One of the BizDev guys at my new shop wandered by the other day, and I asked him what he was hearing from his corporate folks that he called on about “Social Media”. He looked at me a little blankly, and responded “Not much at all.”
He said that to most of the corporate types he talked to, SM was pretty much a toy and they really didn’t understand why it would matter to their business, why they’d want to spend time on it, or why they’d want to be Tweeting or FaceBooking or whatever it is that the kids are all doing nowadays.
Truth hurts. Here I am rolling around in SM all day long, thinking that it’s the neatest thing since bread with the crust cut off, and it turns out that in South Carolina most of the guys in the nice suits think it’s something their daughters do on their little pink phones before their coming out parties.
My BizDev friend challenged me to give him a few short points that he could use with the folks he talked to, that would help them understand why Social Media was important to them.
And the hard part? It’s gotta be written in “Business” not in “Woo-Woo Awesome”.
1. You’re Already Using Social Media – You Just Don’t Know It
If you’ve got more than two employees (and they’re under 60), you’re already using social media. You just don’t know it. The average social media user is 39 years old.
Your employees are innocently posting things like:
- “I’m so proud that our tuna is now 95% Dolphin Free!”
- “I don’t think a few Toyotas exploding is such a bad thing – our dealership hasn’t had a single one explode, yet!”
- “Yeah, we had a problem with e-coli in our potato salad last week but we’ve cleaned all the dishes and the restaurant is ready to go!”
You need to have a Social Media strategy, a corporate policy, and guidance for employees. Now.
2. People Expect To Find You – If They Don’t, They Go Elsewhere
Your customers want you there. 93% of customers say they want businesses to be available through Social Media.
Customers look for your hours with their smartphone as they head to your store. They compare your product guarantee as they shop in another store for a similar product. And they look at reviews of your restaurant, hotel, or sewer service just before they call.
Your reputation is already out on the web, most likely. Someone has posted a review, a blog, or a Twitter comment about an interaction they’ve had with your business. If it was positive, you should be trumpeting it from the rooftops. If it was negative, you should be on top of it immediately – solving the problem, if possible. Minimizing the damage, otherwise.
3.A Social Media Presence Is Like That Fire Extinguisher On Your Wall
You’ve got a shiny fire extinguisher on your wall, and you hope to hell that you’ll never need to use it. But every year, you have it tested – and if you’re smart, you train your employees how it works.
A solid SM presence is like that for your business. When disaster happens (your own little BP Oil Spill or Kentucky Fried Sink Bathers) you’re ready to manage communications and keep things from spiraling out of hand.
You can candidly communicate with your customers, sharing information transparently and quickly – not having let it get filtered and spun through the media.
Plus, your supporters (you’ll have supporters if you’re doing SM right – thousands of them) will come to your aid across the Internet and tell the truth about your company and who you really are.
So, those are my top three points I’d send out to Corporate America.What would you add? Where have I gone wrong?