Social Media In Business
"Social-media gives professionals and businesses a renewed way to maintain their relationships with potential and existing clients and customers.” “People will not visit a blog if it reads like a press release or financial report or if it’s full of sales pitches — you will lose your authenticity and uniqueness.”
Social-media is simply a fact of life and if you’re not online taking advantage of the efficiencies, connectivity and sheer scope of the services of social media, you’ll be taken over by the competition. It’s here to stay, so you may as well join the fun because all of it is useful, accessible and interesting. Social-media gives professionals and businesses a renewed way to maintain their relationships with potential and existing clients. It can also help make you look impressive and connect with people who can help move you to your next career level.
But where do you start? And how many social-media sites should you join? And which ones are for business and which ones are for pleasure? And where does blogging fit in?
John K. Waters, author of The Everything Guide to Social Media, says, “People who don’t know you and would be unlikely to return your phone call might be happy to respond to a query sent within a professional network to which you both belong.”
One of my all-time favourite powerful social-networking sites for business is LinkedIn. It is the largest network specifically designed for professionals and businesses and it is there to help you promote your career, connect with colleagues, supplement a job search and generally connect with the business world, and all of it is available to you.
Include a picture of yourself — think business-casual as opposed to glamour shots of you donning a sexy evening gown, leopard-print dress, a sultry look or a glittery bustier. It’s not appropriate for professional networking.
Just know that on Facebook, “Profiles” are meant for people, and “Pages” are meant for businesses or groups. Use Facebook for people to find you who are searching for your products and services, connect and engage with potential and current customers, create a community around your business and promote other content that you create such as webinars, blog articles and other resources. Surf around and see how their services can help you. You’ll be glad you did.
Blogging is another great way to promote your business, and getting noticed by the blog search engines is essential if you want to build a large audience. Technorati is one of the most famous. Remember that your blog has to be conversational, friendly and personal with some interesting news. Personal blogs are passionate and a blog written for your company should have the same feel.
People will not visit a blog if it reads like a press release, financial report or if it’s full of sales pitches — you will lose your authenticity and uniqueness. Blog about something you know very well and, if you want trust and credibility, recommend competing products and offer free advice.
Twitter is another site that is quite intriguing. It’s like blogging but it’s a micro-blog because there are only 140 characters allowed per text-based messages, which are called “tweets,” and are displayed on the user’s profile page. Twitter helps build relationships that can lead to brand loyalty.
Tony Hsieh, the CEO of Zappos.com, says, “We’ve found that Twitter has been a great way for us to connect on a more personal level with our employees and customers. We use it to help build our brand, not drive direct sales.”
Twitter is an information network and it’s about sharing news, ideas, opinions and knowledge. It is a licence to listen in on what other people (from peers to politicians to celebrities) are saying. And like the rest of the networks, it’s free.
Next up is YouTube, an amazing and fantastic platform perfect for promoting your business. You can conduct an interview with an expert, create a video explaining your product or service or upload presentations you’ve given to demonstrate authority and public-speaking skills, to name a few. You then have the option to make it private, unlisted or public and send it to whomever you want. And, yes, of course you can make a video of yourself doing one of the Miranda Priestly monologues from The Devil Wears Prada, but that would be just for practice and to get rid of all that nervous energy before you make a real video to send to customers. Just so you know, YouTube is ranked among the top three most visited websites today, behind Google and Facebook.
Regardless of where you’re posting, be careful what you post on every site and continue to check your privacy settings. Will potential employers see the picture of you in your bikini holding a martini glass with that muscular lifeguard at the beach if you post it? Probably yes, and anything else if they decide to do a search on you before making their hiring decision.
Christine Rowlands of CNN stated, “There’s another study that shows that 53 per cent of all companies say that they have not hired someone because they found something provocative online.”
Think before you post any personal information, pictures or video for the world to see — perhaps forever.
BY GAIL TRAVERS / PUBLISHED IN THE FASHION, STYLE & HOLIDAY ISSUE OCTOBER 2011