twitter feed. It may be impossible for the same person to keep up with everything, but the same parameters that you apply to your visual communications must be strictly enforced here.
There’s so much more but that should get you started, and if you’re looking for a nice new suit made out of the finest fabric anyone (n)ever saw…feel free to call me!