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Is Social Media Really Necessary?

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Believe it or not there are still many business owners who do not see why they need social media. If you think about it, it’s not that hard to believe. Many businesses have operated for years, even decades, without the need for social media. They gained customers and networked with other businesses all without ever tweeting a word. This was, of course, before social media existed.

So why in the world would they need social media now? Well, the world is exactly why they need it. The world is a different place from the pre-internet era. Like most things, what used to work will only work so well today. Imagine, for a second, if you started a business and didn’t create a website. How would customers find you to use your service or buy your product? I doubt anyone would try to establish a business today without first making sure they had a website. But this is a new method of doing business. The internet was certainly not how you found a business just 20 years ago. You thumbed through an enormous bound collection of company profiles called The Yellow Pages. Business owners made sure they had great Yellow Pages ads. They knew that everyone looking for their service would go to that resource. Today, the exact same concept is true for social media.

Today, social media is where everyone looks to identify your brand. Even the Yellow Pages has a Facebook and Twitter page! 🙂 Consumers today expect to see social media as a standard part of your business’ identity. With so many competitors, social media can set your brand apart from other companies offering the same services. Current, modern content is so important to your company’s overall image. Just like a website or business cards, social media is a norm.

“Ok ok”, you say, “I get it. I need social media but I do not have the time!”. Yes, keeping even one social platform updated is a daily job for many companies. Pilar L. Davis Media creates fun, informative content daily to keep your businesses social content fresh and current. And remember, social media is not the enemy or a bad thing. It’s a tool in your business arsenal and it’s a lot lighter than a phone book!

I solemly swear to tell the truth

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I have had the opportunity to work with many burgeoning companies in a variety of fields. I’ve also worked with companies that have long, established histories and clientele.  I’d love to say they were all fabulous but this piece does have the word “truth” in its title. Let’s be honest, not all companies are cut from the same cloth. But what they do all share in common is that the climate of the company comes from the top. It’s a lot easier to see that top in a small company but the leadership in any company can always set the tone for how they will chose to do business.

If I’ve seen it once, I’ve seen it a hundred times. Company A puts out a big email or social media blitz that reads “Half Off” or “$X off now!”. Only to have customers, enticed by the offer, click a link to a promotion that reads, “Buy 1 get 2nd Half Off” or “$X off when you spend $Y”. Oops! This tactic may have worked years ago when the only backlash you may get is an angry customer in your check out line or a strongly worded letter in the mail. This is a new day, a social media kind of day.

Social media can be your best friend. But like a best friend, you have to be a good friend too. Bait and switch type tactics will render your social media pages an erupting volcano of hot followers. People do not like being “baited”. If the deal really is a BOGO deal, that is good enough in itself. There is no need to trick your loyal customers or future customers into clicking a link. You imply to the customer that YOU do not think it’s a good deal and that’s why you were misleading in your advertising. Customers already have a built in distrust of many companies based on years of hearing stories of fraud and unethical dealings. Don’t give your followers any reason to hijack your social media with angry tirades.

And in case you’re thinking, “Well I’ll just turn off comments on my Facebook page.” Feel free. But it wont stop people from commenting on posts that you post. And it wont stop people from calling you out on Twitter and other platforms. And bear in mind, Facebook has been around a long time. People are very adept at it. Consumers know that companies that don’t have comments allowed usually do so based on the comments they receive. It may not be a red flag, but it’s a shade of pink for sure. If you are truly interested in serving or rewarding your customers make it authentic. The social media boom has made every facet of your operations visible to the world so craft that vision carefully with truthful marketing.

Your best business feature: YOU

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We’ve all seen someone’s Facebook page or Twitter feed that boasts the product or service they are marketing. Well constructed, articulately worded posts that say buy this, or use my service! The gist being that they want your business and they want you to know they are available for your needs. Well, that’s all good and fine and definitely an integral part to doing business but it’s not the most important ingredient.

When hosting a social media page you have to remember that this is a “social” experience in which people are engaged. Think of it as a meet and greet at a local networking event. Would you walk in and just start rattling off your resume and services or would you schmooze a little bit? Talk up the family and strike up convos about the best places to eat and schools for the little ones, etc. You’d socialize. The same is true for social media.

