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Learning Why Social Media Is Important For Your Business
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msg:4211056
 2:13 pm on Oct 4, 2010 (gmt 0)

Learning Why Social Media Is Important For Your Business [bbc.co.uk]
Once upon a time companies could afford to be rude. Unhappy customers would grumble to a few friends, withdraw their custom, but there was little else they could do.

Today, they still tell their friends, but they do it online, using social media websites like YouTube, Facebook and Twitter.


Some companies 'get it' and others have no clue. Don't let your business be the latter.

 

ByronM




msg:4211191
 6:39 pm on Oct 4, 2010 (gmt 0)

Companies that "get" social media are the ones that understand the consumer relationship is a two way street. If brands listen to their consumers and interact with them through social media they will win the respect of the consumer.

Those brands who just show online to market themselves without that social interaction are the ones who fail.

When I tweeted about my great experience with the Whitaker Center and my enjoyment thereof, they responded to that tweet with a thanks. Simple stuff like that goes a LONG way

wildbest




msg:4211192
 6:44 pm on Oct 4, 2010 (gmt 0)

For the comms team at German company Hotel.info, marketing without Twitter or Facebook is already unthinkable.

Too bad for them. They don't have a company anymore because all they are at the mercy of those communication channels. Don't forget, these providers can kick any business or even an entire industry out of its network with or without reason.

Some companies 'get it' and others have no clue.

I 'get it'. This is why I'd never use facebook or tweeter. Whatever I have to tell our customers I tell them straight on our website and I don't see any reason why this should be changed!

lexipixel




msg:4211195
 6:57 pm on Oct 4, 2010 (gmt 0)

I see every new website adding "Be our Friend on Facebook" and "Follow us on Twitter" (and other social media icons).

The problem is, just like the well intended "company blog", 95% of them never post anything --- they do a couple postings the first week its up, then forget it... adding social media icons just gives users more dead ends to poke around in for the majority of small sites.

Alcoholico




msg:4211203
 7:37 pm on Oct 4, 2010 (gmt 0)

I 'get it'. This is why I'd never use facebook or tweeter. Whatever I have to tell our customers I tell them straight on our website and I don't see any reason why this should be changed!

Agree. Surrender control of our own company and web sites to other companies is simply stupid. IMHO "Going Social", whatever that means at this point, is just the lazy way of trying to do on someone else's website what we should be doing on ours.

aleksl




msg:4211206
 7:48 pm on Oct 4, 2010 (gmt 0)

I am sure a lot of plumbers and carpenters can't really wait to get home to start blogging and twitting about great toilet installations they just completed.

Hype needs to be stopped, the line needs to be drawn somewhere.


A small company or a consultant rarely has the time for this. Unless profits are really huge, and then what customers need to be tweeting on is about outrageously high fees these companies are charging.

I am actually beta participating (beta for me) in one similar program, not as big as Twitter or Facebook. What I find out that if you are not ready to satisfy 99.8% of all the customers (we are talking about 998 out of 1000, count your orders) - you are going to be squashed, jumped on and ranted upon by a few bad apples that you shouldn't have sold to in the first place and that are always complaining regardless.

Great punchline though from BBC "Once upon a time companies could afford to be rude." Reminds me of British Petroleum that destroyed US Gulf Coast, they don't seem to mind to be rude. Tweet that, BBC.

mickmel




msg:4211251
 9:09 pm on Oct 4, 2010 (gmt 0)

It's all about meeting people where they are. With 500M people on Facebook, averaging 5 hours/week each, that's a lot of time being spent on there.

Whatever I have to tell our customers I tell them straight on our website and I don't see any reason why this should be changed!

That's what you're telling your existing customers, and I agree that it's a great way to do it. Once you have a customer, then your options really open up. It's getting the customer in the first place that's the challenge. For most companies, social media creates an additional channel to help them be found by potential customers.

they do a couple postings the first week its up, then forget it

A huge problem indeed. Even companies that post often still look at it like a new way to broadcast their message. They're forgetting the "social" part of it. Just because some companies half-ass it doesn't mean the idea itself is wrong.

I am sure a lot of plumbers and carpenters can't really wait to get home to start blogging and twitting about great toilet installations they just completed.

Funny you should use that as an example. One of my favorite personal anecdotes is how a single tweet created a $700 sale (to me) from a local plumber:
[mickmel.com...]

If they're talking about toilet installations, they're obviously missing the point. However, if they're offering useful advice ("freeze warning tonight, don't forget to let your sink drip") or using it to create relationships with potential customers (like Cool Ray did for me, without trying to sell me a thing), it can be very beneficial.

It's not the magic bullet that many way to claim it is, and it certainly takes a lot of work, but social media can bring you closer to your customers and (if used correctly) can bring your more traffic, sales, etc.

