Social Media is Good for Business

Recently we have received requests from several clients asking us what policies should be in place to stop staff using Facebook during working hours.

Obviously you can’t have your staff on Facebook all day, but we suggest to be flexible about it. In fact there are many advantages for business and community organisations in using social media.

We are not suggesting that you should place blatant self promotional messages and advertising on Social Media sites. If you make the mistake of placing blurb about the benefits of your products/services will turn people right off your content. Your SM content should focus on providing genuine information that will benefit your contacts – for example, if your company sells building products then you might provide training videos, user manuals or FAQs on your SM sites.

Perhaps your company provides technical advice or consulting services. You could use your SM page to provide news and general information about your area of expertise. Once your new contacts read about your expertise and generosity in sharing information, they will feel more comfortable approaching you for specific advice about their own requirements.

What is Social Media (SM)? Basically, it is the emerging web presence that provides short, simple, free, informal access to information including Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Blogs, YouTube. SM provides equal access to everyone regardless of money or position.

SM is here to stay. The impact of SM in the community is growing rapidly – especially with the younger generation. For many young people today, SM is one of the main methods they use to in touch. If you want to reach a young audience then you need to talk their language… and that should include social media.

Try this exercise: Log into your Facebook page and type into the search page the name of some leading companies and organisations around the world. You will find most of them already have a Facebook account where they can release news and events about their organisation. These organisations usually have a Twitter and a LinkedIn account as well.

One of my family members is a regional leader in the International Youth Exchange project within the Lions Club. This is a program where young people from around the world are able to live with another family in another country, learn about a different culture, and do it at a very low cost. Facebook is the perfect way for the Lions Club and similar community organisations to make contact and stay in touch with young people. In fact, many Lions Club organisations around the world already have Facebook accounts for this very reason.

If you have some Facebook enthusiasts in your organisation, why not ask them to participate in a project to bring your organisation into the SM era and give your business a Facebook “face”.

Facebook is really just the starting point for your SM strategy. The next step is LinkedIn.

LinkedIn is where you make connections for business. Once you set up your LinkedIn page then I would suggest that you add your LinkedIn address to your email signature so that your business contacts can easily link to your LinkedIn page and find out more about you and your organisation.

“But we already have a company webpage”… yes I know. LinkedIn is different. It is small and simple. Your contacts will be able to quickly and easily find just a few paragraphs of information about yourself and your company. They can also find out which other people have built confidence in dealing with you and your organisation. This simple information can be accessed on a mobile phone or other portable device – iPhone, iPad, etc.

Once upon a time Yellow Pages was important. Today people are more likely to search for suppliers using Google and SM.

One of the most important ways to grow your business is by using the referral network. Satisfied clients are your best advertisement. This is where LinkedIn can help your new contacts to gain confidence to begin doing business with you. By providing a link to your LinkedIn page you are enabling your new business contacts to find out more about you and the people you already do business with. Once they see your business connections, your new contacts will gain more confidence in you, your products and your services.

The spirit of the internet is to share information, increase the pool of knowledge in the world and reduce the cost of accessing information. SM is one of the ways to achieve this goal.

SM is in its infancy and it is growing fast. Email is overloaded and it quickly becomes outdated. SM is taking over where email runs out of steam.

What do you think?