Your Twitter feed should boast your services, yes, but you should also have tons of personal conversations with your favorite teams, celebrities and even your competition. Facebook should be business with a personal slant. Use the personal pronoun “I” a lot. Don’t talk like a robot or faceless company. Include personal details when describing your company and it’s daily goings on. Integrate some fun family photos and videos in your Vine and Instagram posts. Now, you don’t want to post formal family photos, but your babies first laugh is just a good post no matter what the forum.

In general, be social, be friendly, be real. Make sure all of your social media reflects your business’ best asset, you.

Can’t Buy Me Like

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Some people will have you believe that unless you have a gazillion likes or followers you are not a successful co. Well the reality is, certain types of businesses don’t need nor would they realistically have access to tons of followers. Not having likes doesn’t mean you aren’t liked…necessarily. Basically, having a ton of followers/likes means that tons of folks have a reason to keep up to date on what you’re doing. It’s a great way to update customers on all the hip and happening stuff in your business. Not to mention, a great way to engage with them regularly. But the key word is “customers”.

B2B’s (business to business) do not have the same “customer” requirements that traditional customer based businesses have. For a B2B, you may have 25 clients, which is a good deal. But then if every one of your clients liked your pages, you’d have a total of 25 likes. 😀 From the outside it may look as if you are not being tracked which may lead to the impression you are not good at your job or don’t have a lot of business. The reality is, your client base is not nearly as massive as a business that sells a product (e.g. a fashion boutique). With a clothing store, mass is everything. They must get tons of customers in order to stay in business. But if you are a CPA, having just a few clients may bring in more money than a hundred customers buying 1 or 2 dresses at a boutique.

Disreputable and unscrupulous “businesses” try to sell unwitting or perhaps simply desperate business owners on the idea that they need thousands of follows or likes and claim to be able to “sell” real people to help boost your follow-ship. Well the reality is, many of those likes fall away after a couple weeks and most of them are from people who will NEVER patronize your business. Your money is gone and you have to sit by and watch all of your likes fall to numbers much lower than you thought you were getting. You end up back at square 1 except now you’re out a few hundred bucks.

If you are a retail type operation, followers and likes will find you if you keep plugging away with social media. Keep getting your name and brand out there to people who would actually have the potential to buy your products. But if you are a B2B, getting likes is not the most important thing. Not having a ton of followers doesn’t mean much. Just keep your social media up to date and fun and make sure you interact regularly with the followers you have so they know they’re your #1 priority.

Nana Knows Best

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A week or so ago, I wrote that Facebook was not just your grandma’s social site anymore. I was playing off the fact that teens had largely abandoned the social giant after their parents and grandparents infiltrated it by the masses. Not to mention that it had become a valuable tool for businesses as well. Well this week we learned that Facebook isn’t the only place that grandma has found a footing, Twitter is gaining a little ground with nana too!

Natalie Yellin, the grandmother of Brian Grassadonia who is part of the creative team at Square, Inc. since 2009, has rocked the Twitter-sphere this week. The self proclaimed, “granny of Square”, has been influential in testing and vetting Square’s newest cash application. And it doesn’t stop there. Grandma Natalie, who says she only started on Twitter to keep in touch with her grandson, has become the one to know for the business set in several areas around Square.

@grannyny being crowned the new belle of the ball on Twitter just reinforces how social media is a breathing entity that evolves and adapts even further than its creators can predict. Even I started on social media years ago just to stay in contact with my younger siblings who are all at least 15 years younger than me. They were all on Myspace and rarely used their phones so I created an account and saw them more online than in real life. Businesses need to take heed. Social media has remained a major factor in business for good reason. People come to the social media shores for a variety of reasons. There is no “type” that doesn’t have tons of exceptions. Realizing that there is a vast and ever changing audience is critical to businesses getting the best out of their social media. And if nana is tweeting, it won’t be long before we have the best recipes money doesn’t have to buy on Vine and Vimeo.  🙂

Check out the original article on Grandma Natalie HERE.