Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Social Media and your business–Part 1

image

I recently gave a presentation about social media in business. I also discussed the presentation with a few other people would couldn’t attend and regretted missing it. So I have decided to detail the presentation here on my blog in a number of parts. Here is part 1.

Let me ask you what you believe social media in business is? Many would say that it is a waste of time. Other would claim they don’t understand how it can be applied within a business. Still more are using it but find it hard to quantify the results. Finally, some just don’t know where to start.

If you doubt the power of social media in business today then take a few moments to watch this video.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0eUeL3n7fDs

When you watch this video what is it that strikes you most? For me it is the ‘numbers’, typically the sheer scale that social media can reach. Never before in human history has a single person been able to interact directly with as many people as we possibly can today.

All the answers about what social media are great but I believe the best answer to the essence of social media is that it is simply a conversation.

A conversation is composed of two parts:

1. Listening

2. Speaking

Likewise, this is what social media is about, ‘listening’ and ‘speaking’. You can do one or the other exclusively or both together if you want. It is your choice about how you decide to interact.

The first step you should be taking when it comes to social media for your business is ‘listening’. This means you need to find what is worth listening to. Maybe that is someone’s blog (like this one) or maybe someone’s Twitter account or even perhaps a products Facebook page. It doesn’t matter, simply start by listening to what other have to say about subjects that interest you and your business.

Because there is so much out there start small. Find a limited set of things to follow and importantly adjust these over time. Like a business, you have to find what you receive the most value from and discard what you don’t. Like when you attend a party, you can’t be part of every conversation at the same time. You need to find the best conversations you can and ignore those that aren’t worthwhile.

Once you have ‘listened’ then you can start ‘speaking’ with social media. For your business, the idea is that you need to work out those who are interested in what you have to say. Your ‘tribe’ as Seth Godin would say. Once you have found your ‘tribe’ determine what their needs and interests are. Boring and irrelevant conversations are not something most people want to be part of. Like when you sought value during the ‘listening’ phase earlier, if you elect to use social media to ‘speak’ then you need to provide value to others listening, otherwise they won’t listen for long. Before you open your mouth, know thy audience is key.

In the next part of this series I’ll go into more details about the major social networking platforms and how they should fit into your business so stay tuned.

Social Media and your business – Part 2

If you need some help with your social media strategy or would like me to speak about social media at your business or association please don’t hesitate to contact me (director@ciaops.com).