Social Media Marketing is about engagement with your customers. It’s about connecting, and providing content of value. It’s a great way to find new leads, get your name in front of people, and expand your reach….
Blah, blah, BLAH.
All right, enough of the platitudes on social media. You’ve probably heard them all before. You may be nodding your head in agreement, or wondering how many more marketers will tell you it is a prerequisite to business success in the future.
The fact of the matter is, social media may or may not be a lynchpin to your businesss’ future success.
Plenty of successful companies have yet to jump on the social media bandwagon for a number of reasons. Lack of know-how, time and/or personnel to do so effectively, skepticism about the ROI that can be generated, and whether it will be sufficient to justify the time and money spent to undertake it, are but a few core issues that companies must address for themselves.
To determine whether or not to begin – or even continue – a journey into the social universe, consider:
- What do you need a presence to accomplish?
- Who will maintain it? How often will the information be updated?
- How much time are you willing to allocate to learn how to do it well? To content development?
- Who are you trying to reach?
- Which mediums are best for your particular business?
- How will success be measured?
In upcoming posts. we’ll delve into considerations for each of the above areas to help you determine if social media marketing is right for your business. Know this: If you don’t have a plan that addresses all of these questions, you might as well skip it altogether.
Because the truth is: No presence at all is better than one that languishes under the weight of ineptitude and neglect.
Liz DeLoach is a Social Media Consultant, Les Mills Fitness Trainer, wife and mom of two teens (help!) in Charleston, SC. Follow her on Twitter @lizdeloach. And, be sure to stop by her page at Social Moms.
Recently, I was asked to moderate the Facebook Group page for parents and families for my daughter’s school. I noticed the site was underutilized, and because there have been a few communication snafus between the school and parents, using the social space more fully was one way to close the gap.
Little did I know the minefield that awaited me. About the time I began managing the page, the school made some leadership and scheduling changes. Some parents were unhappy; others had questions and concerns. They gathered on the Facebook Group Page to commiserate – it is a page by, of, and for the parents. The trouble began when some the posts became accusing towards both the school and board, thus perpetuating rumors and gossip.
What to do? A board member asked me to delete the offending posts. Although I believe there are limited circumstances which may warrant that, in this case the best choice was to let the discussion play out with my role as the voice of reason, insight, and perspective. Here are some steps to accomplish these objectives:
- Listen: Learn to differentiate between comments that require no response, a mere “I understand” and those that require more insight.
- Find areas of agreement: Acknowledge concerns expressed and offer plausible remedies. Provide contact info and the suggestion of contacting involved parties directly to get answers and discuss concerns. Often, this minimizes rancor or takes it off the page altogether.
- Ask people to consider the bigger picture(s): In this case, that meant not damaging the school, and giving the changes outside of one’s purview a chance to work. Although a closed page, some comments were migrating over into a Facebook Community Page of the same name which anyone can see. As for change, it’s human nature to resist it, but sometimes we all have to adapt.
- Ask for help: Sometimes the loudest complainers can become your biggest allies once they are heard and validated. Don’t we all need validation sometimes?
- Finally, don’t be afraid to call out the guilty. Just be respectful. If someone persists in being nasty, call ‘em on it. Adults as part of a group working for common good ought to behave better. Period.
Have you moderated a group forum? What are some of your challenges and how do you address them?
Christmas, Chanukah, Kwanzaa – this season of celebration and giving is in full swing for 2010. While the tough econ-omy still poses challenges for many of us, I sense a feeling of real hope and anticipation for the year ahead. I hope you do, too. Let us remember also that there are wonderful ways you can contribute to the spirit of the season in time, talent, and treasure that will bring you more satisfaction than any gift under the tree. Think of your favorite charity, and do something to help them!
Yesterday, I had the wonderful opportunity to share some tips and how-to’s on a topic I know and love – Twitter. It was geared towards nonprofits. My hope is that all in attendance, from the seasoned Twitter veteran to the beginner, came away with some good information to help their organizations. It was well received and for that, I am both humbled and grateful. If you were there, thank you for being a part of it.
I want to tell you about one of the sponsors of this event: Palmetto Technology Hub. Their mission is to provide technology support and resources to the South Carolina Lowcountry not-for-profit community. Check out their website, and like/follow them on Twitter @scpath.
