The single largest concern I hear voiced when I talk with a business about engaging in social media to grow their message is the “what if…”
- What if someone uses my social media account to address a concern they have with my business?
- What if someone says something bad about my brand online?
- What if…?
Usually the question I ask them in return is…what if that happened in your store? To which they usually have an answer that goes something like, “Well I’d take them to my office, or somewhere more private, and we’d talk about their concern.” The irony in that answer is that it is the same technique you’d use to diffuse a situation. What happens online is no different. You publicly make the offer to meet or talk in a more private setting, then work to resolve the issue to the best of your ability in that more private setting.
The secondary concern I encounter when talking with a business about engaging in social media is, ” But what would I say? That I just got a cup of coffee? No one wants to know that.” And they are right, no one wants to know that a business just went and got a cup of coffee. (By the way, how would a business go get a cup of coffee?)
But every business has a unique body of knowledge that is theirs and theirs alone. If you’re a tire company, you know about how to test for wear on tires, what that screeching sound is when your customer steps on the breaks, and you probably know things like how badly cruise control and black ice work together. To you, those are the everyday bits of knowledge that allow you to do your job. But to an audience in social media, they are useful tidbits of information that could help them out someday in a pinch. It’s something they may have never heard before, or something they may have forgotten. Your goal as a business operating in social media is to figure out what your unique body of knowledge is and share it, on Facebook, 5 days out of every 7 and on Twitter 3-7 times a day.
The other extraordinary use of social media for any business is to highlight your favorite non-profit, business partners, and groups to which you belong. Once a month on Facebook, or at least once week on Twitter, take the opportunity to donate your status update to something besides your company. Expand your community presence and become an integral part of your community.
Taking these simple steps will help you engage in the world of social media, without finding yourself in a social media nightmare. Happy Halloween!