Chicago




msg:4211252
 9:29 pm on Oct 4, 2010 (gmt 0)

If you take a look at a business social graph, you will find within it highly definable groups. Within these groups you will find a myriad of social actions that can be taken that can build social capital for a business. The question is how does a SMB adequately deploy a strategy - clearly Facebook can be a critical component.

aleksl, you say social for a plumber is hype, i would suggest to you that your expectations for how a plumber may utilize social is inconsistent with how the SMB marketplace will ultimately be serviced via social products. the market is driven by a handful of new customers per month for an SME and *if these new customers can exist outside of search, and within the spectrum of a business social network, then extracting this value in a proportionate manner through social tactics not only makes sense, but is highl advisable.

Sgt_Kickaxe




msg:4211309
 12:37 am on Oct 5, 2010 (gmt 0)


Companies that get it? Those aren't the ones who manage social the best, they are the ones with managers who spot the best talent. If there's nothing bad to say in the first place someone has hired the right people, the company STILL may not get social.

ByronM




msg:4211315
 1:00 am on Oct 5, 2010 (gmt 0)

I am sure a lot of plumbers and carpenters can't really wait to get home to start blogging and twitting about great toilet installations they just completed.


Misconception #1 about twitter & facebook - Not all content has to refer to blogs. As a professional or independent you should be building your web presence to increase your opportunities. Extending this presence through facebook and twitter is optional, but a no brainer. If you wrote a page about winterizing your house, tweet it. If you fit it into a regular blog, more power to you.


Hype needs to be stopped, the line needs to be drawn somewhere.


What hype needs to stop?


A small company or a consultant rarely has the time for this. Unless profits are really huge, and then what customers need to be tweeting on is about outrageously high fees these companies are charging.


Its free to create a page on facebook. Its free to invite your friends and customers to join. its free to link your data to facebook. Its free to tweet bit.ly links to your website. Its free to tweet deals. Its free to run a search query on twitter 2-3 minutes a day and find out if people are needing your services and reply back to them. Not to sell them initially but to offer advice.. build a relationship and then let them know your in business. Or if you dont want to do that, then at least listen to your customers or potential customers. If someone tweets "a plumber really screwed up our plumbing" that is a door WIDE open to interject your offer that you're missing out on.

PPC adverising on fb is really affordable. So affordable we use it to advertising our meetup group and book club and i pay 20-30/month out of pocket to reach 10s of thousands of potential people with very specific topics. The min bid on Facebook really is a free market compared to google. Once you have a certain CTR and maintain that you can manage your own pricing without impacting your growth. You may not exceed that growth because of being outbid on the short term however i've foudn out once i reach x clicks per day and sustain that then i can "smart price" myself down to basically nothing per click :)

I am actually beta participating (beta for me) in one similar program, not as big as Twitter or Facebook. What I find out that if you are not ready to satisfy 99.8% of all the customers (we are talking about 998 out of 1000, count your orders) - you are going to be squashed, jumped on and ranted upon by a few bad apples that you shouldn't have sold to in the first place and that are always complaining regardless.


Social networking isn't about appeasing customers, its about networking with them. its another avenue you should train your customer service reps to be aware of if you don't want to use it on your sales channel directly.



Great punchline though from BBC "Once upon a time companies could afford to be rude." .....


Not sure what that has to do with social networking :)

Some of my best examples of social networking.

The mundane - was listening to my zune hd and a certain band play list was playing and i noticed that an artist used the same generic band name and was included on the playlist. I got on twitter (on the zune hd mind you, where i was ALREADY at..) and @zunesupport Hey guys, there is a problem with this album being included on this artist, shouldn't be here :) 15 minutes later @me Thanks, we'll have it fixed. Next time i synced up my zune it was corrected.

I didn't have to go home, login to zune.net, open a ticket, get a generic response it was being looked at never to hear from any living breathing person again. Nor did i have to drop what i was doing, open an email program or a browser or change my train of thought. I just used an already fully integrated solution to get a great answer in 140 characters or less.

The following day i was following zune and tweeting #musicmonday because the service was so great i was willing to share my experience and excitement thereof.

moTi




msg:4211348
 2:41 am on Oct 5, 2010 (gmt 0)

if i'm researching a product or service online, i go to google or an appropriate website. it would never come to my mind to do that on a social network. if i go to a social network, i want to communicate with my friends. sure, maybe i even ask them and get some help with my buying decisions. what i don't want is some company contacting me without being asked.

companies are not my friends. and they don't need to. i would find it totally unacceptable, if some company came to me on a social network with commercial interests. if i want to do business, i am the one who actively requests that. in any other case, companies just have to keep off or they are out of favor.

therefore, the only thing that's left for a company in a social network is to listen and, only if directly and actively addressed, get in touch. that means: solely as a customer service - not as sales pitch!

i am very aware that there are hordes of so called social media consultants who make a living on telling their business customers the contrary, but the bottom line really is: companies are no buddies. they better shut up and only enter the place if i call them. the internet user is an active consumer.

wildbest




msg:4211395
 5:50 am on Oct 5, 2010 (gmt 0)

Its free to create a page on facebook. Its free to invite your friends and customers to join. its free to link your data to facebook. Its free to tweet bit.ly links to your website. Its free to tweet deals. Its free to run a search query on twitter 2-3 minutes a day

Cheese in the mouse trap is free as well. Besides, do you know that most expensive word to bid for on adwords is 'free'?

