"Those who dwell among the beauties and mysteries of the earth are never alone or weary of life.” — Rachel Carson. Social media has made sure that people will never be alone. There is always a way to connect to others.
Many business people regard social media as unexplored and mysterious territory. There is a vast volume of content that is being offered up online on a very regular basis. It may seem difficult at times to sort through the massive amount of content in order to find the gems that are really valuable.
The actuality is that social media marketing is a lot more straightforward than you might think. Basically, social media takes ideas that have already been presented to the world and presents them in a new way. The ideas are not new. Only the method or approach is new. In essence, social media is based on some very simple activities or techniques. They are:
- Listening: When you listen (really listen), you are embracing information that will keep you on top of what is happening in your industry or niche. You pay attention to what your competitors are doing, which trends are important to follow, which new products and services might help you in your business, what is going on with pricing, and of utmost importance, what people are saying about you and your business.
The concept of listening is certainly not new. Business people have been listening since the beginning of time. They have used a large number of tools to help them listen more effectively and efficiently, such as conversations with vendors, reading trade publications, analysts’ reports, trade association newsletters, seminars and other sources.
With the popularity of social media, your listening skills have become better because it is now easier to talk to people about your business and you have many more and newer tools with which to listen.
One very effect that social media has caused to happen is the elimination of a great deal of the negative feelings that existed in communications with customers. In the old way, people would write and mail letters to companies if they had a complaint about a product and/or service. That took a great deal of time and effort. However, with the advent of social media, it is much easier and quicker for customers to express their opinions, as well as people being able to reach many more people.
- Networking: Business people have been networking forever. Networking has always been an extremely important way to meet people and start to build relationships for business. For a very long time, all of the networking was in the form of face-to-face meetings, at conferences, forums, seminars and a myriad of other industry events.
Face-to-face networking should not be replaced with online social networking. Both types of networking are important and one complements the other. Everything that is connected to social media seems to happen much more quickly than when it is real time. The beauty of establishing and maintaining relationships with people through the Internet is that you are not limited to a specific geographic area. You can interact with people anywhere and everywhere.
Regular networking etiquette applies whether you are networking online or in person. You introduce yourself, ask the other person what they do, try to contribute something interesting and valuable to the conversation, etc. Just don’t try to give them a hard sell.
Also remember that your approach to social media networking is not the same as your approach to your social media marketing strategy. Your marketing strategy is something that needs to be well thought out and executed carefully. The results will not happen overnight but they will happen. Social media networking will give you immediate gratification but your social media marketing strategy will not.
- Interacting: After you have successfully networked, you will want to interact with your fellow networkers. When people interact, they are starting to get to know each other better, gathering more information about one another and asking questions. Interacting used to be done over the phone traditionally. Over the last two decades, the phone has been replaced with Email.
Social media makes interacting with other people easier than in the past. It is very simple to answer questions from customers and potential customers and customers who haven’t even reached the stage of being potential customers yet. When you respond to questions, you are providing many people with instant gratification. When people interact, they discuss matters that are important to them and topics of interest to them. Many times, that includes speaking about products and services that are on the market, including yours.
- Engaging people: Engaging people online is a vital part of your success with social media channels. An excellent way to engage people is to end your content with a provoking question. You can even be the first to answer your own question to get things moving. You will see that people are interested in the discussion and everyone will want to give their two cents.
- Sharing of information: Before social media, it was a lot more cumbersome to share information. People would have to go to the trouble of mailing information or picking up the telephone. Email helped eliminate some of the difficulty but people would only share information with people in their Email address books. Sharing and distributing interesting and valuable information is simple, quick and efficient now.
- Promoting products and services: Promoting your brand and products and services couldn’t be simpler with the emergence of social media. At the core of the success of social media lies the magic of interaction. When people are willing to participate in discussions about the offerings of businesses in their industries, there is no more effective way to sell.
It is critical for all businesses to keep up with social media and what people are saying, feeling and buying. Any business that chooses to ignore social media and connectivity with other businesses will not be around for a very long time. Social media isn’t really mysterious at all. It is exciting, highly effective, and wonderfully compelling but it is not mysterious.
We are pleased to provide you with the insightful comments contained herein. Please contact us at CompuKol Communications for further discussion on how we might be able to assist you and your team.
Michael Cohn is the founder and Chief Technology Officer (CTO) of CompuKol Communications LLC. He has over 25 years of experience in IT and web technologies.
Mr. Cohn founded CompuKol Communications to help small businesses and entrepreneurs increase their exposure and reputation on the Internet. CompuKol consults, creates, and implements communication strategies for small businesses to monopolize their markets with a unique business voice, vision, and visibility.
Prior to that, Mr. Cohn spent a significant amount of time at a major telecommunications company, where his main focus was on initiating and leading synergy efforts across all business units by dramatically improving efficiency, online collaboration, and the company’s Intranet capabilities, which accelerated gains in business productivity. His expertise includes social media marketing strategies; internet marketing; web presence design; business analysis; project management; management of global cross-matrix teams; systems engineering and analysis, architecture, prototyping and integration; technology evaluation and assessment; systems development; performance evaluation; and management of off-shore development.
Mr. Cohn earned a Master’s degree in project management from George Washington University in Washington, DC; and a Master’s degree in computer science and a Bachelor of Science degree in electrical engineering from Fairleigh Dickinson University in Teaneck, NJ.
Mr. Cohn is a member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE).