Is your’s a social business?

Please read the caveat applicable to all our posts.

Social media is everywhere these days. It’s unavoidable in many parts of our lives but is it right (or even necessary) for your business to be engaging with prospects, customers and staff using these new tools? It’s a tough question and there may not be a definitive answer but I’ll give it a try.

What’s your customer demographic?

If your customers are geeks, gadget lovers, aged between 14 and 25 or work in a tech related industry, if you sell experiences (like diving, parasailing, parachuting etc…) you should seriously consider using social media to interact with your customers (if you’re not already doing it). What’s boldly evident is that people in these categories LOVE social media and tend to prefer it over more personal and established method (like the humble telephone).

How do you currently interact with your customers? Issues (like too much time, too much effort)

which Social Media should I use?

Have look at my post on a quick rundown of the various social platforms. It’s not an exhaustive list but it will give you the basics if you’re not quite up to speed with it all.

Let our failings aid in your success.

The biggest mistake we made with social media was doing it half-arsed. We went in, all guns blazing looking at it from a technical angle and thinking “yeah, we can spew a words out on twitter and facebook” and that will make people want to come and visit our site or call. [Hang head in shame]…. We had nothing to post and we didn’t adopt a strategy of creating informative information that people might actually want to read. We were pointing people at static, tired information. Who wants that?

Oddly enough, this goes against everything we’ve ever learned about IT systems. So why did we do it? That’s not the easiest question to answer but the core of it is a lack of research, too much enthusiasm and insufficient planning. We should know better, and believe me, we’ve learned to listen to our advice.

Suggestion: Plan and build content first

What we did

In order to gain some traction on facebook and get the initial likes we needed to secure a facebook username for our page, we decided to encourage people to like our page and when we hit 50 likes, we’d donated AUD $250 to the Jodie O’Shea Orphanage in Bali. We chose the orphanage because we often holiday in Bali and regularly visit the orphanage to donate toys and food. The kids are just fantastic and it’s amazing the difference such a seemingly small contribution can make to these kids. The staff at the orphanage do a fantastic job and we’re determined to raise more money for them in the future.

Has is worked?

In short NO. Honestly, it was a dismal failure. The reason was clear.

We found this to be a great way to benefit us and someone in need, the problem is that it resulted in us being liked by people who don’t actually give a toss about IT, live or work in Brisbane, or care much about what we do. We gained a little exposure quickly, got the name we wanted on facebook but didn’t translate into a single sale.

Suggestion: Target advertising/promotions at people who are both interested in your cause and your content.

What were some of the other impacts?

We also had (still have a twitter account – @ContinuIT) but we had the exact same problem with regard to content. What’s the point of having a social media account when you have nothing worthwhile to say? Since we revamped our entire branding, target market and online presence, we’ve taken to posting regular and hopefully informative posts on our company blog (Know IT). This gives us a launching pad for commentary and interaction with customers and/or prospects. Will it translate into future sales? Only time will tell.

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