PPC adverising on fb is really affordable.

Been there, seen that a year ago. About 50% of clicks were of artificial origin generated from fb games like farmville, farmtown, mafia wars etc. PPC support at fb refused to honor my claim despite clear evidence on our log files.

OddDog




msg:4211559
 11:23 am on Oct 5, 2010 (gmt 0)

I dont undersatand why people think that being active in social networks is the same as giving up control of the company site!

For me, the social networks are just another channel.

ByronM




msg:4211574
 11:51 am on Oct 5, 2010 (gmt 0)

Cheese in the mouse trap is free as well. Besides, do you know that most expensive word to bid for on adwords is 'free'?


What does that mean? Getting into google is free or Bing.. Are you sitting here telling me we all have to invent our own mouse trap?

Been there, seen that a year ago. About 50% of clicks were of artificial origin generated from fb games like farmville, farmtown, mafia wars etc. PPC support at fb refused to honor my claim despite clear evidence on our log files.


The complete opposite of my experience but hey, you get out what you put into it.

ByronM




msg:4211578
 11:56 am on Oct 5, 2010 (gmt 0)

i am very aware that there are hordes of so called social media consultants who make a living on telling their business customers the contrary, but the bottom line really is: companies are no buddies. they better shut up and only enter the place if i call them. the internet user is an active consumer.


Companies are "buddies" when there is a real identity representing them. Netflix does social media great becuase they communicate their brand to their customers in a way that leverages them but also shows similar interests to them - by obviously talking about movies :)

Sure, if you want to "sell to a new customer" then use the marketing tools provided however if you're not using social media as part of your strategy of keeping customers, networking with customers (silent networking) and interacting with customers then you're missing out on a lot.

The beauty of social networking is that its an instant referal by people who enjoy your brand and are willing to share or identify with it. I have a very few "brands" i've network with but Barnes and Noble is one because they provide coupons, they provide answers, they provide a community interaction. Lowes is another because they list their sales, blogs and community events. These companies don't overtly tell people to network for them, but people trust the brand and share it with your friends and you can't buy advertising like that and it only costs the time of managing the community and nothing else.

If you can't manage the community then don't do it. of course. don't half-ass and make yourself look bad.

netmeg




msg:4211655
 2:37 pm on Oct 5, 2010 (gmt 0)

There are people who see what's there, and there are people who see what could be there.

The more people who don't see what could be there, the more opportunity for me.

wildbest




msg:4211758
 4:31 pm on Oct 5, 2010 (gmt 0)

There are people who see what's there, and there are people who see what could be there.

Empty services for empty people. This is what I see there.

OddDog




msg:4211767
 4:42 pm on Oct 5, 2010 (gmt 0)

hummm ...

Do you wont to be were your clientes and your potential clietnes are?

I would guess your answer is yes.

So its just a question of working on a way to do this that sits
naturally
inside the social network that your in.

Its not difficult.
It is important.

wildbest




msg:4211791
 5:13 pm on Oct 5, 2010 (gmt 0)

Do you wont to be were your clientes and your potential clietnes are?

My potential clients would need to read text/manual that is larger than 140 characters. I don't need customers whose attention span is less than 10 seconds after which they get an headache whatever they try to focus on.

OddDog




msg:4211826
 6:20 pm on Oct 5, 2010 (gmt 0)

jajajajaja....

yes, I belong to the mtv generation, we have a muuuch longer atention span.

As a quick aside: For me twitter is not so much a social network as a social news channel. Ipad > flipboard > great experience.

Is it possible that your potential clients do not always read more than a 140 chars? The ability to read 140 chars does not exclude you from being able to read a thesis.

What about linkedin? Or other more professional orientated social networks?

There just tools to comunicate with. And communicate different things than what you are already doing on your own site.

my 2 cents worth.

aleksl




msg:4218655
 5:00 am on Oct 19, 2010 (gmt 0)

getting back to my plumber example. only a plumber desperate for work would really go online to get clients. My plumber, when he's in my house, gets tons of calls from his existing clients and word-of-mouth referrals, jobs that he can choose NOT to take.

I just did a quick search on Twitter for my industry. Spam...spam...some blah by someone who'd want a discount on a $25 product (NOT my kind of customer) ...yet more spam...affiliates...amazon affiliates....more spam...marketing campaing for billion dollar corp for a $25 product ...more spam >>> USELESS

But I am willing to try one more time.

OddDog




msg:4218678
 6:19 am on Oct 19, 2010 (gmt 0)

For your plumber try location based search in twitter.

And use certain search terms.

"I need a plumber" or "kitchen sink leaking" and other decent, tightly knitted search term list. Create the rss alerts into your fav reader or email.

@aleski - give it another go. They are just tools for communicating.

[search.twitter.com...]
[search.twitter.com...]

Both show the opportunity to sell a plumbers service.

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