There’s always something new and different in the world of the Internet. Whether it’s the type of programming language your developers are using to create your online presence, or the explosion of social networking sites, you need to keep up with the latest and greatest if you hope to remain competitive in your niche market. If you fail to understand how to properly employ technology and networking tools, the damage to your business can be irreparable.
One of the latest online phenomenon is known as social media marketing. A number of website communities have developed applications that allow their members to communicate with each other as well as the outside world. In essence, these communities are creating social interactions in the digital space.
Some of the more popular networks allow their members to broadcast their messages out to the rest of the world through a variety of channels. With all of this communicating going on, the opportunities for businesses to use social networking to their advantage can be tantalizing.
With all this power to broadcast messages to the masses comes responsibility and potential liability should you not pay attention. One poorly thought out response to a customer or potential client can have ramifications that may be difficult or impossible to overcome.
Because of the potential for liability many companies, especially larger ones, have opted not to employ social networking. To their detriment, their fear prevents them from using these advanced communications channels to the benefit of their businesses.
With a few simple guidelines put in place, companies large and small can be successful within the social networks they choose to use. Communication is important both within your organization and from your people out to the networks you are hoping to create an increased level of presence.
One of the most important factors you’ll want to keep in mind is the speed of response. Too often organizations will attempt to craft a calculated response. Their legal people weigh in on the situation and by the time they’ve responded to a situation too much time has elapsed. The beauty and power of the applications being developed for social networking today is that communications are nearly instantaneous.
If you don’t develop the ability to monitor the networks on a regular basis, you’re missing out on numerous opportunities to directly interact with your customers and potential clients. Many stories have been written and blog posts published where the authors have discussed how amazing it was to have a challenge with a company’s offerings and have one of its representative respond to their concerns. It’s this level of customer service will not only win you the person whose challenge you’re dealing but others in the network that are paying attention to the conversation.
Things to Avoid (If Possible)
It’s this focus on conversations that can have it’s challenges for your communications so you’ll want to be sure there are guidelines your representatives to follow. Unless your business deals directly with certain issues, you’ll likely want to limit the expression of personal attitudes, beliefs, etc. Political and religious discussions all have their place in our lives. When it comes to your business dealings, however, you may find that expressing support for a specific candidate or religion, or any other controversial topic could erect barriers between you and your customer network.
If you’re people simply focus on communicating your business message you’ll be fine. Demonstrating that you care for your customers and will be there when they have questions or concerns sooner rather than later will increase your credibility with them.
Ultimately, you’ll want to be on top of the communications as well as sharing the culture that makes your company great. If you’re real and express some restraint at the same time, social networking will pay dividends for your company time and again.
Business Conversation in Social Media
Do you use social media for communicating with your customers? What are your thoughts on best practices and things to avoid?
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