Businesses are challenged to find ways they can use these tools ways to boost business. We recommend making a plan based upon your business and your goals. What are you trying accomplish? Which socialmedia opportunities should you use to achieve this goal? What is the unique potential in each avenue? What is your voice? What will you produce?
h4. Step 1: Define the Plan
The plan is the fun part. Start by revisiting your business model. List your strengths, weaknesses, goals and mission. With these in mind join a variety of socialmedia sites that you feel may add value or are interesting to you. Participate with your business model checklist next to you.
Look how others have used it. Apply it to your industry and your business. Brainstorm ways that social media can enhance your strengths, improve your weaknesses and help fulfill your goals and missions.
Make a plan. Take your brainstorm ideas and make it into an action plan. Enact the plan and stick with it for long enough that you can measure results. If you see benefits in one area, expand it. If your spending too much resources in another, reduce the effort.
On the web nothing is set in stone. Try it, post it, comment, review, and if it doesn’t work, change it. If it does, keep at it!
h4. Step 2: Give Shape to Your Spokesman
This is particularly challenging to larger, corporate based companies that have always used media in a corporate fashion. We recognize the value of setting corporate standards. Traditional media releases have a uniformed and censored, professional outlet that provides cohesion in a brand. Socialmedia is by nature, personal. Socialmedia gives the people of the company an opportunity to provide insight into their lives and their perspective on their company, job and values. Are you worried they will post something not acceptable?
You hired your employee. You must trust them enough to represent your company in some manner. Generally, people post what makes them happy and interested in their job and their position. They will talk about the benefits of working for such a great company, they will gab about great new projects and initiatives that they are participating in, they will expound upon the fantastic group of people they get to work with. These are all positive PR for your company, and of high interest to discerning customers.
We are in the era of social responsibility. Everyone wants to use their purchasing power to create a better world, but how do we decide? We look for companies that support our values – companies donate to charitable non-profits; that implement green policies; that give good jobs to our friends, family and community. What better spokesman than the women (and men) in the trenches! P.S. If your employee is unhappy, your customers probably already know it.
h4. Engage Your Customer Base
Ahah! We’ve arrived to the most important part. This is Public Relations at its most demanding and really could be a full time job. Producing takes time, energy, and consistency. It is never done and there is always more that can be done. Set some reasonable goals: I will Twitter everyday. I will contribute to my Facebook weekly. I will update my blog monthly.
Most importantly, have fun and enjoy what you do. Your passion is the power behind your business. Your strengths are the reason customers chose you over your competition. These people, and all of their networked friends, are the return you are seeking. Remember the old saying? A happy customer tells three. These days people tell more than three, they tell their community.
If it hasn’t become obvious, if you don’t post anything and participate, your not engaging your customer. Producing is essential to the successful use of all web tools.