Finally, here is a comprehensive list of local nonprofits on Twitter compiled by Tina Arnoldi of the Palmetto Technology Hub. Follow and tweet about them – it’s an easy way to use social media for social good. And by all means volunteer to help in other ways if you can!
What are some things you or your company are doing to help nonprofits? Tell us about that in your comments below.
Liz DeLoach is a Social Media Consultant, Les Mills Fitness Coach, wife, and mom of two teens (Help!) living a very busy and social life in Charleston, SC. Follow her on Twitter @lizdeloach
1. Rekindling old friendships. I’ve loved reuniting with so many good friends from high school and college. Our high school is planning a reunion in 2011 that in all likelihood would have never happened without Facebook.
2. Help on just about any topic is a mere Facebook post or Tweet away. In fact, during the earthquake in Haiti, Twitter was a lifeline in getting the word out quickly about conditions and needs there to mobilize disaster response.
4. Learning new skills. YouTube is a great avenue for that. My daughter’s rookie volleyball coach this year schooled herself on the rules of the game by watching YouTube videos. Guess what? Her team won the league championship.
5. Bridging the gap with loved ones living far away has never been easier, and it’s FREE! When you see them over the holidays, you’ll feel more a part of their everyday lives, because you have been. Very cool.
6. Your favorite businesses probably have a social media presence. Isn’t it nice to stay up to date on specials and happenings without having to go to a website?
7. You’ll get breaking news faster than ever before (CNN, Fox, CBS, NBC, are all on Twitter). Sign up to receive one or two of your local station’s tweets on your mobile device – great for traffic updates in your area!
8. Parents, you can keep up with what your teens and their friends are doing. I know moms who have nipped a couple of risky situations in the bud. And of course there’s the nice stuff, like when your teen will actually talk to you there. Don’t think teens should have a Facebook page? Check out my blog post on that topic.
9. Games and Quizzes: Well, maybe thankful is a bit strong, but hey, they’re fun to play! So you can be thankful to add a little more fun to your life, right?
10. Relationship building. Yes, you read that right. You can develop great online friendships that develop into real life friendships and time spent in person.
I’m thankful for Social Media for so many reasons, not the least of which are the friendships and business relationships built online that have grown into real life ones. These are people I work with, laugh with, cry with – that I would not have met otherwise.
I’d love to get your thoughts on this topic. Here’s wishing you all a Happy Thanksgiving!
Recently, I had the great pleasure of meeting some Twitter friends here in Charleston for a Tweetup on Blogging. Some of us have personal blogs, some blog for business, some have both, and/or manage and write them professionally.
What’s a Tweetup? It’s a casual gathering or “meet-up” coordinated through Twitter. A great tool I used to organize this one is Twtvite. What was great about this event is several of us “met” through Twitter and have been talking to each other there for weeks or months prior to meeting in person. It was great to spend time with these talented people who have so much to offer. Here are the high points that came from our discussion:
- WordPress is one of the best blogging platforms to use for so many reasons: Ease of use, search ranking performance, support and feedback from the people at WordPress, and the various themes and plug- ins available make it very user friendly, functional, and easy to personalize.
- Ideally, you should Blog at least twice a week to keep your content fresh and boost your search rankings. One of our guests last night blogs daily, and has developed a loyal following. And with good reason – she’s funny, insightful, and engaging, and you really get to know her through her writings. This leads me to insight number three:
- Whether for business or pleasure, what you write about has to really matter to you on some level. And, there has to be a bit of you in it. Even if it’s for business – yours, or a client whose Blog you maintain. A bit of your personality and know-how should permeate each post you write to make it interesting and conversational.
- Jotting down ideas as they come to you is a great way to have topics to blog about, so keep a running list going. Also, try to write more than one at a time if you can (you tend to get on a roll) or devote the same time weekly in your schedule to doing so. This increases the likelihood of doing it consistently.
- Over time, you’ll find that writing each Blog post becomes easier and less time consuming, generally speaking. It took me about half an hour to write this post – a good average. As with anything, the more you practice, the more proficient you become.
- Check to see if there are blogging groups in your area for advice and support. Here in Charleston, Lowcountry Bloggers is a great resource.
Lastly, I want to give a shout out to these terrific people whose Blogs should be on your reading list: Andra Watkins, Laura Otero, Sarah Early, Brian Rogel, and Kelly Thiel. Visit their sites, and follow them on Twitter. You’ll be glad you did.