August 2nd, 2011
The words “social media” are used so often that they often pass right through our minds with little impact. How many times in the past four years have you heard the phrase “in this economy” and thought, what does that even mean anymore! Stop saying that. You’re just saying that because it sounds right. It’s true; we often abuse important words and phrases to the point that they seem like meaningless hype. Don’t let that fool you, though. Social media may seem like a youngster’s fleeting trend to many traditionalists – but it’s not.
The Greek philosopher Heraclitus first exclaimed that in our universe, change is the only constant. Charles Darwin’s theory of natural selection tells us that the most adaptable species survive. Who’s to say that these ideas don’t apply to the way we do business?
Some business owners prefer to do things “the old fashioned way,” which for some translates to good luck getting me to give in to social media. But did you consider the tried and true tactics of the good ole’ days, the face-to-face, first name basis, smiles and small-talk approach works online too? Did you know you can have it both ways? You work hard, you deserve to have a marketing strategy that will deliver the most results to you.
Here are two ways to take your already sparkling customer service and business ethics to the World Wide Web:
To criticize Facebook, some people say that it detracts our abilities and desires to make real connections – to talk and socialize in person. But these people are cynics. Sure, there are probably a few people who spend an unbalanced amount of time online versus in the real world, but that’s not going to be you.
Facebook provides millions of connections every single day. Facebook brings together relatives and old friends who otherwise may have never got in touch again. Facebook allows us to share ideas, special moments, events (which happen to take place in the REAL world), pictures, and tons of other great information. If you use your company’s Facebook page to connect with your audience in a real way, you’re doing well. This means actively signing in and sharing deals, updates about the company, special events – and even just saying hello and asking for feedback. Customers can get to know you and your team. Facebook can actually make you seem more accessible.
2. Provide Information
A company blog can be a source of information that your customers find useful and dependable. The key to a good blog is consistency. Try to publish a blog at least once per week. Write about topics that people want to learn about. Cut the sales talk and get real.
A blog also allows you some creative freedom. Stray away from stuffy, lifeless language and show your personality. Of course, how much quirk you reveal will depend on what kind of business you run – a legal firm may want to keep the jokes to a minimum. Still, informational, professional content can be colloquial and entertaining.
A blog can also help you connect, much like Facebook. A consistently good, optimized (throw in a few internal links and keywords) blog can attract loyal readers. Even a spontaneous reader may leave you a comment. If you receive a legitimate comment on a blog post, reply! Be polite and gracious. Say thank you. Engage in pleasant conversation.
Think of your efforts in social media like your efforts in the tangible world around you. Connecting with people is the goal. People who find you reliable and ethical would love to do business with you. Think of the over 600 million Facebook users you’re missing out on if you don’t even try.
So, is the way business is done changing? Yes, kind of. But soda doesn’t cost a nickel anymore and probably none of us use a hand wringer to dry our laundry. Things change. But you can continue to do business the old fashioned way – only now you have a multitude of platforms to jump from and take advantage of.
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