Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Social Media and your business–Part 5


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Social Media and your business – Part 1
Social Media and your business – Part 2
Social Media and your business – Part 3
Social Media and your business – Part 4
In the last post I spoke about how critical I believe YouTube is for business social media but now I’m going to really go out there with this idea according to most businesses I speak with. Here’s what blows most traditional business people’s mind – what if you allowed your normal electronic communications to be public? Yes, public.
I have spoken before in this blog about how I believe information should be shared not siloed. This especially refers to all those private email conversations you have throughout the course of the day which contain information that could really benefit someone else. By having that information locked away in something like email limits the benefits it provides and decreases its business value.

To me this is where a service like Twitter can reap business benefits. Let me start with my own examples.
I have been using Twitter for some time now and as you maybe aware every post I make here on this blog also ends up being broadcast on Twitter. A while back I wrote a post about configuring Adobe PDF searching in SharePoint Foundation, after which I was contacted by VP at Adobe about the information I had posted (all good feedback). He had been monitoring Twitter for mention of his business. Where else would I have had an opportunity to directly contact a VP from Adobe? Not via email I can assure you.
Another example, I have tweeted something to Mary Jo Foley and had a reply. Not about anything major but the point is that unlike email, using Twitter I am able to get direct access to an individual normally that I would never get via email.
The big thing about Twitter is that it is public. I have had experiences where you complain about stuff in email and it never gets responded to. You call up customer support and get the run around, however if you do the same on Twitter, because it is public, you generally get a reply.
Perhaps a good example of this is Westpac’s Twitter account:
https://twitter.com/westpac
Here, Westpac has a team of people responding to queries and complaints. They constantly monitor the Twitter-sphere for mention of their brand. In short, they are making their customer service far more public. That of course has risks but done correctly it can be a huge market advantage and again garner increased trust and transparency with your brand, which in turn generally corresponds to more business.
I’ll also bet you didn’t realize that every tweet made creates a unique page on the web? Here’s an example:
https://twitter.com/directorcia/status/382272042780745729
The more pages about your business, from your business, to your business, etc all help your internet search results and driving traffic to your business.
So now if you answer someone’s question on Twitter everyone can potentially see and engage with you. If you find interesting information and post it to Twitter people will start following you and listening to what you say. Likewise, you can find people on Twitter that post information that interests you and follow what they have to say. Again, the power of being public.
A great example of this is that a few years ago a major hosted email provider had an outage. Their web site claimed their service would be back up in 15 minutes. They were in fact down for days. Firstly, I used Twitter search to monitor if anyone else was able to gain access (Twitter search is always great for finding out what is happening right NOW). This confirmed the fact that it wasn’t only me having the issue. As the delay on the services returning to normal continued I wrote a blog post about how I believe a smart business could use Twitter to find disgruntled customers of this ISP and then offer them a deal to switch. Low and behold, a day later that exact scenario can to fruition! Now all of my posts went to Twitter and mentioned the ISP in question so I don’t know whether someone read them and took up my idea or they came about through their own volition. In any case, that is great example of how you can user Twitter search to target an audience with a need and generate business.
Although Twitter is generally limited to 140 character tools like Flipboard make Twitter such a rich and inviting experience. Using Flipboard your Twitter feeds create a magazine on the topics that are relevant to you.
For many in business sharing more information publically is something they struggle to see the benefits of. I at least hope that this post has demonstrated some of the positive ways that a service like Twitter can be used to lift your business profile and start an engagement with people that you may be missing out on. It should also hopefully prompt you to start following other people of interest on Twitter as a means of discovering important and relevant information.
I encourage you all to follow me on Twitter:
http://www.twitter.com/directorcia
to gain a better understanding of what information can be made available.
Just before I get onto some general social media strategies I need to speak about the emerging dark horse of social media that I would suggest you need to pay attention to as it has the potential to be the most important social media platform of all. Any ideas? You’ll have to wait till the next part to find out.
Social Media and your business – Part 6
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).